It’s been so crazy hot – I hate the heat and never ever go in the sun. I’m not even going to start about how you should not even be in a situation where you have sunburn but I’ve been seeing so many people with red faces that I thought it would be a good idea to give you the tools to repair and heal your skin.
Don’t see this as a license to get burnt: any amount of sun damage is DNA damage and by doing this routine you are not reversing that damage, as it’s on a cellular level. But these steps will ease the pain.
In the initial hours after you have a burn, your body is trying to respond to that external trauma by increasing blood flow to that area which is why it goes very red. Basically it is your body’s inflammatory response – with increased blood flow comes an increase of inflammation in that area. Take an aspirin OR ibuprofen as they will help ease the inflammation from progressing and reduce any pain from the burn.
Cool the Skin. What you need is milk or yogurt. Take a washcloth, put it in a bowl of milk mixed with ice and let it sit on your skin – do not rub it! What these can do straight out of the fridge is cool your skin and sooth inflammation thanks to the proteins both contain. If you want something more advanced use the Skinceuticals Phyto Corrective Mask, it’s full of soothing, hydrating and anti-inflammatory ingredients that get rid of that parched feeling.
Note: If you have blisters please do not break them open – those blisters are your body creating a natural barrier containing growth and healing factors.
Sun damage will make your skin extra sensitive, so you need to have a very gentle cleanser. For a few days avoid anything active, such as acids. No physical or chemical exfoliants whatsoever! Sunburn is fundamentally a wound, so keep it gentle and do not disturb the skin. One I recommend is the La Roche Posay Toleriane Cleanser.
Some experts recommend anti-oxidants, which I would generally also do but if you put (for example) a Vitamin C on your skin at the moment it will sting! I would wait a few days. Don’t get me wrong, I swear by antioxidants – they help your skin heal up quick, protect against free radicals and counter skin damage but right now, when skin is raw and red, they will sting. For immediate soothing, I like the Sarah Chapman Skinesis Ultra Recovery Booster, full of omegas which are nourishing and calming as well as amino actid-rich peptides.
Dermalogica’s Barrier Repair has saved my skin on so many occasions (yes, a long time ago, before I knew better, I did get bad burns!). This will protect your skin and let it heal itself. If you have oily skin, breakouts or acne this may not be for you. It is a waterless moisturiser so it creates an occlusive shield over your skin which is a bad option for oily skin. For normal, combination or dry skin it is honestly amazing – it helps my skin heal faster, soothing and repairing the skin barrier. As I always say, a healthy skin barrier is healthy skin. This does contain Vitamin C & Vitamin E but it is not irritating as the concentration is not high enough to burn or sting, but strong enough to help combat free radicals while calming and de-stressing.
The other repair product I swear by is Zelens Z Recovery Intense Repair Balm – it’s lighter textured, so this is more suitable for oily/combination skin. Loaded with peptides, hyaluronic acid and antioxidants it is is a great option if you want to wear makeup on top.
Lay off using too much as the skin needs to calm down and overstimulating it by overusing product is counterproductive.
And if you’ve tried all of this and your skin feels like it’s burning or on fire, I suggest going to the pharmacy and getting yourself a hydrocortisone cream which will help reduce inflammation at a much stronger level.
This is in NO WAY a free pass to keep frying yourself in the sun – remember the damage the sun causes in cumulative, which means the skin will remember every burn and every kind of inflammation it has ever had. In the long term this is very serious; not just because of pigmentation and ageing but also skin cancer. You have one skin, just remember that! You can’t replace it. Look after it.
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