As a laser spa, there is one thing we take very seriously and it is exposure to the sun. We have already established that you should limit as much as possible direct sunlight prior and after your laser hair removal session. You can undergo laser hair removal in summer but it will require more care and attention. Indeed, laser hair removal leaves the skin more sensitive to sun damage, so better protect it. That is why we so much recommend to apply sunscreen. However, nobody is infallible and we get than sometimes, you may need help with taking care of sunburn skin.
Flash news, everybody is vulnerable to the sun and may have to care for sunburn skin. If you have a very sensitive skin, you may be even more at risk of sun damage. And of course, if you are going through a treatment of laser hair removal, you need to be careful. Protection against the sun is crucial, even more so in summer. However, we get that sometimes, we can slip up.
For example, you are spending the afternoon outside, strolling in the city. You may have put on sunscreen before leaving, but after a few hours, you need to apply some. Oops, you forgot to bring the bottle with you. Or it is possible that a cloudy sky made you confident and you forgot about the risks. Just so you know, UV rays can go through clouds and hits you regardless. Protection at all times.
But again, no one is infallible. So here are our top tips to help you take care of sunburn skin. Should you need it.
1. Remove yourself from the sun
When you feel your skin burning, step out of the sun’s reach. If you are outside, find some shade. If you have a cardigan with you, put it on gently. A lot of people go back out in the sun after getting a sunburn. A little bit of pink here and there may seem harmless. However, it is a sign that your body is sending you. You are being vulnerable to the sun and the next burn may be much worse.
Of course, it does not mean you have to stay indoors. Especially if you are on holiday. It just means you have to be more careful. Apply sunscreen every two hours, more often if you swim. Cover yourself up with a hat and tee-shirt if you are on a walk. If you just sit on the beach, stay under the parasol. You need to cover your skin so that it does not get anymore damaged.
Avoid sun peak hours, between noon and three in the afternoon. It is when the sun is the strongest and most likely to deliver unwanted gifts. Prolonged exposure to the sun may lead to sunburn skin but also sunstroke.
2. Hydration is key
A sunburn is an inflammation of the skin. It is not called a burn for nothing. The UV light will cause inflammation similar to what you might get from a thermal burn from the oven. Sunburn are classified as a first-degree burn which causes mild pain and redness. A sunburn only affects the outer layer of the skin. However, more severe sunburns classify as higher degree burns.
Sunburn skin is skin that is dehydrated. The inflammation removed water. That is why it is so important to hydrate the skin and help repair the skin barrier as quickly as possible. The easiest way to do that is from the outside-in. Thus, you will need to apply a moisturizer that will help soothe the skin, calm the burn and hydrate.
Aloe vera, hyaluronic acid, coconut oil, jojoba oil are usually recommended as they have great hydrating and moisturizing properties and can really help sooth sunburn skin faster.
It is also important to hydrate from the inside-out as it can help treat sunburn skin. A sunburn draws fluids to the skin’s surface away from the rest of the body. Your skin is thirsty. You need to drink plenty of water to compensate. On usual days, people tend to forget to drink water. Dehydration comes faster in summer and it is thus important to stay alert.
3. Decrease swelling
Here again, you can treat a sunburn from the inside-out as well as outside-in.
While it may not sound like the most pleasant thing to do, it is still a good idea to take a cool shower. A cool shower or ice bath may help cool you down and alleviate some of the pain and burning sensation you may be feeling. In the coming days, avoid very hot showers as the heat may increase the pain. A cool bath spiked with some milk may also help as milk proteins calm the skin.
As mentioned above, you can apply moisturizing lotions that will help calm the outer layer of the skin. Aloe vera is very often considered a “fix-all” solution but sunburn skin needs a more robust mix of ingredients to improve quickly.
You can also treat a sunburn by reducing inflammation from the inside-out. Popping an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pill (like Advil), can help reduce swelling and redness, plus help you deal with any pain. However, it is better to not rely too much on such drugs.
4. Avoid tight clothes
Prioritize loose and comfortable clothing while nursing a sunburn. While tight garments are cute and sexy, they are not the best when you have sunburn skin. They can actually increase pain and become irritating.
If you have blisters (making your sunburn a second-degree burn), the chaffing may burst those. While they need to be left alone and intact to help heal the skin. Do not touch nor peel the skin. Leave it as it is or you may also risk infections.
5. Avoid future sun damage
A sunburn may heal and go away within a few days. However, it does not mean your skin is ready to take on more sun. Indeed, the free-radical damage done by UV rays is forever. UV light promotes the production of free radicals. Those harm collagen and elastin, as well as damage the DNA of your skin cells.
This damage is what causes early aging effects and ups risk of skin cancer. You can’t undo exposure, however anti-oxidant can help minimize the harmful effects.
The best treatment remains prevention, meaning you must be careful prior to getting in the sun. Do not leave the house without applying sunscreen. Choose a strong SPF and physical sunblock for the best protection. Remember to have a small bottle in your bag so that you may re-apply as your day goes on if you are out.
If you feel your skin heating up, listen to your body. It is a sign that you may be getting a sunburn so better remove yourself from the sun before the damage is done.
You can avoid sunburns by protecting yourself against the sun. However, no one is infallible and we may all slip up. After you get a sunburn, remove yourself from the sun. Apply a moisturizing, calming lotion and drink a lot of water. Do not touch sunburn skin and leave it be.