You know you shouldn't have, but you did. You got sunburned. And now you're
Here are a few tips from Dr. Latanya Benjamin, a pediatric
Use your head: At the first sign that you're burning — your skin is turning pink or feeling tender or well, like it's burning — get out of the sun. "This seems obvious," Takahashi says, "but you'd be surprised."
Cool down: Take a cool bath or shower, avoiding harsh soaps and making sure to pat — not rub — yourself dry. Applying cold compresses is also a good idea. The point is to take the heat out of your skin and reduce any possible swelling. Variations on these basics include adding oatmeal or milk to your bath water or making a compress with vinegar or green tea. But there is no scientific evidence that these extras give better results.
Rehydrate yourself, inside and out: When you get sunburned, you can also get dehydrated, so it's important to replenish your fluid supplies. One way is to drink plenty of water, perhaps fortified with electrolytes. But you should also moisturize your poor skin directly. First a warning: Petroleum jelly is not a good option. It holds heat in. Fortunately, you still have a few million products (give or take) to choose from. Unfortunately, there's little evidence as to which ones work best.
Aloe vera and topical steroid creams have their fans, but a 2005 study in the Journal of the Medical Assn. of Thailand found that 70% aloe vera cream was no better than a
All of the above is true for children too — and then some. They can burn faster than the rest of us and dehydrate faster too. "I tend to treat skin very carefully," pediatric specialist Benjamin says, "minimizing fancy products, minimizing topicals, focusing on hydration and
Ease the pain: If you're hurting, take an anti-inflammatory.
Follow a hands-off policy with
Consider seeing a doctor: If your pain or blistering is severe, especially if you have systemic symptoms (such as a
Stay out of the sun as much as possible: Not to be cruel, but, of course, that would have been a good idea before you got burned. No matter. Be sure to do it now — and from now on. Don't let this happen again.