The Ultimate Guide to Sunburn Relief
With every epic beach day comes good views, great memories and, sometimes, a pretty bad sunburn. Whether you like to hit the beach solo or with a big group of friends, it’s pretty easy to forget to apply (and reapply) sunscreen all over your face and body, leading to a not-so-beachy glow and a host of uncomfortable side effects.
While sunburn is preventable in a few ways, it can still happen to some of the most prepared people. Thankfully, you don’t have to sit in pain and peeling while it heals because there are more than a few helpful sunburn remedies to keep sensitivity, stinging and other side effects at bay while your skin heals. In addition to these post-sunburn aids, it’s also important to keep yourself informed on how you can better protect yourself from the sun on future beach days. This includes knowing how to best apply sunscreen, checking the weather before leaving the house, knowing what to wear to the beach and much more.
At Le Club, we share your love for good times in the warm sunshine, so much so that beautiful, sunny beach days are the inspiration behind many of our men’s swim trunks and other beachwear pieces. There’s nothing quite like a day spent enjoying the great outdoors and the natural wonders our planet has to offer.
When it comes to the beach, in particular, there’s no better place to enjoy the breeze, celebrate the sun and soak up a little vitamin D. As seasoned beachgoers, we also know that it’s possible to spend a little too much time in the sun, especially if you’re not adequately protected.
If you’ve ever fallen asleep in the sun or forgotten to reapply sunscreen after a dip in the ocean, then you know that sizzling sunburn isn’t far behind. The next few days can be quite an agonizing experience as the burn sets in and the affected area heals. This means your body is doing its job, although the process usually involves some uncomfortable and even painful symptoms. To keep you informed about sunburns, the best ways to prevent them and how to get relief once you get one, here’s the ultimate guide to sunburn relief.
WHAT IS SUNBURN?
Though the answer might seem obvious, sunburn is more than just a burn inflicted by the sun. Technically, sunburn refers to the reaction your skin has to being overexposed to UV (or ultraviolet) rays. This type of light is most commonly found within the sun’s rays and can reach any exposed skin that is not shaded or covered with clothing. UV light can also be emitted artificially through different types of lightbulbs, which are common in certain lasers, sun lamps and, of course, tanning beds.
When UV rays make contact with your skin, they can create different levels of damage. To help you imagine the process of getting sunburn, think of it as a battle scene between UV rays and your skin cells. The UV rays attack your skin cells first, trying to damage the skin after too much exposure.
Thankfully, your body knows something is wrong at this point and that the UV rays are attempting to do something that could compromise your skin cells, so it fights back by trying to bring backup to the skin cells that are being attacked. However, there is a point when the powerful ultraviolet radiation exposure becomes too much for your skin cells to protect themselves against, resulting in the death and damage of some of those cells.Shop Men’s Beach Tops
At this point, you are able to feel and see the effects of sunburn in the form of skin tenderness, skin that is warm to the touch and a red or pink color throughout the affected area. These sunburn symptoms indicate that your skin has been overexposed to UV rays and that blood is being rushed to the area in order to heal the sunburn and the damaged cells.
Though most forms of sunburn can be treated at home, and many associated symptoms begin to fade away within a few days, sunburn can leave lasting damage on your skin cells that is beyond repair. In some cases, the damaged skin cells can undergo mutations and become cancerous cells.
All of this sunburn information is not meant to try to keep you from enjoying a beautiful, sunny day. Rather, it is meant to help you understand what sunburn is, how it happens and why you should be mindful of protecting yourself from harmful UV rays while having fun in the sun!
Remember the battle scene between UV rays and your skin cells? You can give those cells a layer of ultra protective armor in the form of sunscreen to block the UV rays from damaging your skin cells and causing sunburn. In addition to applying SPF 30 (or higher) regularly to your skin before and during any amount of sun exposure, protective accessories like hats, coverups and your beach umbrella will help to ensure a win against UV rays and prevent sunburn.
THE BEST TREATMENTS FOR SUNBURN
There’s a certain unexplainable feeling of happiness that accompanies you after a beach day filled with fun activities, good company and slightly sunkissed skin that is free of sunburn. During this kind of day, you reapply sunscreen and remind others to do so as well, making sure no one goes home with red shoulders or a sunglasses outline on their face.
Having said that, there’s also a certain sigh of displeasure associated with assessing the sunburn damage left from an otherwise perfect day in the sunshine. If you’re experiencing the latter, here’s what you can do to treat your sunburn and get the relief you need while it heals.
STICK TO THE SHADE
Before you do anything to treat your sunburn, it’s very important to know that further sun and UV exposure will only make things worse. Ideally, you should stay out of the sun completely while your sunburn heals. However, the idea of staying inside with the blinds shut for days probably sounds awful to you, and you’re not alone.
Instead, strive to remain thoughtful and careful when making plans and decisions while your sunburn is healing. Be sure to apply lots of sunscreen, especially to the affected areas, before leaving the house for the next few days. This will help prevent the exacerbation of any existing sunburn and prevent other UV rays from causing more of it.
In addition to wearing SPF, wearing protective clothing that shields your sunburned skin from UV rays can also be a huge help. If your sunburn is particularly painful or sensitive, go for a soft, stretchy rash guard with SPF that will keep you both comfortable and protected.
Since sunburned skin often feels warm to the touch, it’s also a good idea to cover yourself with clothing made of light, airy fabrics. When a t-shirt or rash guard won’t cut it, throw on one of your breathable men’s linen shirts to keep you feeling comfortable in a nicer environment despite your sunburn. Even with these protective clothing layers, try to minimize any and all direct sun exposure, and you’ll have it made in the shade!Learn More About Our Commitment to Sustainability
UTILIZE TOPICAL PRODUCTS
While there’s no magic cream that will reverse the effects of sun damage completely, there are a few topical substances that can provide relief for the symptoms associated with sunburn. A good lotion can work wonders for your sunburn and help rehydrate the skin after too much sun exposure.
When choosing a lotion, go for a brand you trust and one that you know will not irritate your skin. From there, look for soothing ingredients like aloe, oatmeal or coconut oil. Pop your lotion in the fridge before use for added coolness and relief from hot skin.
If you prefer a more natural approach or are in a pinch, you can use some common pantry items to get sunburn relief. For a facial sunburn (particularly in the eye area), gently place a tea bag soaked in cool water on each eyelid or under-eye area to alleviate pain and burning without irritating the skin further.
Other natural remedies for sunburn include adding a cup or two of oats to a cool bath, applying milk to the skin with a cloth and spreading a layer of yogurt over the affected area and allowing it to sit for a few minutes.
GET ENOUGH REST AND HYDRATION
Really and truly, is there anything that can’t be helped even a little bit by a good night’s sleep and a big glass of water? After sunburn sets in, your body is trying to repair its cells and heal your skin. This is a lot of work for a bunch of tiny cells! Give your body the hydration it needs to work properly and rehydrate the skin and be sure to get enough sleep so your body has energy to focus on making your sunburn go away. Nap time, anyone?
TAKE PAIN RELIEVERS IF NECESSARY
It’s always a good idea to stay one step ahead of your sunburn. If you feel yourself getting burned or someone tells you you’re beginning to look like a lobster, get out of the sun and enter recovery mode! Even if you don’t notice redness yet, you can alleviate some of the initial sunburn-induced pain, stinging and burning by taking an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen. From there, you can focus on resting, staying in the shade and applying topical treatments with (hopefully) less pain.
PROTECT BLISTERS AND PEELING
Blisters and peeling skin are usually associated with a more serious sunburn, but they can happen to anyone. If you have more sensitive skin or don’t often go out in the sun, you might also be more susceptible to these skin conditions as the sunburn heals, even if you don’t feel like your burn is that bad.
Blisters and peeling skin are a part of the healing process and signify dead skin being removed in order to allow new skin to take its place, so don’t mess with that process! Even though it’s super tempting to pull, poke and play with the affected skin, just leave it alone, moisturize it daily and avoid wearing clothes that might irritate blistered or peeling skin.
HOW TO PREVENT SUNBURN
If we’re being honest, the most treatable sunburn is one that never happens at all. Serious kudos to you if you have upheld a great sunscreen routine, avoided too much sun exposure and have never felt the (literal) pain of a bad sunburn. For those who have had that one really bad burn, it’s likely you stepped up your sun protection game after that, which is also great!
If you get sunburn, there’s no reason to be too hard on yourself, especially in the long term. Instead, focus that energy toward sticking to a preventative routine and making decisions that will help you avoid sunburn and lasting damage.
Preventing sunburn is all about habits, and a sunscreen habit is the perfect one to make. Wear sunscreen at the beach, by the pool, at the grocery store and while you’re out to lunch. Reapply it if you’re outside for an extended period of time, and don’t forget unseen areas like the back of the neck, the tops of the ears and the scalp. When choosing a sunscreen, look for “reef safe” or “reef friendly” products which indicate that they do not contain oxybenzone or octinoxate. Studies have shown that these two UV blocking chemicals can cause coral bleaching. As strong proponents in sustainability and creating a more eco-friendly world, we want you to protect both your skin and our oceans.
It’s also great to make a habit of wearing protective clothing. The perfect beach outfit for men includes your favorite beach hat, polarized sunglasses, a long-sleeve shirt to cover up when needed and your favorite Le Club Original swim trunks, of course. Here’s to beach weather, protecting your skin and knowing the best tricks for sunburn relief!