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Going out into the sun to have a little fun outdoors is a commonplace thing when occasion and the season calls for it. Unfortunately, some individuals who possess very sensitive skin may find that their short stint outdoors can result in unfortunate minor discomforts. Sunburn is a very common thing to get during summer, especially if you find yourself out on the beach or the fields for the majority of the day. While a sunburn is nothing to be afraid about, severe cases of sunburn may be very uncomfortable. If left untreated, it may even result in grave problems such as skin cancer. Most people opt for synthetic sunblock lotions and painkillers to treat sunburn, but there are some great natural ways to remedy the problem even at the comfort of your own home. Here are ten great ways to treat sunburn at home with things that you can find even in your own pantry or cupboard:
1. Honey – honey is an excellent emollient and healing salve, long employed since ancient times to heal skin. Applying honey to burnt, injured, or sunburnt skin not only helps to soothe the injury, but the natural antimicrobial agents found in honey help to stave off infection and hasten healing. Honey may prove to be difficult and somewhat messy to apply, so while it can be employed as a salve as-is, you may opt to dilute the honey to facilitate faster and easier application.
2. Calendula oil – calendula oil is an excellent remedy for burns and skin injuries. Employed by old-school herbalists to treat everything from burns to wounds, applying calendula oil to the affected area not only hastens healing, but simultaneously softens and nourishes skin. Calendula oil is best used for very sensitive or delicate sunburnt areas, such as the facial areas. Calendula oil is also best employed even well-after the recovery of the sunburnt area, in order to nourish the skin and help in the conditioning and rejuvenation of the damaged areas, thus preventing uneven skin tone, darkening, localised redness, and other problems that arise after a sunburn has healed.
3. Marshmallow root – a strong decoction of marshmallow root, allowed to cool and employed as a rinse to the affected area helps to provide a cooling and soothing effect. Marshmallow root is also known to hasten the healing of topical injuries, making it an excellent remedy for sunburn, especially when applied to large affected areas.
4. Peppermint – whether employed in oil form (the essential oil itself) or as a decoction, peppermint soothes the skin and facilitates cooling. Its natural antimicrobial properties help to prevent infection and hasten healing, while its mild analgesic properties help to relieve discomfort. When employed in oil form, it is best applied (diluted in a base oil) to small areas, such as on the face. Decoctions are better employed as washes or rinses for larger affected areas.
5. Ginger root – a decoction of ginger root applied to the affected area helps to relieve localised pain and hasten healing by increasing the blood-flow to the affected area. Ginger’s powerful analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties help to lessen the discomfort. It is bestapplied to large affected areas. For very painful sunburn, a poultice of peeled and crushed ginger gently rubbed or sponged unto the affected areas should provide fast and ready relief from pain. It should be noted that you must never rub ginger root directly onto the affected area, as it may cause allergic reactions arising from the sensitive state of the skin. As it is, encasing the crushed root (if employing it as a poultice) in cheesecloth, linen, or cotton kerchiefs should make for a soft poultice bag that should not irritate the skin or exacerbate the condition.
6. Corn starch – minor sunburn that cause mild or minimal discomforts can be remedies by a quick dusting of cornstarch. Cornstarch helps to absorb the skin moisture and sweat, preventing discomfort caused by the skin acid’s reaction with the injured skin. Cornstarch also creates a thin film of dryness, allowing your skin to recover faster. Only use corn-starch sparingly however, and opt for other remedies if your sunburn shows signs of blistering or lesions.
7. Yoghurt – when applied topically to the affected area, yoghurt helps to provide much needed relief for moderate to severe sunburn. The lactose found in yoghurt not only helps to nourish the skin and help hasten healing, but the live microbes found in the substance may help to encourage the regeneration of skin, as well as prevent infection. For a more soothing remedy, cool the yoghurt in your chiller or ice box prior to application.
8. Potatoes – believe it or not, potatoes have long been considered an excellent remedy for skin injuries such as burns and sunburn. To employ said remedy, you may either boil and mash potatoes, and apply the mashed substance to the affected area, or otherwise blend raw potatoes in a food processor and apply the substance to the affected area – both of which elicit the same effect. To increase its therapeutic properties, you may opt to add chilled milk or yoghurt.
9. Shea butter – shea butter is a well-known remedy for many skin problems. Often employed as a salve, it is prized for its emollient, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and humectant properties, and makes for an excellent remedy for sunburn, both moderate and severe. When employed for severe sunburn, application may prove to be difficult due to the solid state of shea butter. Softening it via heating it with the use of a double boiler should allow for faster, easier, and more comfortable application.
10. Baths and soaks – one of the most overlooked remedies for moderate and severe cases of sunburn is a well-deserved bath or soak. Bathing in cool water should help to relieve the localised pain. Adding small amounts of vinegar, baking soda, or essential oils such as that of lavender, peppermint, rose, or clove for soaks not only allows for the hastening of healing, but also encourages the faster regeneration of skin while at the same time, staving off infection.
Remedying sunburn need not be difficult or expensive, nor should you always resort to synthetic substances to help soothe the discomfort associated with a very minor topical problem, when there are a myriad of ways to treat it right at the comfort of your own home. Employing any of the remedies given above, or mixing them to suit your various needs all help to make sunburn less of a fearful problem and more of a minor and perfectly manageable occurrence.
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