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Skin care tips: 5 things to avoid while treating a sunburn

Whether you like it or not, it's difficult to avoid the sun. That's why everyone pushes for including sunscreen in skin care. But if you end up sunburnt during summer, there are certain things that you should avoid.
Woman with sunburn on her back
Treating a sunburn needs care and caution. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Natalia Ningthoujam Published: 7 May 2023, 10:30 am IST
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We all know that sunscreen is one skin care product that shouldn’t be ignored. But there are times when you may forget to apply it or to reapply it after a few hours. It can ultimately lead to your skin getting sunburnt. Yes, sunburn makes your skin hot when you touch it. But should you put ice packs on the affected area to cool it down? Read on to know about the things that can you should avoid after getting sunburn.

Health Shots connected with Delhi-based dermatologist and hair transplant surgeon Dr Navnit Haror to know about sunburn.

Sunburn results from too much sun exposure. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What is sunburn?

It is an aggravated skin condition for which you can blame the sun. Yes, excessive exposure to the sun can make your skin inflamed, says the expert. It can be painful or make you feel sore. It can feel hot to touch and even make your skin flake or peel a few days after you get sunburn.

Things not to put on sunburn

The parts exposed to the sun will be greatly affected in case of sunburn. But not all, as parts covered by hats, sunglasses, gloves or long sleeved tops will be saved. With sunburn, the skin gets aggravated, so there are a few things that can make sunburn worse. Here’s what to avoid:

1. Do not use petroleum jelly

Petroleum jelly is great for dry skin as it helps to make skin soft. But it also tends to block skin pores, says Dr Haror. When that happens, heat and sweat cannot escape and this will cause infections.

2. Stay away from ice packs

Ice packs are often used to cool us down and they seem to be perfect for summer. But they inhibit moisture formation and dry the skin, and dryness can add on to the pain.

3. Do not pop any blisters

If you pop blisters caused by sunburn, it may slow down healing and damage your skin further. You shouldn’t even scratch or peel skin as there can be chances of scarring or infection, says the expert.

4. Do not wear tight fitting clothes

When you have sunburnt skin, you must avoid wearing clothes that stick to your skin. Tight clothes over a sunburnt area will just be painful, irritate your skin and will trap heat. All this will make the healing process slower. Besides it will aggravate the condition, causing extreme discomfort. So, say no to tight leather pants or body-hugging outfits during sunburn.

5. Do not treat sunburn with products that end with “-caine”

Some use products like benzocaine for self-treatment in times of sunburn. But it should be avoided as these may irritate the skin or even cause an allergic reaction, says Dr Haror.

Follow dos and don’ts during sunburn. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Tips to treat sunburn

You can take measures to prevent sunburn or find some relief, but it may take days for sunburn to fade.

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Here are some helpful self-care measures –

• Stay indoors in a cool environment.
• Take frequent cool baths or showers to get some relief from the pain caused by the sunburn.
• The moment you get out of the bathroom, pat yourself dry in a gentle manner, but leave some water on your skin.
• Apply a moisturiser to help trap the water in your skin after a bath. This can help ease the dryness.
• Use a moisturiser that contains aloe vera to help soothe sunburned skin.
• If there is a particular area that feels very uncomfortable, you can apply a hydrocortisone cream.
• When you get a sunburn, it draws fluid to the skin’s surface and away from the rest of the body. So drinking extra water when you are sunburnt, helps to prevent dehydration.

Even after following the dos and don’ts of sunburn treatment, you still feel sore or the symptoms don’t fade away, consult a doctor.

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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