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The Best Ways To Deal With A Sunburn At Home, According To Dermatologists

If you're contending with a sunburn this summer, the experts are here to help with tips on how to take care of them.

Based on the intense heat and prevalence of iced coffee shots on Instagram feeds, it's safe to say that summer is here. Commonly a season for fun in the sun, this time of year also brings about an increased risk of sunburn. This proves especially true as more people take advantage of the great outdoors, looking to temporarily live their self-quarantine for some much-needed fresh air. There's nothing wrong with wanting to soak up the sun, but the experts are here to offer their advice on how best to avoid and treat any sunburns you encounter during summer 2020.

Lathering up with your favorite sunscreen is only the first step in ensuring you don't spend a portion of the next few months contending with reddened, peeling skin. Preparations for avoiding a possible burn should begin before you even step foot outside, but, even the most prepared of beach babes can encounter a missed spot or an unexpected burn. As tempting as it is to start peeling off that burned skin, you definitely want to think twice, because according to dermatologists, there are proper ways of treating your sunburn.

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How To Avoid Getting A Sunburn

With the right amount of precaution, sunburns don't have to become part of your summer plans. Get into the habit of applying sunscreen daily, even if your daily errands don't necessarily include a day at the beach. Don't forget to extend the lotion application to areas commonly forgotten areas including your nose, lips, and face.

For those that are planning on soaking up the sun, New York-based dermatologist Joshua Zeichner suggested looking for sunscreens that contain at least SPF 30, and he said to avoid spending time in the sunshine during peak hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Additionally, he suggested adjusting your wardrobe to the day's needs, pointing out that broad-brimmed hats, sunglasses, and clothing items can all help in keeping your body protected from intense, harmful rays.

How To Treat A Sunburn

Although a sunburn can look pretty gruesome, especially when your skin begins to peel, most burns can easily be treated at home. Zeichner said it's important to begin by cleansing the burn area, removing any leftover residue including sunscreen or dirt. However, cleansing doesn't mean intensive scrubbing. "Stick to a gentle, hydrating cleanser," Zeichner said. "Apply a soothing moisturizer to help restore skin hydration and repair the skin barrier. Look for skin soothing ingredients like aloe or oat extract."

In addition to applying product, Dr. Carl Thornfeldt, CEO and Founder of Episciences, Inc., suggested using a cold, cool compress to the affected area, taking an ice bath, and using calming and cooling topical products. "These steps should help reduce the progression of damage to a more severe class of burn," he said. If you do notice that your sunburn begins to severely blister or you're in serious pain, you should contact a trusted health professional.

What To Do About Sunburn Symptoms

Getting a sunburn shouldn't cause immediate worry, Thornfeldt said. But, if the pattern of burning continues, you may want to speak with a doctor. "A sunburn does create damage in the skin at a cellular level. Too much damage over time does lead to other skin issues, such as certain types of skin cancer and signs of aging including dark spots and wrinkles," he said.

With a sunburn, expect to experience some symptoms including peeling skin. Both Thornfeldt and Zeichner said it's important to leave the area alone, and avoid picking off the skin yourself. "If you develop any blisters, do not pop them because they protect raw skin beneath," Zeichner said. "If you have any open or raw skin, apply a topical antibiotic ointment like Bacitracin to that specific area to prevent infection. Take an anti-inflammatory medicine by mouth such as aspirin or ibuprofen. This will reduce inflammation from the inside out."

As your sunburn heals, it's also important to avoid exposing the area to renewed sunlight. The American Academy of Dermatology Association suggests wearing light fitting, tight-woven fabrics to protect the skin.