Summer often means hours spent in the sun which can result in a painful sunburn. Make sure you wear sunscreen and reapply it regularly to prevent a sunburn. But if you still got a sunburn here are some tips to care for your sunburned skin.
Sunburn is an actual burn to the skin that is caused by UV radiation. Symptoms include red, inflamed skin that is painful and hot to the touch. These symptoms don’t peak for 12-24 hours after exposure, so if you think you are getting burned, get out of the sun right away as it will only get worse. These symptoms will last for 3-7 days.
Besides symptoms that directly effect the skin, sunburn can cause headache, fever, nausea and fatigue. Sunburn can have long term effects from skin damage caused by oxidation, but lets talk about the immediate care for sunburned skin.
Cool the Skin
Because the skin will be hot, the first step is to decrease the temperature of the skin. You can do this in a number of ways:
Take a cool bath
You can add herbs to your bath to help decrease the symptoms of sun burn. Lemon balm has been traditionally used for sunburn. It’s high concentration of caffeic acid and rosmarinic acid can help slow down oxidative damage to the skin. lemon balm reduces the inflammation caused by UV radiation.
Green tea has been studied extensively for helping sun damaged skin. It can be used topically as well as drank. Green tea contains catechins, a type of flavonoid, that is an antioxidant. Be careful to use cool water; not cold or hot.
Try this Green Tea herbal bath.
Do not rub your skin dry after a bath, but pat it gently.
Spritz the skin
A facial mist can be used to spritz the skin and cool it down. Hydrolates of cucumber or lemon balm are good choices. You can find them here.
Apply cool compresses to the skin.
Use a washcloth or towel dampened with water or herb tea to apply to the skin.
Sunburned skin will cause the body to loose more moisture because of damage to the skin barrier function. Keep the skin moisturized by using a light lotion that spreads easily to prevent rubbing. We recommend Mountain Mist Hand and Body Lotion which is an antioxidant rich lotion that also contains green tea extract.
Drink more water than normal to help replenish moisture lost through the skin.
Your body needs a good amount of vitamins and antioxidants to repair burned skin. Make sure you are eating foods high in vitamin C, carotenoids and antioxidants.
When to seek help for a sunburn
You will want to contact a physician if your sunburn is severe, a fever develops or your blisters show signs of infection.
Long term effects of sunburn can lead to decreased skin collagen that results in deep wrinkles, dry, rough skin, and discolored spots on the skin. In some cases cancer. Using products that are good for after sun care are important. Springtide Gold Face Cream is a good choice for this. It contains vitamin C, green tea, calendula, fennel and peptides to help with collagen.
Enjoy your summer, but be good to your skin too!
For more information on green tea research:
Kapoor MP, Sugita M, Fukuzawa Y, Timm D, Ozeki M, Okubo T. Green Tea Catechin Association with Ultraviolet Radiation-Induced Erythema: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Molecules. 2021 Jun 17;26(12):3702. doi: 10.3390/molecules26123702. PMID: 34204433; PMCID: PMC8233826.