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Northwestern University

Sunburn S.O.S.

Written on May 30, 2012 at 1:46 pm , by

There are simple solutions to keep sunburn from leaving you red in the face.

If despite all of our sun safety imploring and warnings, you’re still seeing red after the holiday weekend, fear not. Theri Griego Raby, M.D., founder and medical director of the Raby Institute for Integrative Medicine at Northwestern University shares five natural sunburn remedies you can do at home, stat.

  1. Apply aloe: The plant has a long-standing history of providing sunburn relief due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. “Gel straight from the plant is most effective,” Dr. Raby says. “Aloe vera causes blood vessels to constrict, which can take the sting and redness out of a sunburn.”
  2. Refresh with peppermint oil:  The cooling and aromatic qualities of peppermint oil can help quell the scorch of a bad burn. The essential oil can be directly applied to the affected area or diluted with a cup of lukewarm water.
  3. Take an oatmeal bath:  Adding oatmeal to bathwater is an ideal skin soother that won’t irritate already-damaged skin. “The key is to soak no more than 15 to 20 minutes and to use cool, not cold, water to relieve skin without sending the body into shock,” she explains. “Afterward, air dry or blot skin with a towel rather than rubbing skin dry, which can cause further inflammation.”
  4. Go for green tea:  After brewing a pot of green tea, let the liquid cool and soak a washcloth in the mixture.“Placing the compress on affected areas wicks heat away from the skin and reduces swelling,” Dr. Raby says.
  5. Stay hydrated:  Drinking fluids can also help combat second-hand sunburn symptoms. Sunburn can cause a mild fever or headache, so be sure to replenish lost hydration by drinking plenty of water after a day in the sun.