As the weather heats up, the risk of sunburn increases with it. Our Australian summers are notorious for raw, burned skin, especially if you have easy access to the beach! While prevention is always the safest option, we’ve all had those moments where it just sneaks up on you, and a healthy dose of Vitamin D turns painful.
If you do get sunburn, its important to remember to avoid any kind of chemical. Your skin is exposed and very vulnerable at this time, and needs all the help it can get to repair and fix the damage caused by the sun. Using chemicals on sensitive skin will only damage it further, and potentially cause long term complications. Luckily nature has provided us with the means to minimise pain and help rejuvenate your skin, all within easy access.
Although the obvious choice, aloe vera continues to top any after-sun skincare routine. It is a known vulnerary, (meaning it helps heal wounds) and is great for applying topically to burns, abrasions, psoriasis and even to bug bites. Aloe acts as an analgesic, acting to help relieve pain of wounds. Due to its high water content (over 99% water), it is a highly effective method to hydrate, moisturize and rejuvenate the skin, especially after sun damage. Aloe increases the elasticity of the skin making it more flexible through collagen and elastin repair, as well as actively working to help soften and soothe.
Aloe is best used straight from the source. The plants are easy to grow and maintain, allowing you to easily cut off a stalk and apply the gel straight onto your skin. If you don’t have access to a plant, you can buy commercial aloe gel. Just be careful that it doesn’t contain any preservatives or chemicals, as these can negate the benefits of the aloe.
We are strong believers in the ability to heal yourself from the inside out, and this carries through to skin damage! Sunburn dries out the skin, and can cause you to feel symptoms of dehydration. By drinking plenty of water, herbal tea and kombucha, you are giving your skin the boost it may need to repair damage and increase elasticity and softness.
Free radicals are created on the skin when the sun damages the cells. They attack protein, fats and DNA in our cells, and are responsible for many skin damage problems such as wrinkles, sagging and sun spots. The way to treat these are through antioxidants, which act as skin protectors and counteract the damage caused by free radicals. Found in plants, fruits and vegetables, using an antioxidant-rich creme on your sunburn will not only reduce discomfort, but actively repair skin cells for a renewed skin layer.
Full of nourishment and Vitamin E, coconut oil is the perfect treatment once your skin has had a few days to recuperate. While it doesn’t have the same healing levels as aloe or antioxidants, it is one of the most natural and beneficial methods to restore moisture to the skin. This will help to stop your skin from drying out and remaining raw, as the Vitamin E gently relieves you from cracking, redness and irritation.