“I Look Like a Tomato…Now What?” (Sunburns and How To Prevent Them)

Joy. As summer is starting soon, I see more and more people walking around looking like poor little bright red tomatoes. As said earlier, it’s warmer outside. Let’s do the math:

Warmer Weather = Less Clothing = More Skin Showing
 More Skin Showing + More Sun = SUNBURNS
–  Q: We all know sunburns are damaging to our skin, but what is really happening when we burn?
–  A: When we get sunburns, cell damage from ultraviolet rays is affecting our skin. The body responds to the damage by increasing blood flow to the capillary bed of the dermis in order to bring cells to repair the damage, thus the epidermis turning red, itchy, and results in peeling. Everytime we burn, we risk ourselves in danger of getting wrinkles, sunspots, and worst of all, cancer.
-Q: I’m burned. Now what?
-A: Once a sunburn has occured, there is really nothing you can do about it besides help ease the pain that comes with the sunburn. There are many products and painkillers out on the market to help reduce pain, but a cold shower or bath can feel cooling to the burning sensations. Remember to dry skin gently by patting with a soft towel, NOT rubbing. You don’t want to irritate the skin more than it already is. The best thing to do is keep skin moisturized with something soothing and gentle while the sunburns are healing. Moisturizers that contain oatmeal and natural plant extracts are great, because they are naturally soothing and are easily absorbed. Even though skin looks as though it is better and the pain has lessened, the skin is not done healing yet. The outer layer of damaged skin will peel in order to reveal healthy skin below. Do NOT pick at it, as tempting as it is, because skin that is not ready to come off naturally and is picked at will hurt. Badly. Once the sunburn has completely healed, it should be of the past, but know that every time you get any type of sunburn, it increases your chance for skin cancer.

– Q: Can we prevent it?
– A: Definitely. Let’s remember, you know your skin best. Ask yourself:
1. How long does it take me to burn?
2. Where are the spots I burn first?
3. Am I really doing all I can to protect myself?
Know and understand the answers to these questions. While some people are less likely to burn, nobody is fully protected. Even those who have darker skin. Make sure to wear sunscreen with at least SPF 30 and reapply, as annoying as it is. Stay out of the sun as much as possible and learn to love the natural color of your skin. Prevention is key.

Some of my favorite skincare products with SPF or help skin with sunburns:

1. LUSH Aqua Marina Facial Cleanser $10.50 for 3.5 oz.

This facial cleanser contains calamine, seaweed, and aloe vera to cleanse irritated skin gently and leave skin bright. Absolutely perfect when you’ve been caught by the sun. 

Natural colloidal oatmeal helps soothe and moisturize itchy, irritated skin that comes with sunburns in a non-greasy formula that’s easily absorbed.

Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF 30

The hands-down absolute best facial sunscreen ever. It’s not greasy, dries fast, doesn’t clog pores, and is the perfect primer that leaves a matte finish before any type of foundation is put on. I keep a mini one in my purse for reapplication. 
Dedicated to Andrea S.

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