Ultraviolet rays destroy the inner skin cells in a scientific process called apoptosis, while the outer visible skin layer turns red when the inflammatory proteins and blood flow toward the affected spot.
The treatment of sunburn starts with prevention first. If you intend to stay out for a long period of time, then you have to keep checking your skin and take shade from time to time.
Of course, you should also smear sunscreen repeatedly over your body, far more than advised, so that you have a protective layer on, especially to prevent infection from spreading to the face.
If you do identify some skin discoloration or blisters, going quickly inside and applying the following home remedies recommended by Meghan Feel, a New York based dermatologist, can help.
Release the heat
Heat from the sun gets trapped in the skin, just like a burner heating up a vessel to cook food. Cool the skin to release the trapped heat by placing ice cubes wrapped in a towel at 10-15 minute intervals against the affected skin area during the course of an entire day.
Otherwise, if that takes too much of an effort, the easier option is to take ice cold showers or baths frequently in a day. Once you step out, dry yourself out but leave a little bit of water on the skin for the epidermis to absorb because the sunburn leaves the outer skin dehydrated.
Keep your hands off the blisters
Do not touch the blisters formed on the skin as a result of second-degree sunburn. Resist the urge to poke the blisters and pop them at any cost, for it could lead to infections if you do not let it heal the natural way. Do not try to peel off any skin at all.
In case the urge to touch the blisters is overwhelming, then having a cold bath could help. However, if pain is excruciating, pop an ibuprofen or aspirin. Topical retinoid ointments can be applied to deal with wrinkles or lines left behind after blisters go away to boost the production of the skin pigment melanin, that is known to reduce sunspots.
While there are traces of water left behind, applying moisturisers in the nick of time can accelerate the process of water absorption in the cells that were depleted by the sunburn. Antioxidants contained in Vitamin C and E will prevent further flaking of the skin. Aloe vera is recommended very highly to treat sunburns, though the research on it has mixed results.
Try to avoid the lotions made of petroleum, benzocaine or lidocaine as these ingredients can trap the heat and irritate the skin more. In case of pain persisting, hydrocortisone creams can help.
Sunburn causes dehydration of the skin, so staying hydrated by drinking lots of water will prevent the escalation of the sunburn into infection and also cool the body temperature.
Choose clothes wisely for the rest of the body
Apart from applying sunscreen lotion, avoid wearing synthetics like polyester and nylon as synthetic fabrics absorb the heat and irritate the skin, not allowing the skin to breathe.
While recovering from a sunburn, wearing loose clothes as opposed to tight-fitting clothes is better since the clothes can brush against the skin and irritate the problem zones.
Source: Medical Daily