It’s hard to believe that after decades of being warned about the health risks associated with sunburn, tens of thousands of sunburn-related emergency room visits still happen every year.
In 2013, the cost of sunburn-related ER visits was a whopping $11.2 million according to the American Medical Association’s Journal Dermatology. Most disturbing to me personally is that the rate of sunburn among young people is skyrocketing, proving that either they are not aware of the risks, are not taking it seriously, or they are just unwilling to take proper precautions. Young people think they are invincible. We know, because we used to be young.
When I was in high school back in the paleolithic era, white kids used to sit outside at lunch with foil reflectors draped under our chins to catch rays and get a cool-looking tan. Just to make sure we maximized our exposure, we’d literally fry ourselves by slathering on baby oil mixed with iodine. Decades later, those of us who were fortunate enough not to have developed skin cancer (although it’s still too early to know for sure), saw the fruits of our narcissistic efforts blossom in the form of hyperpigmentation, age spots, wrinkles, and sagging skin. Part of my personal motivation in creating a skin care line was the direct outgrowth of seeing the not-so-flattering-changes in my own skin after I passed the half-century mark.
Just in case you still have any doubt about how dangerous or how quickly your skin can burn, research shows that your skin can burn in less than 15 minutes during the intense midday sun. Even one blistering sunburn can double your risk of developing skin cancer. By the way, the sunburn process begins long before it becomes visible to the naked eye, and may not show up on your skin for up to 24 hours later, so don’t be fooled!
What can you do if the damage is already done and you feel a sunburn coming on? According to the Mayo Clinic, most 1st and 2nd degree burns can safely be treated at home. There are natural home remedies you can use to reduce the inflammation. Some of these are:
- Aloe Vera gel – either split a leaf or buy some ready-made gel from the health food store
- Honey – which has been used as a topical salve since the days of the Pharaohs’
- Yogurt – slather this on topically to draw out the heat. I can personally vouch for this one, but you should know that curdled milk does not have a pleasant aroma (LOL). No big surprise there…
- Oatmeal – bathing in a finely ground colloidal oatmeal can reduce inflammation
- Essential oils – when properly diluted to no more than between a 1.5 and 2% solution with a good carrier oil, Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) and German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) are both very soothing to the skin. German chamomile has a distinctive blue color, so unless you want to look like a Smurf, be sure to dilute it properly. Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum), also known as Immortelle, can help your skin heal in record time.
Photo credit: Eran Finkle
Once the blistering skin has returned to normal, it is time to re-hydrate your dry, traumatized skin by using a high-quality skin care line to moisturize and baby newly exposed skin. Check out La Ishá’s Timeless Beauty Skin Collection for an easy 3-step program that will give you measurable results in record time with minimum effort.
Main Photo credit: Getty Images
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