You’re probably aware of the importance of vitamin D, and that proper sun exposure is the best way to keep your levels where they need to be.
Sunlight also offers many benefits beyond vitamin D production, including mood enhancement, benefits to skin diseases, melatonin regulation, protection against melanoma, and even changes in your circulatory system.
While skin cancer is certainly the most serious reason to never skimp on the SPF, long-term effects from sunburn also include premature aging. according to the American Acne Foundation, you need to make sure you always use SPF and acne creams when you leave the house and moisturize your skin when you can. You can also use an anti aging lotion like restora dream, which helps your skin and maintains it hydrated. Other signs of sun damage include brown spots, with Dr. Sobel noting that “if you have not been protecting your skin, sun damage can start to show up in your 20s.
The key to reaping all of sunlight’s benefits – and none of its wrath – lies in the dose. Start out with just a few minutes of sun exposure in early spring and note how your skin reacts over the next two to four hours.
What Happens When Your Skin Gets Sunburned
You’ve probably experienced a sunburn at some point in your life, but have you ever wondered what it actually does to your skin? When your skin takes on a pinkish tint as noted above, it’s known as the “minimal erythemal dose” (MED).1
David McDaniel, M.D., FAAD, director of the Institute of Anti-Aging Research and co-director of the Hampton University Skin Of Color Research Institute, told The Huffington Post:2
“Your skin is trying to put up little umbrellas, whether it’s freckles or a nice even tan… If you look at the pigment, it’s like a little umbrella over the DNA, trying to protect the DNA.”
If you stay in the sun too long, however, it will overtake your body’s protective mechanisms such that a burn occurs. This can be minor, affecting only the top epidermis layer of your skin, or more severe, reaching the second layer, or dermis. In addition to pink or red skin, your skin may feel hot to the touch, be painful and itchy, and may swell.
Blisters may also appear and may be accompanied by headache, fever, chills, and fatigue in severe cases. As part of the healing process, the top layer of damaged skin will peel off, and it can take several days or more for a bad sunburn to completely heal.
If you accidently spend too much time in the sun and end up with a sunburn, one of the most effective first-aid strategies I know of is to apply raw aloe vera gel topically to the burn. It’s loaded with powerful glyconutrients that accelerate healing.
Research has shown applying aloe to sunburn offers both anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects, likely due to its antioxidant components.3
Aloe is also easy to grow if you live in a southern location, and is an excellent medicinal plant to keep in your home garden (or keep one in a pot on your balcony). You need to be careful of the species, as many have very flat leaves with virtually no gel.
The best plants have the thickest leaves. If you don’t have your own plant, you may be able to find fresh whole aloe leaves at your local grocery store.
They are relatively easy to propagate and you can turn one plant into six or more in under a year. I now have about 300 aloe vera plants on my property, which I use both for oral and topical use.
After cutting the leaf from the plant, cut off the prickly edges. Then, using a peeler, peel the skin off one side. You can now rub the jelly side directly on your sunburn. For a demonstration, see the video above. Apply it five times a day until your condition improves. In addition to fresh aloe, you can try:4
Cold compress: Applying cold compresses to the sunburned area can help lessen the burning pain. Try soaking a soft cloth in milk or egg whites, as the proteins will help coat and calm the burn. Soaking the compress in green tea can help reduce inflammation.
Cool shower or bath: This will help you cool down, soothe your skin, and also remove any salt water, chlorine, or sand that could be irritating your skin.
Moisturize: Sunburned skin lacks moisture, so applying a natural moisturizer like coconut oil can help your skin immensely.
Stay hydrated: A sunburn can leave you dehydrated, so be sure to stay properly hydrated by drinking plenty of water, and also make sure to always take care of your skin with basic products such as a pore vacuum amazon. Young children, in particular, need to be carefully monitored for signs of dehydration.
Source: Scarborough Coast2Coast