How to soothe sunburn – 5 tips for cooling burnt skin

How to soothe sunburn – 5 tips for cooling burnt skin

This Morning: Dr Ranj warns of the dangers of sunburn

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Hot sunny days have been a treat for Brits in recent days, with soaring temperatures reaching up to 29C. Brits have flocked to parks, beaches, gardens to soak up the sun, however, an unfortunate side effect of too much time in the sun and not enough suncream can be sunburn.

Sunburn can strike if the suncream you are wearing has worn away if unprotected areas are exposed to the sun and if your suncream is not high enough factor to prevent sunburn.

We’ve all accidentally sat in the sun too long, forgotten to wear suncream or had a piece of clothing slip and expose skin to the sun without knowing.

Sunburn can cause hot, red and angry skin which is painful, often preventing sleep and causing discomfort.

So what can you do to soothe sunburnt skin? Read on for five top tips.

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As soon as you notice red, pink or sunburnt skin you should take care to get indoors or under shade to prevent further damage.

If you can’t get out of the sun, applying suncream right away can help prevent any worsening.

Once you’ve been sunburnt, there are five things you can do to manage the appearance, pain and side effects.

Begin treating your sunburn as soon as you notice it.

1. Take cool baths or showers often to help relieve the pain

Feeling hot, and in pain from sunburn is common – and taking cool showers or baths can help alleviate this.

Try and make sure the temperature is cool and not cold and allow the water to run over the sunburnt areas.

This will help remove the immediate heat you feel from sunburn.

Once you’ve finished in the bath or shower, gently pat yourself dry with a towel to prevent further hurting the skin.

Then, follow step number two.

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2. Moisturise frequently

Using an aftersun or moisturiser with aloe vera or soy can help soothe your sunburnt skin.

Apply gently and often to help aid the skin’s recovery and help relieve pain and discomfort.

For any areas which are especially painful, the American Academy of Dermatology Association advises you can apply a hydrocortisone cream which you can buy without a prescription.

However, avoid any products which end with ‘-caine’ as these can further irritate the skin.

3. Taking ibuprofen can reduce swelling

If your skin is uncomfortable and you notice swelling, you can take ibuprofen.

This will help reduce any swelling, may help reduce redness and will help with discomfort.

4. Drink water

When you are sunburnt, fluid is drawn to the skin’s surface and so can make you dehydrated.

To compensate and prevent dehydration, up your water intake if you have been sunburnt.

5. Protect your skin

While you have sunburnt skin, you should take extra care of it – especially if heading outside again.

You should wear clothing which covers your skin when outdoors, opting for tightly woven fabrics.

To check your fabric is ideal, hold it up to bright light – you should see no light coming through.

If you have been sunburnt, make sure to keep an eye on any symptoms which could turn into sunstroke.

According to the NHS symptoms of sunstroke include

  • a headache
  • dizziness and confusion
  • loss of appetite and feeling sick
  • excessive sweating and pale, clammy skin
  • cramps in the arms, legs and stomach
  • fast breathing or pulse
  • a high temperature of 38C or above
  • being very thirsty

The symptoms are often the same in adults and children, although children may become floppy and sleepy.

If someone is showing signs of heat exhaustion, they need to be cooled down.

If someone has heat exhaustion, the NHS advises you follow these four steps:

  • Move them to a cool place.
  • Get them to lie down and raise their feet slightly.
  • Get them to drink plenty of water. Sports or rehydration drinks are OK.
  • Cool their skin – spray or sponge them with cool water and fan them. Cold packs around the armpits or neck are good, too.
  • Stay with them until they’re better.
  • They should start to cool down and feel better within 30 minutes.

However, you should call 999 if the person

  • feels unwell after 30 minutes of resting in a cool place and drinking plenty of water
  • not sweating even while feeling too hot
  • a high temperature of 40C or above
  • fast breathing or shortness of breath
  • feeling confused
  • a fit (seizure)
  • loss of consciousness
  • not responsive

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