What is the best treatment for sunburn? If you can relate to this question, then you have landed in the right place. This article will highlight some of the best ways to treat sunburn related symptoms including blisters, pain, and swelling. We have also included numerous natural treatment approaches for sunburn.
Best Treatment for Sunburn – What Is the Best Treatment for Sunburn
It is very hard to plainly state what the best treatment for sunburn is because treatment usually involves a combination of various options that are unanimously aimed at keeping the skin cool and moisturized while soothing the symptoms and promoting faster healing.
With that in mind, the following interventions constitute an ideal (or should I just say the best) treatment regimen for sunburn.
Cool compresses: The simplicity of cold compresses makes it very easy to weight down their effectiveness, but they are easily the best sunburn treatment.
Moisturize: Moisturizing the skin perhaps comes second in as far as the best treatment for sunburn is concerned.
Aloe vera: Research has shown that aloe vera has strong anti-inflammatory properties that are very helpful to burns, including sunburn. Aloe vera gel (or fresh juice form aloe vera plant leaves) helps to moisturize the skin, soothe it, and speed up its healing.
Topical steroidal cream: Applying 1% hydrocortisone cream is recommended if sunburn has left the affected area of skin swollen. In case of facial sunburns, you should take care to ensure that the cream doesn’t find its way into your eyes.
Pain relievers: sunburn pain often responds well to over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and acetaminophen. We have discussed this treatment option in more details in another section of this article.
Best Treatment for Sunburn on Face
And then there is the common question, “What is the best treatment for sunburn on face?” Well, it is rather tricky to say what the best treatment for facial sunburn is but there are generally three goals to a sunburn treatment regimen. These are cooling, moisturizing, and symptoms relief (and enhancement of healing).
Cool compresses, moisturizing with water based moisturizing lotions and creams, and applying aloe vera could easily make it for the best sunburn treatment on face, but soothing the sunburn with oatmeal bath, anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g. ibuprofen or aspirin) also take centre stage in as far as treatment of sunburned face.
Rather than picking out one treatment option, I would recommend adopting a regime comprising of several treatment options from the above list, ensuring that you incorporate all the three goals of treatment: cooling, moisturizing, and relieving of symptoms.
Best Treatment for Severe Sunburn
The other day one of our readers sent us an email asking, “I have severe sunburn that is badly swollen. What is the best sunburn treatment approach for my specific case?’
Well, let’s start by defining a severe burn and putting a line between what can be treated at home and what warrants immediate attention of your doctor.
Severe sunburn is commonly associated with symptoms such as swelling and formation of blisters in addition to the common symptoms of sunburn including redness, dryness, pain, and the skin feeling warm to touch.
The best treatment regime for severe sunburn should draw its options from cool compresses, moisturizing (with water based lotion), aloe vera, anti-inflammatory medicines e.g. aspirin, 1% hydrocortisone cream, and natural remedies such as oatmeal or baking soda bath (for itching sunburn), cucumber, milk, and tea rinse.
As for blisters keeping them intact is recommended, but if they break on their own, get an over-the-counter antibiotic cream. We have talked about blisters in more details in another section of this article.
If your sunburn is however accompanied by symptoms such as fever, chills, nausea, general malaise (feeling weak), and pus discharge, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Best Treatment for Sunburn Blisters
Sunburn blisters are unsightly and pesky, I agree, and might leave you wondering, “What is the best treatment option available to get rid of them faster?” Well, the best treatment for sunburn blistering is to leave them intact.
If that sounds like no treatment at all, then you are right. Blisters dry and heal on their own if not disturbed so don’t ever give in to the temptation to break them, no matter how much attention they seem to draw from curious onlookers.
If blisters however accidentally burst, maybe while you sleep, applying an antibiotic cream e.g. Polysporin or Bacitracin is usually recommended. You may also want to take anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin), Acetaminophen (Tylenol) etc to relieve any pain. These drugs are usually sold over-the-counter in most local drugstores (pharmacies).
Watch out for symptoms of infection such as pus discharge, fever, and chills. Of such symptoms appear, then your case warrants medical attention from your doctor or any other qualified medical professional.
Best Treatment for Bad Sunburn
For the sake of this article we’ll define bad sunburn as one associated with not only the common symptoms of sunburn (redness, pain, swelling, and the skin feeling warm to touch), but also fever, chills, nausea, malaise (feeling weak).
Bad sunburn – as described above- must be treated by your doctor or any other qualified medical practitioner.
Best Product for Sunburn Pain
Pain is a common symptom of sunburn. The question then arises, what is the best product for sunburn pain? Well, anti-inflammatory medications are your best bet and these include:
- Ibuprofen – sold over the counter as Advil or Motrin
- Acetaminophen – sold as Tylenol
- Aspirin – sold as Bayern
- Naproxen – sold as Aleve or Naprosyn
There is however numerous points that you need to keep in mind when weighing your options:
- Aspirin is not recommended for use in children as it can lead to a fatal, rare condition known as Reye’s syndrome.
- Only acetaminophen is recommended for use by pregnant women according to the WebMD website. This is thus your only option for pain relief if you get sunburn while pregnant unless instructed otherwise by your doctor.
Aloe vera can also help to soother the skin.
Best Way to Treat Sunburn Naturally
If you are in the league of the health-minded people and prefer to reserve chemical treatments as the last resort, you will delight to see how much natural most of the treatment options discussed in a previous section are including cool compresses and aloe vera.
A combination of cool compresses and aloe vera easily comprise the best way to treat sunburn naturally, but the following natural treatment options can help to take your treatment regime further and enhance faster healing:
- Take an oatmeal bath to soothe itching and promote faster healing. Oatmeal bath can easily rival aloe vera for the title of “best way to treat sunburn naturally” especially with regards to itching
- Cut raw potato into two and apply its juice on the sunburned area
- Adding 2 cups of baking soda to your bathing water to reduce itching and inflammation
- Mix chamomile with lukewarm water and rinse your sunburned skin with it
- Prepare a pot of tea and allow it to cool before rinsing your skin with it. The tannin in it helps to dissipate heat from the skin
- Rinse your sunburned skin with milk
- Avoid further exposure to UV rays from the sun or other sources such as tanning beds
- Drink plenty of water
- Observe proper nutrition by taking lots of lean meat, fruits and vegetables