Most people think burning is fine–it will turn brown in a few days!– but it's a lot more serious than that. The effects of a sunburn are long term. For example, I still have the freckles on my face from a horrible sunburn I got when I was 6. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, a person's risk for melanoma–the most serious form of skin cancer–doubles if he or she has had five or more sunburns. The damage to your skin after a burn cannot be undone. Let's keep the overexposure to UV a minimum, shall we? Avoid looking like your favorite leather Birkin bag and use a sunscreen stronger than 15 SPF and reapply every two hours.
Sunscreen is also not just for the pool or beach. If you're running errands daily for your internship, make sure to put some on your face and shoulders before heading into the office. When you're at the pool, specialists even suggest applying SPF under your bathing suit. Keep those sensitive areas burn-free with a little extra care before heading to the pool. For a list of top sunscreens check this out.
If you happen to "forget" to reapply your sunscreen, I'm here to help soothe that nasty burn you're probably left with now. I've used all of these remedies first hand, except the last one, and stand by them completely. There may be better options out there, but for now I'm all you have, so let's begin:
1. Solarcaine. This is by far my favorite burn relief product. After my annual back-to-Columbia burn last September, I happened to find this hidden gem on the bottom shelf of after sun products at Target. At only $7, it is a relief spray that cools the burning sensation, moisturizes your now-dry skin and eliminates much of the redness after only one or two uses! This gets the job done very quickly. I can't say enough good things about this product. For a little extra help, rub a little aloe lotion on after this application.
3. Yogurt. Same deal as milk. Different consistency. Pick whichever you're feeling that day. May have an easier application process.
4. Aloe gel. We've seen it a million times, and probably used it a million times. That bright green aloe gel from Banana Boat or another after sun brand. It's still around for a reason: it works. Unfortunately, you feel sticky and tacky and can't put your clothes on for a few minutes until it dries and it gets awkward. So if you're going to use this oldie but goodie, save it for a lazy day where you don't have to be anywhere any time soon. It's sister product, aloe lotion, can also be substituted. Store these products in the fridge to keep it cold and provide a little added relief.
5. Water. You don't realize how dehydrated your skin becomes after a day in the sun. Replenish lost fluids with a big jug of water. Tip: drink a few bottles of water while you're out in the sun laying out. It will actually help prevent sunburn.
6. Aveeno Oatmeal Bath. This is the one product I have not used. However, it seems like a great supplement to the above methods. It's made of 100% natural oatmeal and has many positive effects. It will relieve your itchy and irritated skin and tone down the redness. This product is also good for poison ivy, rashes, bug bites and eczema.
I hope you take the steps to prevent a sunburn, but if you don't, we're here to help.