Don’t tell us … You went to the beach or the the theme park but you didn’t bring the sunscreen because it was cloudy outside and what were the chances you’d actually need protection.
And now you’re sunburned. It’s a rookie mistake that even lifelong Floridians can make each year, but at least we know how to get quick relief from sunburn without reaching for that old spray can of Solarcaine or that bottle of sticky aloe vera.
Chances are, the best sunburn remedies are already in your cupboards at home.
The redness associated with sunburns is caused by extra blood in the capillaries of you skin – or inflammation. A couple of ibuprofen tablets will provide some relief. Witch hazel, a common household astringent, always works well. Dip some cotton balls into it and gently dab it on your skin.
No, you can’t eat the pain away (but it never hurts to try). Prevention magazine recommends several food-based reliefs, including wrapping dry oatmeal in cheesecloth and running it through cold water then using it as a compress. Or take a cup of fat-free milk, mix it with 4 cups of water a few ice cubes as your compress. Or boil and mash up some potatoes (let them cool!) and then apply it to your skin. Or take some cucumbers, toss them in a blender and use the paste to cool your skin down.
3. Lettuce Soup
Want something really weird? Boil lettuce leaves in water, strain the cooked leaves out and let the “lettuce water” sit in the fridge to cool off. Dip cotton balls into that and apply to your skin.
4. Urban Legends That Work
Longtime Floridians swear by this sunburn remedy – especially if you burned some sensitive areas. Take some tea bags, soak them in cool water and dab them on affected areas. It’s believed the tannic acid in the tea eases the pain. No tea bags? Take yogurt and rub it all over then rinse off in a cool shower. (We’re not sure if this works, but it serves you right for not having tea bags around!) Of course, you could have avoided this problem by just wearing the right beach hat.
5. Burned Feet
Mistake No. 1 is usually forgetting to put sunscreen on your feet. If they’re burned, try elevating your legs (above heart level). That should ease the swelling.
6. What About Baths?
Actually soapy water is a bad idea with a sunburn. That will merely dry out your skin and lead to itchy skin (which will hurt too much to scratch). If you still crave some bathing, mix a cup of white or apple cider vinegar into the tub of water. You might smell a little like a salad afterward, but that will go well with those boiled lettuce leafs from step No. 3.
7. Drink Up
No, no more margaritas. That’s what caused you to fall asleep and get the sunburn in the first place. Try sports drinks like Gatorade, which will help you hydrate. Water, juice and even eating fruits with a lot of water (like watermelon) will go a long way toward your healing.