Thursday, July 6, 2017

Help for healing a sunburn

Yes, that is me about 10 years ago :+0
Regarding this photo of sunburned me: It just goes to show you that even when you know better, you don’t always do better. I was on a long hike. I had a long-sleeved shirt to throw on, and for whatever the reason(s), I didn’t. And I paid the priceobviously. But I did take a photo to show you that even the smartest people can do dumb things!

The burn. So now you’ve done it. Your friends are calling you The Lobster because you fried your skin in the sun. While they’re chuckling at you, you are really in pain. It’s like lying on a stove top with the burners on. You’re a piece of toast that stayed a bit too long in the toaster. You’re overdone.

Sunburn can bring with it some serious side effects. Because you have just damaged a large section of skin, your body has been signaled to flood the area with fluids to help begin the repairing process. This will cause slight to acute swelling or edema. It will make your skin feel tight and even more painful as the fluids stretch out your burned and sensitive skin. I want to emphasize the importance of the following advice. It has saved me and many clients from a lot of pain. I hope you never get burned, but if it happens I hope the following information can help.

If you have been overexposed (at all) to the sun, start putting aloe vera gel all over the effected area immediately and continually. Aloe vera is 99% water, 1% protein. The water helps to replace the fluids that have been lost through sun exposure; the protein helps to rebuild damaged tissue. Aloe is a contact healer, meaning it starts to heal on contact. In cases of severe burns, aloe vera will not be enough, and you will want to seek medical treatment. But for the average, milder type of sunburn, aloe vera gel can do wonders. Don’t wait until you’ve become a lobster before getting this product at the store, and don’t forget to take it with you on vacations. Even hiking in the cool mountains can cause sunburn if your skin is overexposed.

Aloe vera products and pure 100% gel can usually be found at most health food stores. There are gels on the market with ingredients like allantoin (a soothing agent extracted from the herb, comfrey) and cucumber extract. These ingredients are both beneficial in calming sunburned skin. Aloe vera gel is not terribly expensive, and it keeps for an eternity if refrigerated. It has many uses, but it is especially good for sunburns. I recommend a gel that is at least 95% aloe vera. Anything less will have too many other ingredients in it you don’t want. However, 100% aloe is best and is now easy to find just about anywhere.

If you are burned, you’ll need to start applying aloe immediately and frequently. Because it’s a gel, it will dry fairly quickly, and you will probably go through quite a bit of it.  As soon as it drys, I would reapply it. Or at least reapply it every 15 to 20 minutes for the first few hours and every hour after that for the first 24 hours. I have recommended this course of action to many clients over the years as well as using it for my own overexposure. If you keep applying aloe gel, it can have a remarkable effect on a sunburn.

For added healing and soothing properties, add several drops of lavender essential oil to the aloe gel, then simply smooth over your skin. Lavender will help take the burn out of the area as well as helping the affected skin to heal.

For more information, see