General Question

kayysamm's avatar

What are the best things to treat sun burn ?

Asked by kayysamm (435points) June 9th, 2009

I fall asleep on the bech yesterday for a pretty good amount of time. My whole body, front and back, is completely covered in sunburn. The back of my knees are raw, so is my ass and my face looks like a red balloon.

does anyone know some good ways to treat this other then aloe?, because ive been caking that on.

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20 Answers

dynamicduo's avatar

Nothing beyond aloe vera cream has ever worked for me. In the past I’ve used a product offered by the mail order company Avon (more of a pale tan cream with aloe vera in it), but in recent times I’ve used this green goop aloe vera gel and I much prefer it, it makes my burn feel cold and chilly.

You’ll also want to drink lots of water, you probably got a bit dehydrated in the sun, and drinking water never hurts.

Next time, set your cellphone alarm as a backup if you’re taking a nap… sunburns/tanning lead to a higher risk of skin cancer, so it’s not really a habit you want to get into.

MrGV's avatar

Aloe vera (I used the plant itself), drink a lot of water, and avoid sunlight for a few days.

mcbealer's avatar

Gigi after wax cooling gel which you can find at any beauty supply store, the menthol-aloe-cucumber extract combinations will alleviate and moisturize your skin. You can also speed regeneration of skin by taking vitamin C, and as @MrGeneVan and @dynamicduo noted, stay hydrated.

SirBailey's avatar

How bad is it? Do you have blisters? Were you able to sleep?

Last time I went to Disney I spent a very short while with my back and shoulders exposed to the sun while in Typhoon Lagoon.

For the rest of my vacation, I wanted to DIE! The blisters and pain were torture. Could not lay down. But I was able to get some stuff in the hotel. They’re used to that sort of thing in Florida.

To this day, I have the freckles.

Lve's avatar

I have heard that yogurt and/or slices of cucumber on sunburned skin will take away the burning sensation (I have never tried this myself though). Also, a cold, wet towel can really make your skin feel better.
And of course, as mentioned before, keep the affected skin areas out of the sun for a few days and drink enough water.

calvinette's avatar

These are all very good answers, and useful, as I myself am pasty of skin and prone to sunburn. However, I do have one question, if it’s not too personal… how did you manage to fall asleep and get burned on both sides? Did you fall asleep on your back, wake up, flip over, then fall asleep again? Or did you flip over and fall asleep, not realizing the previously-exposed side was already burned? I agree with the cell phone alarm suggestion.

There is also a gadget my husband uses, who is even whiter than I am. You input your base skin type (how prone you are to sunburns), the level of sunscreen you are wearing and start a timer. It beeps when it’s time for you to get out of the sun. I used to use it when gardening in Texas. It was hard to distinguish between getting work-tired and heat exhaustion, and that little gadget helped me take breaks to stay hydrated as well. Some of those personal UV monitors can get expensive, though.

MissAusten's avatar

I almost asked this same question the other day—we spent Sunday at the beach, and even though I put sunscreen on, I got a sunburn on one side of each leg. I think I must have been too quick with the spray-on sunscreen and just missed large areas because I didn’t get even slightly pink anywhere else. The aloe helps, but when I get up in the morning I can barely walk. :( No blisters though, thank goodness. I haven’t had a sunburn for so long, I forgot what torture it is. Hope you feel better soon!

Jack79's avatar

Toothpaste for some reason, keep the skin moist (either just water or even better cream) and be patient. Try not to scratch, even though it will peel off anyway.

Incidentally your skin works like a battery, collecting the sunbeams and continuing the chemical process even after you’ve gone in the shade. That’s something most people don’t realise, and they stay out in the sun too long, thinking that “when I feel my skin burning, all I have to do is leave”. When you feel your skin burning it’s far too late, because it will keep roasting for another hour. Imagine an oven where you’re not allowed to take the food out, but have to calculate when to turn off the oven. You’d have to turn it off several minutes (probably even an hour) before the meat is done.

susanc's avatar

In Bali I was taught to lay slices of ripe papaya on burns. It seemed icky, but it totally worked. Try that.

kevbo's avatar

I burn like a mofo, obviously. What has worked best for me is to just apply layer upon layer of aloe. Let one layer dry and start with the next. I’ve always been pretty happy with the results. Things seem to go back to normal within a day or so.

Likeradar's avatar

Original Noxema can be helpful on a sunburn.

Do a spot-test though. It works great on me, but a friend had a terrible reaction once.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

If it’s not to painful to rub your skin then make a paste from a handful of 100% aspirins and water, add a blob of lotion to it and rub that over. Some of the redness, sting and swelling will ease off a bit. Also soak in tepid bath water, your body is a sponge and will re hydrate, plump up and the burned skin will slough off faster.

TheNimrod's avatar

It might be too late, but taking a bath with like a 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (white could work too, i’ve only used the apple cider one) will help an amazing amount, it will stop it from continuing to burn. I do this and it helps a lot with the pain, then i apply aloe so it can heal faster and i don’t get that peeling.

euphoria's avatar

I find once its done its done, best you can do is use some aftersun and cooling lotions, i prefer to suggest avoid getting burned in the first place, use protection, even on overcast days, in the future you will be glad if you do.

cak's avatar

@MissAusten I bought the spray-on kind, as well. I’ve learned not to do it fast and try to overlap. If not, just spray it into your hand and apply it like normal. That’s what I did with my son today – they had beach day at school, it was hot and sunny. No burn, thank goodness.

Aloe, some kind of OTC pain relief (may help with swelling and some of the pain!), drinking water are the only things I know to do. If you are blistered, it’s a pretty severe burn, whatever you do…do not break the blisters! Do not peel your skin – when or if, it starts peeling. Stay covered up, when exposed to the sun in the next few days and make sure you apply a good sunscreen to your skin before you go outside! I leave a bottle by the door, no one goes outside without it, in my house!

MissAusten's avatar

@cak Yeah, apparently I can do it right when I put it on the kids, but not when I apply it to myself. They also have my husband’s skin tone, so even with the sunscreen they have tan lines by the end of summer. Lucky little boogers!

cak's avatar

@MissAusten Isn’t that always the story! I think the first year I used the spray on stuff, I burned in some areas, I missed spots. Yeeeouch!

YARNLADY's avatar

My dermatologist suggested Cetaphil moisturizing cream for my burn.

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