Contributing Writers for Wake Up World
A sunburn is caused by excessive exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. The amount of exposure required to cause a burn is dependent on the individual, the geographical location, the time, and the atmospheric conditions. There are two types of ultraviolet rays, designated ultraviolet-A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB). Being exposed to small amount of these rays, especially UVB, can be beneficial for your health, as UVB helps in the production of vitamin D. On the other hand, too much exposure to these rays can be dangerous. In most cases, a sunburn will ensue, for some others, cancer may develop later on in life. An overexposure of UVB rays primarily attack the skin’s outer layer, while UVA rays attack the underlying layers.
Fair-skinned people are more prone to sunburn that darker-skinned individuals, but no matter what your skin color, you will burn if you get enough exposure. Symptoms do not necessarily appear while you are in the sun; they may begin from one hour to twenty-four hours after sun exposure, and usually reach their peak in two to three days.
Today, the effects of sun exposure are becoming an increasing concern because of the decline of the earth’s ozone layer. The ozone layer screens out the most harmful ultraviolet rays, but it is becoming steadily thinner all over the world, and holes that fluctuate in size have developed in various places. The best medicine for a sunburn is prevention, but for those who the damage has already been done, take a look at some of the natural remedies below.
This will help increase the amount of oxygen to the cells; it will also help to minimize free radical damage. 60 mg daily is recommended.
This is used as an antiseptic to prevent infection and subdue inflammation to promote healing. Apply topically where needed or as directed on label.
This nutrient will promote healing of burns. It is recommended to take 500mg daily on an empty stomach. Foods rich in L-cysteine include onions, eggs, and walnuts.
Plenty of potassium is lost through sunburn. It is important to replace this vital nutrient on the onset of a sunburn. A daily dose of 99mg is recommended.
Aloe Vera Gel
This is a remarkably effective treatment for any kind of burn. Aloe relieves discomfort, speeds healing, and also helps to moisturize the skin and relieve dryness. Gently apply a thin layer of aloe vera gel to the sunburned area. Reapply every hour until the pain is gone. Pulp taken from directly inside the fresh plant is best. If you use a commercial aloe product, make sure to choose one that contains no mineral oil, paraffin waxes, alcohol, or coloring.
Calendula and St. John’s Wort
Apply a salve of calendula flowers and St. John’s wort to baldy burned areas. These two herbs have antiseptic properties, act as painkillers for herbs, and promote healing of skin wounds.
Chamomile & Lavender
A herbal bath can help minimize the stinging and pain of a sunburn. Add six cups of chamomile tea or 6 drops of chamomile oil to a lukewarm tubful of water. Soak in the bath for 30 minutes or more. Lavender oil is also good and can be used in lace of chamomile oil if you wish.
Comfrey and Gotu Kola
Make a large pot of comfrey of gotu kola tea and let it cool. Soak sterile cotton gauze in the tea to make a compress and to apply it to the affected area. Leave the compress in place for up to thirty minutes.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Make a wash of apple cider vinegar diluted with an equal amount of water. Wash the area with the mixture, then rub a herbal infusion of St. John’s wort oil onto the affected sunburned area.
Drink Plenty of Water
A lot of water is lost through a sunburn. This causes the loss of fluids from cells within the lower layers of the skin. It is important to keep you self hydrated during and after your time in the sun.
Eat High Protein Rich Foods
This will facilitate tissue repair. Also ensure to eat plenty of raw fruits and vegetables to supply needed vitamins and minerals.
For immediate relief of sunburn pain, use cold water compresses or cold clay poultices. Or dissolve 1 pound of baking soda in a tubful of cool water and soak in the bath for about 30 minutes.
Prevention is the Best Medicine
Prevention is always better than the “cure”. Take precautions to prevent yourself from getting sunburned:
- Avoid spending time outdoors between the hours of 10:00am and 3:00pm. If you do intend to go out during this time, you should limit your exposure to sun to a maximum of fifteen minutes the first couple of days (greater time periods for those who have darker skin), and gradual increase that time every few days.
- Wear a sunhat, protective clothing. The best type of clothing is made of light colored, lightweight, tightly woven material.
- Try a natural sunscreen
A Few Things to Consider
Don’t Neglect Your Lips
The lips are also susceptible to sunburn. Use a sunburn protection product designed for the lips. Choose a formula containing natural (organic) ingredients such as aloe vera or vitamin E. Your health food store should carry such products in a handy stick form.
Don’t Rely on the Weather
Weather does not necessarily determine how strong the sun is. Cloudy or hazy days do not afford protection against sunburn; approximately 80 percent of the sun’s ultraviolet rays pass through the clouds. Reflections from water, metal, sand, or snow may increase (even double) the amount of ultraviolet rays you absorb. Ensure to take the same precautions on cloudy or hazy days that you do on bright, sunny days.
These are some remedies and practices that can be applied almost immediately. For those of you still unsure about methods or remedies, always trust your instincts to guide your way.
Your question(s): How do you deal with sunburn? (post your comments below)
About the Authors
Jordan & Kyla are passionate about health; together, they have overcome many illnesses through dietary and lifestyle changes, and the art of practicing a positive mindset daily. Kyla is currently studying to become a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Reiki Master, and Jordan is currently learning about traditional North American medicinal herbs, in hopes of becoming a Certified Herbalist. For more information, please visit the following sites; guidinginstincts.com, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or Pinterest
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Wake Up World or its staff.