Sunburns can be a painful and uncomfortable experience, especially during the hot summer months in St. Louis. Whether you've spent a little too much time soaking up the sun at Forest Park or enjoying a day at the St. Louis Zoo, it's important to know how to effectively treat sunburns and alleviate the discomfort they bring. In this article, our St. Louis dermatologists offer some practical tips and remedies for treating sunburns.
Before discussing some tips on how to soothe a sunburn, it's essential to understand what sunburns are and how they occur. Sunburns are skin changes that result from overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. The UV rays penetrate the skin and damage the DNA in the skin cells, leading to inflammation and redness.
Seek Shade and Cool Down
If you notice the first signs of sunburn, such as redness or a warm sensation on your skin, it's crucial to seek shade immediately. Find a cool and shaded area to prevent further damage to your skin. You can also use a cool compress or take a cool shower to help reduce the heat and inflammation.
Hydrate and Moisturize
Sunburns can dehydrate your skin, so it's important to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Additionally, applying a moisturizer with aloe vera or a soothing refrigerated moisturizing lotion (Cetaphil, Sarna) can provide relief and promote healing. Look for products that are specifically formulated for sunburned skin and avoid using any harsh or fragrant products that may irritate your skin further.
There are several over-the-counter remedies that can help reduce the discomfort caused by sunburns. Look for products containing ingredients like hydrocortisone or lidocaine, which can provide temporary relief from pain and itching.
If you prefer natural remedies, there are several options you can try to soothe your sunburned skin. As mentioned above, aloe vera gel is a popular choice due to its cooling and anti-inflammatory properties. Applying chilled cucumber slices or a paste made from baking soda and water can also provide relief.
Clothing and Sun Protection
Prevention is key when it comes to sunburns. To protect your skin from harmful UV rays, it's essential to wear protective clothing, such as wide-brimmed hats, long-sleeved shirts, and sunglasses with UV protection. Applying sunscreen with a high SPF (Sun Protection Factor) is also crucial. Make sure to reapply sunscreen every two hours and after swimming or excessive sweating.
When to Seek Medical Attention
In most cases, sunburns can be treated at home with the remedies mentioned above. However, if your sunburn is severe and accompanied by symptoms like blistering, fever, or extreme pain, it's advisable to seek medical attention. Mid-County Dermatology in St. Louis, MO can provide appropriate treatment and offer further guidance to ensure proper healing.
Sunburns can put a damper on your time outdoors in St. Louis, but with the right treatment, you can minimize discomfort and promote healing. Remember to seek shade, hydrate, and moisturize your skin. Explore over-the-counter and natural remedies that provide relief. Additionally, take preventive measures by wearing protective clothing and using sunscreen. By following these tips, you can enjoy the beautiful St. Louis weather without worrying about sun