Soothing cures for burnt-to-a-crisp skin
We know that you didn’t mean to forget to put on your sunscreen. It wasn’t something you did with the intention of getting as tanned as possible over the weekend and now your skin is burnt to a crisp, it hurts to move your shoulders and you look like a tasty lobster.
But that’s okay, after a few days the redness will go down and your minor skin burn with give way to a beautiful bronze tan. Actually that’s not what happens. The sunburnt layer of skin peels off, revealing a healthy layer of pale, leathered skin with a few new spotty freckles. And that’s after walking around for a week with an unsightly peel. It’s not a cute look.
The brightest thing at a full moon party should be the bonfire, not your nose.
We won’t lecture you on the dangers of skin cancer. You already know this, and perhaps you’ll remember to slap on a good sunscreen next time (at least SPF 50 on your face to avoid premature wrinkles). In the meantime, let’s treat that nasty looking sunburn. Here are a few soothing cures for sunburned skin.
Get out of the sun, pronto
If you’ve reached the point where you cheeks are burning and your shoulders hurt every time you move, then you’re past the point that sunblock do anything for you now. Get out of the sun pronto and protect your skin by wearing a hat and covering up with a loose cotton shirt. You can still enjoy your time on the beach, just stay under the shade.
Take a cold shower
Cold water relieves the burning sensation in the skin, and tones down redness. But don’t use any soap, it strips your skin of essential oils. And if you’re too sore to get under a running shower, a cold compress will have the same soothing effect.
Apply an antiseptic moisturizer
Seal in your skin’s natural moisture with a good antiseptic moisturiser. The antiseptic sanitises the skin and prevents nasty infections, since sunburnt skin is thin and fragile. Apply two or three times a day to protect your weakened skin with an extra barrier and soothe those aching areas.
Pop a panadol
Now that you’ve done everything under the sun (no pun intended) to soothe your sun burned skin, take two Panadols or aspirin to numb the burning sensations ever so slightly. Painkillers will also help to reduce the inflammation.
Drink lots of water
Keep your body well hydrated. Drinking lots of water delivers moisture to your skin, and helps your body heal itself. If you’re suffering from an extreme case of sunburn, aim to consume at least three to four litres of water.
An aloe vera gel, or the natural gooey slime from the actual plant soothes stinging skin and reduces redness by constricting the blood vessels. Apply to the skin several times a day until the your skin is more or less back to normal.
Is there anything coconut oil doesn’t cure? In the Gili islands, you’ll come across beach hawkers selling homemade coconut oil for about US$5 a bottle. Buy one just in case, it’ll come in handy – and it can be mixed with natural aloe vera to concoct a homemade miracle cure for sunburned skin. It can be a little greasy, and sticky, so wear an old T-shirt that you don’t mind getting a little grubby.
With an average year-round temperature of 29 degrees Celcius and a host of outdoor activities in the Gili islands, swimwear becomes the attire of choice. And even though the sun’s rays on the paradise islands feel warm and gentle, your skin is still at risk to sunburn. So slap on your sunblock and reapply it generously after a swim in the ocean.