How do I treat sunburn, how long does it take to heal and how do you ease the pain?

BRITS need to be careful when basking in the sunshine in order to avoid sunburn.

As temperatures continue to rise, we've pulled together everything you need to know if you get burnt.

How do I get rid of sunburn?

Prevention is the best protection, so always apply an in-date sunscreen with an appropriate SPF when you're in the sun, staying indoors between peak hours.

Failing that, there are a number of ways to treat and get rid of sunburn.

First, soothe the skin by running cool – but not ice cold – water over it and applying Aloe Vera gel (or after sun)  over it to rehydrate and boost skin renewal.

Applying alternative methods such as natural yoghurt or Vitamin E cream – an antioxidant which helps decrease inflammation – can also help dry, burnt and sore spots.

How do I treat the itch and the pain?

Sunburned skin itches because sunburns are a result of damage to the top layer of skin, which contains a number of nerve fibres responsible for the itchy sensation.

When UV rays damage this layer, it causes these nerves to activate, which makes you experience an increased amount of itchiness.

Natural remedies to ease itchiness and pain include taking a bath with baking soda, apple cider vinegar or oatmeal which all help to balance your skin's pH.

A hydrocortisone cream from a pharmacy can also help ease the burning, itching and swelling, but speak to a pharmacist about the best cream to treat your sunburn.

If your burn is really painful, you can take ibuprofen and paracetamol to ease it – following the directions on the packet – but if you have a severe sunburn with blistering, swelling and a fever, speak to a GP for treatment.

While healing from sunburn, it is advisable to wear loose clothes with natural fibres to not aggravate it.

How long does sunburn take to heal?

How long your sunburn lasts depends on its severity, whether you have fair or light skin, where in the world you are and if you're more susceptible to burns.

Mild sunburns with redness and some pain can last anywhere from three to five days with some peeling as the skin regenerates.

Moderate sunburns which are red, swollen, and hot to the touch can take up to a week to heal completely, also with some peeling.

But severe sunburns with blistering and very red skin can take up to two weeks to recover, often involving a trip to the doctor or hospital.

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