Chances are you’ve ended up here after a frantic (and probably sore) search on Google. Having thrown caution (and clothing) to the wind over the weekend but failed to protect your skin, you now find yourself lobstified.
What the first days of summer teach everyone – aside from the need for a pair of high-quality sunglasses and just how pale you are under there – is that the sun can be extremely unforgiving. While sunburn is often short-lived and can result in little more than mild afflictions such as red, tender and itchy skin, it can also increase the risk of conditions such as premature aging and skin cancer.
Lecture over – as ever we’re here to help. So, if you’re lost for ways to treat the lobster look (or at least make it appear less noticeable), cool off and read on.
Put The Pills To Work
The awful burning sensation that comes with a little too much fun in the sun can be eased by taking Ibuprofen. It’s important to do this within the first 24 hours of being burnt to maximise the pill’s ability to act as a powerful painkiller and reduce inflammation.
However, you hardly ever see sunburn straight away, so don’t rely on redness as an indicator. If your skin is hot to the touch even after the sun has gone down, take two as a precaution. An antihistamine won’t help here because your skin isn’t having an allergic reaction.
Cut The Chemicals
You may not be able to reverse the effects of sunburn but you can help the healing process along. While your skin attempts to repair the damage, avoid any chemicals or abrasions usually in your grooming regime.
That means cut the scrubs and anything with alcohol or synthetic fragrances in – these will only dry the skin out and irritate it further. Instead, look for natural products packed with ingredients such as soothing menthol or aloe vera.
Know Your Home Remedies
Everyone is a doctor in this day and age and there are far too many old wives’ tales to list here. When it comes to hunting out home remedies, stick to the few trusted ones. Black tea is well known for packing an antioxidant punch. Use soaked and cooled bags to calm burnt eyelids or make a pot and allow it to cool before applying to larger areas using a cloth. Similarly, adding ground oatmeal to a bath can help set aside irritation.
Unless a well-known remedy, what you find in the dark corners of forums can do more harm than good. Some suggest spraying vinegar-based mixes on the skin, however this will only dry the skin out when it is in most need of moisture.
Over The Counter
In the more serious cases it may be necessary to seek professional advice. Should things like blistering occur it is worth having a chemist take a look. While you’re there pick up some aloe vera gel – there’s a reason it’s often touted as the “burn plant”.
For extra effect, keep it in the fridge so when applied it will reduce the temperature of the skin and prevent peeling while also delivering a soothing “ahhhh”.
Choose Clothes Carefully
Unfortunately, sunburn isn’t a welcome excuse when calling in sick. The embarrassment (and pain) of braving the outside world can be reduced with a few tricks. Favour function before form and wear soft, loose fitting clothes – linen over denim, cotton espadrilles (not to work) instead of leather Oxfords – while healing.
When it comes to colour, the darker the better. Bright shades, and white in particular, will make the redness stand out like… well, a sunburnt person.
Ride It Out
Sunburn can induce hungover-like vows to never return to the beer garden again. But much like a hangover, sometimes you just have to ride it out.
Stay hydrated (drink at least two litres of water a day), resist the itch, don’t pick or burst blisters and stay in the shade until fully healed. After that, learn the meaning of SPF from our 2016 grooming resolutions.