Tips to Treat Sunburn

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Tips to Treat Sunburn
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High factor sun cream and sunblock are your first line of defense against sunburn; prevention is always better than having to find a cure. Let down your guard and you could quickly find yourself nursing anything from an irritating red rash to tiny painful blisters from unprotected exposure to the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays. Until your skin heals, all you can do is alleviate the topical symptoms, rehydrate your body and treat the pain in extreme cases. If your sunburn is accompanied by abnormal sweating, nausea or dizziness, seek advice from a medical professional in case you are suffering from sun stroke or severe dehydration; both conditions may require appropriate treatment from a doctor.

Rehydrate – inside and out
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Rehydrate – inside and out

Drink plenty of water to replaced fluids lost by sweating and gently sponge sunburned skin with cool water. If you are sunburned across a large area, take a soak in a bathtub of cool or lukewarm water to calm the burning sensation. Stick to drinking plain water and avoid alcohol because this will dehydrate you further.

Moisturize
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Moisturize

It won't be long before your sunburned skin starts to feel dry, tight and uncomfortable, so moisturize the affected area as soon as possible to replace your skin's moisture levels. Never apply moisturizer to broken skin or open blisters and use it only on mild cases of sunburn. After-sun lotion or unperfumed products are less irritating than perfumed alternatives; creams and lotions containing natural aloe vera have an additional soothing effect.

Calamine lotion
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Calamine lotion

Good old fashioned calamine lotion is an effective quick fix for relieving sunburn symptoms. Make sure to re-apply it regularly because the effects wear off within an hour or two. A cool bath before re-applying calamine can help; some people find the dried-on lotion starts to feel itchy as it warms up on their skin. It's not the most attractive solution to sunburn, but if you don't mind looking as though someone has thrown a bucket of whitewash over you, calamine lotion does the trick.

Hydrocortisone ointment
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Hydrocortisone ointment

Hydrocortisone ointment helps to reduce swelling and take away some of the pain associated with sunburned skin. It is not suitable for use on large areas, the face, sunburn blisters that have burst or any patches of broken skin. Use hydrocortisone ointment to treat sunburn only under the supervision of your doctor or pharmacist.

Painkillers
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Painkillers

If nothing seems to alleviate the pain caused by your sunburn, you may feel the need to resort to popping a pill to help with the symptoms. Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory that reduces swelling, treats pain and lowers a fever or high temperature. Use only as directed and always seek professional medical advice if you are unsure about how to deal with treating sunburn.

Don't burst sunburn blisters
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Don't burst sunburn blisters

Although you may be tempted to start popping moist blisters once the pain subsides, it's best to let nature take its course, according to Dr. Lawrence E. Gibson's advice at MayoClinic.com. Bursting blisters leaves the area open to infection so a gauze dressing may be necessary to keep broken skin clean. As the sunburned skin dries and starts to peel, it's okay to give it a helping hand and get rid of the dead layer of skin, but use plenty of moisturizer to prevent flaking and excess dryness.

Yogurt
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Yogurt

Yes, it sounds extremely messy, but smearing plain, natural yogurt all over your sunburn is very soothing. According to Dr. Neil A. Fenske, professor of medicine and pathology at the University of South Florida in Tampa, there is absolutely no scientific evidence to back up the old wives' tale that yogurt is a miracle cure for sunburn; it is, however, very effective at cooling down sunburned skin when used straight from the refrigerator. Just make sure the yogurt is unflavoured.

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