It’s that time of year again— summertime! Unfortunately, chances are that if you go out in the sun unprotected, you will get a sun-burn and it's never fun; you'll definitley need to know how to treat a sunburn. Sunburn is caused by the sun’s UV rays which are wavelengths of sunlight too short for humans to see.  Reoccurring sunburns can cause permanent skin damage, early aging of the skin, and eventually skin cancer. 

It is extremely important to make an effort to protect your skin, but if you do end up getting burn, you can soothe it by following these tips:

1)    Take an OTC pain medication
Nonprescription medications, like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen and aspirin are all good choices for relieving pain from sunburn. 

2)    Apply aloe vera gel or lotion 

Applying something to soothe your skin several times a day will help relieve pain and keep your skin moist.  Use a non-scented product to avoid skin irritation and avoid heavy creams the require rubbing the skin a lot. 

3)    Use hydrocortisone creams
 
OTC hydrocortisone creams will help relieve inflammation and irritation that results from sunburn.  Use this instead of benzocaine or lidocaine, which are products that can irritate your skin. 

4)    Apply ice
 
This is a great at home remedy that comes from your own freezer.  Wrap ice or another frozen product in a damp towel for fast relief. 

5)    Take a bath 
Certain food items, including oatmeal, cornstarch, or baking soda, can be added to bath water to bring your skin temperature down.  You can also add vinegar to the bath (about 250 mL) to relieve pain. 

Most of these tips are convenient for you to utilize in your own home; it is likely that you have some sort of pain reliever in your medicine cabinet and have ice in your freezer.  But what happens when the burn begins to blister and is painful to the touch? 

Here are some tips for how to treat a severe sunburn:

1)    Bandage the burned area
 
If sunburned areas hurt when clothing touches then, loosely bandage the skin with a layer of gauze. 

2)    Wear lightweight clothing
 
Wearing heavier clothing can irritate the burn, causing more pain. 

3)    Seek medical attention 
Extensive blistering from sunburn is never healthy, so it’s important for you to see a doctor to rule out infection and other problems.  Also, if your sunburn is taking a long time to heal, you may want to get further medical assistance.

Hopefully, by following all of these tips on how to treat a sunburn, you will have as pleasant an experience as possible. And remember… wear sunscreen next time!