Soothe Your Sunburn: From Scalp to Skin Healing Strategies

Effective Sunburn Treatments and Methods on How to Cure Sunburn, Manage Peeling, and Recovery Time

Sun’s out, and so is everybody else! While it’s usually a great day to soak in the sunshine or have a great day outdoors, it often comes at the cost of sunburns. And more often than not, you end up a tad toastier than intended.

In our skincare journal today, we’re here to discuss these unwanted summer souvenirs that we’ve all had to deal with at least once in our lifetime. So if you; 're wondering what is a sunburn, or how you treat a sunburn, you've landed at the right destination.

Sunburn is a skin reaction caused by too much exposure to the sun’s radiation.

With the onset of summer, consider this your cheat sheet for navigating the fiery aftermath of too much sun and understanding your skin’s temperament in depth.

Sunburns: Know-how on that not-so-hot glow:

In simple words, a sunburn is your skin's SOS signal. It's what happens when your skin gets more UV love than it can handle, and it's not just about turning red or peeling. UV exposure tends to damage the DNA in your skin cells. It is your body's response to increase blood flow to the affected areas resulting in skin redness (a lot of it), and start repairing the damage.

This explains the tenderness and peeling that follows. Scientifically, Sunburn is manifested as skin inflammation and redness, with corresponding sunburn blisters and peels resulting from damage to skin cell DNA due to exposure to UV rays.

Sunburns are an extreme and acute inflammatory reaction on the skin, which is mostly painful and uncomfortable. As the weather gets warmer and changes globally, more people are at risk of getting sunburned. And so as your skincare and wellness BFFs, we need to inform you on how to manage sunburns effectively.

As per research, every year, over a third of the population experiences sunburn, which can have lasting consequences. In extreme cases, the overall number of persons with sunburns correlates to an increased risk of skin cancer.

Navigating sunburns and their symptoms: Managing a sunburn is part art, part science, and all about giving your skin some serious TLC. Signs and symptoms of sunburn are red skin (erythema), which is followed by different levels of pain that depend on how long and intense the sun exposure is. Other symptoms include swelling, itching, sunburn skin peeling, rashes, fever, chills, or pass-outs. Additionally, the burn area might feel warm because of the increased blood flow that helps with healing.

A few simple steps that help ease the pain and gradually cure it include:

  • Step 1: Cool down, stat! Next, take a cool water shower to calm stressed skin. Avoid iced water to shock the skin further. Additionally, opt for gentle body products that are mild on the skin.
  • Step 2: Post the intense heat and dryness, it’s time to use soothing moisturisers, or hydrating gels to give your skin what it needs the most - Moisture. Ingredients like aloe vera work wonders for the skin. Also, opting for a lightweight and fragrance-free moisturiser can help calm the skin further.
  • Step 3: Sunburns aren't just skin deep. They can zap your body's hydration levels too. Prevent dehydration by increasing your water intake significantly. Aim to drink more water than usual to help your skin (and the rest of you) recover. Think of it as hydrating from the inside out.
  • Step 4: Your skin is extra sensitive right now, so soft, loose, breathable fabrics are the way to go. Think of soft fabrics like cotton, or soft mul fabrics that are comfortable, and irritation-free. These two are essentially the king in these situations.
  • Step 5: Following the Patience Protocol and allowing the skin to heal at its pace is important. Resist any urges to peel dry skin, or pick flaky skin. Instead, continue to moisturise and hydrate the skin gently.

Ingredients that you must avoid:

When dealing with sunburns, it’s important to avoid certain ingredients in skincare products that can irritate the skin further or impede the healing process. Here are some ingredients to steer clear of:

  1. Alcohol: It has the potential to dry out or irritate the already sensitive sunburned skin.
  2. Perfumes or body mists: Artificial fragrances can aggravate further skin irritation and even cause allergic reactions on sun-damaged skin.
  3. Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs): Ingredients like glycolic acid, lactic acid, and salicylic acid are potent and their potency can increase skin sensitivity and irritation.
  4. Retinoids: Products containing retinol or other forms of vitamin A can be harsh on sunburned skin, contributing to more redness and sensitivity. These ingredients can further delay the skin’s healing process.
  5. Menthol and Camphor: While these have cooling properties, these ingredients can be strong for sunburned skin to handle thus causing more irritation.

We encourage speaking to your healthcare team or a certified dermatologist for ingredient suggestions and cure methods. During sunburns, your body has blisters that require careful examination and treatment. Sunburns are also accompanied by a high fever or severe pain making it important to seek medical attention at the earliest.

Skin protection is your real BAE: Under extreme sunlight or when exposed to heat, protecting yourself is easier than you think. Look for:

  • Opt for broad-spectrum sunscreens with at least SPF 30 for protection. And as tedious as it sounds, applying sunscreen every two hours or immediately after swimming or sweating helps your skin go a long way!
  • Embrace the Shade, especially between 10 am and 4 pm when the sun is most intense.
  • Cover your skin as much as you can using hats, sunglasses, and lightweight and easy-breezy long-sleeved clothing. These are both, stylish and trusted armor against UV rays.

Sunburned Scalp and its effects:

Apart from the damage to the skin on the body, scalp damage is another common area to be affected. Just like damage to the skin, massive exposure of the scalp to UV rays can lead to redness, rashes, and more to the scalp. While thicker than regular skin, it’s easy for these harmful rays to penetrate the skin and leave an impact.

Moreover sunburns on the scalp not only cause discomfort but also trigger oxidative stress, compromising both, your scalp and hair. This stress can weaken hair follicles, leading to premature hair ageing, and disrupting healthy hair growth, ultimately affecting its strength, shine, and vitality. Protecting your scalp from the sun is crucial for maintaining its health and preserving the natural beauty of your hair.

Our conclusion thoughts: If you’re thinking about how long sunburns take to heal, the answer is between 3-8 days but this depends mainly on its severity. The symptoms start mainly within a few hours of damage and can last a few days to weeks. In the case of scalp sunburn too, the first few days are crucial, and using anti-dandruff shampoos, or rubbing the scalp too much can leave a more severe impact on the skin.

Lastly, think of sunburns as your skin's way of reminding you that it needs protection. A little care goes a long way in keeping your skin happy, healthy, and far from the lobster zone. So, next time you're gearing up for a day in the sun, remember to show your skin some love. Your future self (and your dermatologist) will thank you.

Stay sun-smart, and enjoy that golden glow (safely)!

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