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22 Sep 2016
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How to Treat a Sunburn

Nobody ever means to get sunburned, but sometimes it happens. While there’s no miracle-cure for sunburn, there are ways to treat sunburn that will help to prevent lasting damage and to make you more comfortable while the burn heals.

Nothing spoils a fun beach vacation faster than sunburn. Sunburn is fatiguing and can be downright painful. While most people are good at remembering to slather on sunblock when they’re playing in the surf and sand of 30A beaches, many forget that they can get sunburned while riding a bicycle up and down the streets of 30A or while kayaking around the Coastal Dune Lakes. While prevention is always the best when it comes to sunburn, there are still things you can do that will help your sunburn feel better and heal more quickly.

Soothe Sunburn

The first think to do when you get burned is to get out of the sun. Next, soothe the burn. Use raw apple cider vinegar or a non-alcoholic aloe vera gel. Both the vinegar and the refreshing gel will help take the heat out of the sunburn. It’s important to use an aloe vera gel that has no alcohol in it because the alcohol will dry your skin out making it more likely to peel.

A short, cool bath or shower is also great for soothing sunburn. Make sure it’s a short bath or shower because too much time in the water will dry your skin out even more. Pat your clean skin mostly-dry with a towel afterward.

Moisturize Damp Skin with Lotion

After a short cool bath or shower, slather Shea butter or another non-petroleum or non-oil-based lotion onto your still-damp skin. Make sure that the lotion is non-petroleum and non-oil-based because according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, these lotion bases will trap heat in your skin and will make the burn worse. The moisturizing properties of an appropriate lotion will invigorate your skin and help it heal. Reapply lotion often. Depending on the severity of your sunburn, you might wake up the next morning without any obvious sign of skin damage (i.e., blistering or extreme redness).

Protecting Sun-Damaged Skin

Of course, whether your skin the day after getting sunburned is still store and visibly damaged or if it looks normal and nicely tanned, you should proceed with caution especially if your beach vacation plans have you engaging in outdoor activities. Here are a few tips:


Slather on the UVA & UVB sunblock


Wear a hat and sunglasses to protect your face and head


Cover your skin with pants and sleeves when outdoors (especially during peak sun hours)


Drink lots of water to stay well hydrated. Sunburn pulls fluids from your body to the burn, so you’re more likely to dehydrate if you’re sunburned.


Take aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen (Aleve) to help manage any pain and swelling symptomatic of sunburn.

Avoid Making Sunburn Worse

Obviously, if possible, when treating your sunburn, avoid going into the sun all together. If your sunburn blisters, which is indicative of second-degree burns, resist the urge to scratch or pop the blisters because this can cause infection.

Recognizing when a Sunburn Needs Professional Attention

Sometimes, sunburns can be so intense that they need medical attention. If your sunburn causes severe blistering, high fever, headache, chills, confusion, nausea, loss of consciousness, or a rapid pulse, these are signs of sun poisoning, which means it’s time to head to the doctor. Signs of infection from blistering (red streaks) should also be addressed by a medical professional.

Ideally, your fun time in the sun won’t involve any kind of sunburn, but just in case, plan ahead and have your vacation home stocked with sunblock, aloe, pain relievers, and moisturizing lotion. That way, you’ll be prepared to prevent and to treat sunburn if it happens.

30A Cottages and Concierge




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Obviously, sunburn is never part of anyone’s vacation plans, which is why our concierge services are available 24/7 to help get our guests what they need to avoid sunburn or to treat it if it happens. Contact 30A Cottage & Concierge to find out more about our vacation rentals and concierge services.