Sunday, September 6, 2020

SUNBURN RELIEF COCKTAIL: Important TIPS & help for healing a sunburn—updated

So now you’ve done it—you’re showcasing a really bad sunburn. Your friends are calling you The Lobster because you fried your skin in the sun. While they may be chuckling at you (hopefully not!), 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.

If you’ve ever had sunburns you know how painful they can be, and a 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 this Sunburn Relief Cocktail can help.

Yes, that is me about 10 years ago
I have gotten some really bad sunburns in my lifetime. Mostly they occurred before I became an aesthetician but sometimes on a rare occasion, I could be found with a bad burn well into my 40s. 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 mountain hike (when I lived in Colorado). 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! On another mountain excursion, I missed a small spot on my arm when applying sunscreen and got a sunburn there. After using this cocktail, my skin never peeled and the red of the burn went away within a day.

The Sunburn Relief Cocktail is something easy to use, with products that are easy to find, that will give you relief immediately and throughout your sunburn to help heal your skin and keep it from flaking as time goes by.

The ingredients for the Sunburn Relief Cocktail are simple:
  1. Aloe vera gel
  2. Lavender essential oil
  3. Body cream, whichever one you currently use
That’s it. I’ll go into more detail about these items, especially the aloe, to help you understand why you want to include them in your sunburn relief concoction then I’ll give my recommendations for application.

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 alone as well as this cocktail will not be enough, and you will want to seek medical treatment. But for the average, milder type of sunburn, aloe vera gel along with the other two ingredients in your cocktail will give you instant relief.

You’ll want to find a product that is at least 95% aloe gel, although nowadays 100% aloe is easy to find. The higher the percentage, the less “other junk” will be in it. There are gels on the market with ingredients like allantoin (a soothing agent extracted from the herb, comfrey) and cucumber extract, which are both beneficial in calming sunburned skin. So not all additions to the gel are bad but if you see a lot of chemical names in the ingredient list, search for a more pure product. Aloe vera gel is not expensive, and it keeps for a long time if refrigerated.

Lavender essential oil will add healing and soothing properties to your sunburned skin. It will help take the burn out of the area as well as help the affected skin to heal. This essential oil is easy to find. However, you want to be sure you purchase pure essential oil of lavender—not lavendin or a blend—just 100% lavender essential oil. Just to note: here with lavender and anywhere I discuss essential oils, I use the following names interchangeably: lavender, lavender oil, lavender essential oil, essential oil of lavender.

As far as your body lotion, assuming you have one, unless it has a lot of perfume in it, I imagine just about any one will do. The point to using a cream in this cocktail is so there is an emollient covering over the burned skin, rather than only having the fast absorbing aloe gel there. With the lotion, all the ingredients will have a better chance of staying on the affected skin vs. the aloe (even mixed with lavender), which will quickly absorb and your skin will be left to dry out.

If you dont have a body moisturizing cream, you certainly can use a face cream although they usually are more expensive, so you make that choice. Body creams are easy to find and you can purchase something that is inexpensive. But do be sure to include a moisturizer in your Sunburn Relief Cocktail to insure your skin will be hydrated, not only from the aloe but from a cream as well.

If you are burned, you’ll want to start applying these products immediately and frequently. Here is what I recommend:
  • First, apply straight aloe gel to the sunburned areas. Be generous! Applying aloe vera gel is one time you don’t want to scrimp on product. Let that first application dry, which won’t take long since it’s a gel.
  • Next, apply a mixture of aloe vera gel along with several drops of lavender essential oil and whatever body cream you are using. Slather this on the affected area(s). The aloe vera helps with hydrating the skin and helping it heal faster; lavender takes the burn out of the overexposed skin and also soothes the area; the body cream keeps the lavender on the skin and also helps to hydrate at the same time. All of this will also help to keep the sunburned skin from peeling.

As soon as the Sunburn Relief Cocktail drys, I would reapply it. Or at least reapply it every 20 to 30 minutes for the first few hours and every hour or so after that for the first day of your burn. 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 the Sunburn Relief Cocktail  it can have a remarkable effect on a sunburn. 

I have to add this: Before I came up with this cocktail, I only used aloe vera gel on sunburns and still had amazing results as far as helping take the burn out as well as my skin not peeling. However, at some point I decided to try the other ingredients to super-power the aloe and found that incorporating all 3 items made the burn go away faster as well as helping the skin to stay hydrated. And because you’re using a moisturizer, you don’t have to apply the aloe gel as frequently since it doesn’t dry out due to the cream.

Don’t wait until you’ve become a lobster before getting these products at the store, and don’t forget to take them with you. Even hiking in the cool mountains can cause sunburn if your skin is overexposed. If you’re going on a vacation, or simply to the beach, put aloe, lavender, and body cream (perhaps a travel size) with you in your sunburn tool kit. You may not plan on being overexposed, but it happens so be prepared, and check out my Sunburn Preparedness Kit, too, for even more items to keep the burn away.

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