Thursday, July 3, 2008

Caring for Sunburns

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How to Soothe Your Sun Woes

by Dawn Papandrea

Everyone knows that it's best to practice sunburn prevention before you head outdoors, but stuff happens. Your kids convince you to hang out at the playground longer than planned. The baseball game goes into extra innings and your sunscreen wears off. Your coworkers suggest walking off lunch. You fall asleep by the pool.

The good news is that if you act fast, you can minimize the sun's damage to your skin, not to mention the lobster-like redness. Start with these expert tips, products and at-home remedies to soothe your sun woes...

Caring for Sunburns

Feeling Baked?
Arm & Hammer Baking
Soda can help treat skin irritations like sunburn (as well as other summer-related issues like bug bites). Here's the recipe for relief: Dissolve 1 to 2 cupfuls in a tub of warm water. Soak for 10 to 30 minutes as needed or as directed by a doctor. Pat dry (do not rub) to keep a thin layer on the skin. Or, to treat smaller areas (like if you missed the top of your feet when putting on sunscreen), create a paste by adding water slowly, and apply directly to the affected area.

Hard-to-Treat Hot Spots
You know that feverish feeling you get after a sunburn, when even your eye sockets seem to be on fire? Try cooling off the sensitive areas around your eyes, or even the top of your ears, with cotton swabs. Here's the plan: Slightly dampen the swabs and place them in the freezer. Once they're nice and chilled, gently roll under the eyes to minimize red puffiness and cool down your face.

Wipe Away the Burn

Ever step into a shower after a burn? You're not sure whether it feels better or worse as each drop pounds dow
n on your sensitive skin. Try CVS/pharmacy Brand Aftersun Cloth Wipes immediately following your outdoor burnfest. The premoistened cloths are mild and cleansing, and contain cooling vitamin E and aloe.

ak and Soothe
Here's a grandmother-like home remedy that works wonders: Take a bath in Epsom salt. According to the Epsom Salt Council, start with one cup of Epsom salt and pour boiling water into it so that it dissolves, then pour the solution into a warm bath. Soak for 15 to 20 minutes.

Plant Relief

"Aloe vera is
the best remedy for sunburn," says Dr. Karl Gruber, a surgical pathologist and CEO of Luca Sunscreen. Keep a plant in your home to treat minor burns or irritations—just squeeze the gel-like substance directly from the aloe vera leaves. "It has both anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties," explains Dr. Gruber. "It's even used in hospital burn units."

When Sunb
urn Is Tough to Swallow
Swallow do
wn an aspirin or Advil right after exposure and every 4 to 6 hours for the next day or so, advises Joel Schlessinger, president emeritus of the American Society of Cosmetic Dermatology and Aesthetic Surgery. Since these have anti-inflammatory effects, you'll minimize your discomfort.

Aloe in a Jar

No aloe plant in sight? Ole Henriksen's All P
urpose Aloe Vera Gel is almost as good as the real thing—its oil-free formula with added chamomile will cool your skin after just one application.

Slather on Sun Repair

After sitting out longer than you should have, you can jump-start your skin's healing process right away by smoothing on some Ahava After-Sun Rehydrating Balm.

Away Discomfort
No, we're not talking about drowning your sorrows in sangria—good old H2
O can help replenish your body, says Betsy Yeleck, medical esthetician at Summit Medical Group. "Drink lots of water, because the body gets dehydrated with sunburn."

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