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The best home remedies for sunburn
Actually, the skin should always be protected so that there is no sunburn. However, if this happens, there are some good home remedies that are soothing, cooling and healing. Sunburn should not be taken lightly, because the more often the skin is burned by too much sun exposure, the risk of skin cancer increases. Especially if children have had sunburn more often before their sixth birthday, they are later at greater risk of developing skin cancer.
First aid for sunburn: Drink a lot and cool
At the first signs, the sun should definitely be left. The affected areas must be covered with suitable clothing in the next few days until the sunburn has completely healed. Adequate hydration should also be considered. The skin now needs even more moisture from the inside.
The faster the skin is cooled, the better. However, cooling should never be done with ice-cold substances, instead the temperature should be in the range of 15 ° C to 20 ° C. Excessively cold temperatures would even prolong the healing process.
Cool showers or pads with wet towels provide first aid for sunburn, because they soothe the skin and relieve the burning sensation. The towels are replaced as soon as they have warmed up. The healing can be supported by adding some fruit vinegar to the water with which the towels are soaked. Dabbing the affected areas with cotton balls soaked in vinegar water is also helpful.
Important: Fats, ointments and oils should not be used for sunburn, as they impair the heat emitted by the skin and can therefore cause the skin condition to deteriorate. Pharmacies have a wide variety of gels available for sunburn.
Cool and heal black tea and aloe
A great home remedy for sunburnt skin is aloe vera, but it is not always within reach. If available, a piece is cut from the aloe vera plant and the escaping juice is applied to the affected areas. The substances in aloe have a cooling and healing effect because the plant contains anti-inflammatory substances.
Black tea has proven itself. Small bags are suitable for tea bags that have already been brewed and then stored in the refrigerator. For larger areas, cloths are soaked with strong, chilled black tea and then put on. Here too, the cushions are renewed as soon as they have warmed up. Alternatively, chamomile tea can be used for the application.
Quick relief with curd wrap and yogurt
The application of curd cheese provides effective help for sunburn. Tea towels are smeared with simple low-fat curd cheese, folded up and placed on the affected areas. This cools and has an anti-inflammatory effect at the same time. If the curd wrap has become warm, it will be replaced.
Alternatively, yogurt, kefir or towels soaked in buttermilk also help. It is important if there are residues of the milk product remaining on the skin, wash them off generously in order to avoid any risk of infection.
An Australian home remedy is to apply grated eggplants with a little natural yogurt. For this purpose, an aubergine (complete with skin) is grated, mixed with a little natural yogurt and applied to the damaged skin regions. This takes away the heat and contributes to healing. Remember to completely remove the yogurt from the skin, preferably with clear water.
If it is severe sunburn with blisters or an open wound, you should refrain from treatment with curd cheese or yogurt. In this case, the lactic acid bacteria can additionally irritate the skin or even cause inflammation. In the event of severe burns, it is better to see a doctor immediately to avoid complications and consequential damage.
Natural treatment with healing earth and baking soda
Healing earth is a well-known home remedy for blunt traumas. In the case of sunburn, this can also serve well. A porridge made from cool water and healing earth is mixed and applied to the “sun-drenched” areas. If the whole thing is dry, it is carefully showered with cool water.
Good old soda can provide relief. Mix a teaspoon of baking soda with a liter of cool but not too cold water and it is best to pour the mixture into a spray bottle. You can use this to spray the affected areas carefully over and over again.
Effective medicinal plants for sunburn
Anyone who deals with plants knows the beneficial effects of oak bark. A brew of it is a proven remedy for sun-damaged skin. For this, two tablespoons of oak bark are boiled in a quarter liter of water for about a quarter of an hour and then strained. The cooled brew mixed with water can be applied using a spray bottle. But also towels that are soaked provide relief.
Arnica has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties and in the form of a gel can have an analgesic and cooling effect. In the pharmacy or drugstore you will find various gels (enriched with arnica extract), which you should carefully apply to the affected areas several times a day and massage in gently.
Sea buckthorn pulp oil is a good help because it has an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and supports the regeneration of the skin after exposure to the sun.
Everyone knows cucumber slices from cosmetics. But these also help with sunburn. Applied to the burned areas and renewed again and again, they cool and thus support the healing process.
Prevention: Prevention through proper sun protection
Prevention is of course better than being annoyed with a painful sunburn. Protect your skin with a suitable sunscreen and remember to repeat the application regularly. Even better is clothing that protects from the sun. The most important thing is a suitable headgear that also protects the neck. Children shouldn't be in the sun without clothing. Sun protection clothing is even popular for swimming in the sea or playing on the beach.
Prevention includes a balanced diet rich in antioxidants. These substances are able to buffer the free radicals formed in the body. The body produces a lot of it just because of the sun. Beta carotene is one of the antioxidants and protects the skin. This is mainly found in tomatoes, red and yellow peppers, carrots, sweet potatoes, cabbage and fennel.
A glass of carrot juice a day, as a cure before summer vacation, prepares the skin quite well for the coming sunshine. Other radical scavengers are vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium and zinc. A balanced diet, rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, is important to be able to deal better with the dangerous rays.
In any case, the skin should get used to the sun very slowly. Long sunbaths are also counterproductive. Appropriate clothing and protection in the form of (appropriate to the skin type) sunscreen are important. Conclusion: being brown is nice, but not always healthy.
How does a sunburn develop?
The risk of sunburn has increased significantly in recent years worldwide, as the ozone layer is becoming thinner and is no longer able to adequately intercept the dangerous UV rays (ultraviolet radiation). This means that they reach the surface of the earth unfiltered and can penetrate the skin unhindered.
Sunburn is an acute inflammatory reaction that is triggered by the penetration of sun rays into the skin. The dangerous thing about the sun is its UV content. If the skin can no longer react to the radiation with its own pigmentation, inflammation occurs with reddening, overheating and possibly also blistering.
The symptoms develop after three to six hours. The rays can penetrate so deeply into the skin that the cell tissue is damaged. This increases the risk of getting skin cancer with every new sunburn. The more often the skin is exposed to the sun without protection, the sooner skin aging begins. Severe burns can cause the epidermis to be completely destroyed in the burned areas.
Grade I sunburn is reached when itching, redness and burning begin. With grade II the blistering starts, with grade III the upper skin layer is destroyed. Grade II and Grade III belong in the hands of a doctor.
Especially when there are accompanying symptoms such as fever, ringing in the ears, headache, poor circulation, nausea and vomiting, there is no longer any talk of "normal" sunburn. A doctor must be consulted here.
Especially with young children who have suffered a sunburn, it should not be long to wait to see a doctor.
From scars to skin cancer: complications from sunburn
Depending on the severity and extent of the burn and the general symptoms that come with it, the burns can lead to a sunstroke, which must be treated professionally. If the skin is burned more, permanent scars can develop.
Too much sun can cause the skin to become thicker, the vessels to expand, the skin to age faster, and age and pigment spots to appear. The risk of developing skin cancer, which has already been mentioned, is also increasing. For good reason, the serious cases (second and third degrees) belong in the hands of medical care. (sw, nr)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Susanne Waschke, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch
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