The long weekend is coming up, and that means a final vacation before school starts again. This is when people forget about sunscreen in their last efforts to enjoy the summer, and when that fateful sunburn scalds your cheeks, this post will help you through!
The first day, when you initially get the burn, it's so important to start caring for you skin ASAP. First step is to apply burn gel, one that's aloe vera based is best. This will cool the skin and ease the pain of the burn, while still hydrating and not blocking pores or irritating your skin. If you are a green-thumb type who grows Aloe plants, crack open a leaf and rub the liquid directly onto your skin.
It's really important to start this before the burn hits its full intensity. Hydrating as the burn develops will make it less painful and help to stop some of the damage.
This is when your skin really feels the pain of being burnt. My advice is to stay out of the sun as much as possible. If you're outside, wear a hat. Keep that burnt and damaged skin away from further damage.
The other thing you should do is moisturize. A LOT. I use The Body Shop's Vitamin E cream, and apply it every 2 hours or so to hydrate and soothe the skin. It's really light, so it doesn't block your pores or leave a layer on your skin.
Avoid face makeup, especially foundation. I would recommend using ONLY a thin layer of mineral powder if you want to mattify your skin.
It's still really important to cleanse, but at this point you should use a creamy cleanser without exfoliants in it to gently clean while hydrating.
Days 2-4 are all about hydration. Keep your skin hydrated and the effects of the burn won't be as bad.
At this point, your face may or may not be starting to peel. Sometimes I can stave off the peeling if I'm careful through days 2 and 4, or if the burn isn't as severe, but sometimes there's nothing you can do.
When I start to peel, I incorporate tea tree oil back into my skin care routine because it's a natural AHA (but it initially really hurts if you apply it on a sunburn). If I apply it before bed, my skin isn't as peel-prone in the morning.
For cleanser, I'll start to use something with a little bit of a physical exfoliant as well. The Olay cleanser is great for this, because it's creamy and hydrating but it still gently exfoliates your skin.
As always, make sure you are moisturizing. You can stop applying moisturizer every few hours, but make sure you apply int he morning, and then apply a thick layer of moisturizer at night. I also carry around a moisturizer with me, just in case my skin feels dry during the day.
Post- Day 7
Usually after 7 days my skin has returned to a relatively normal state. If there's a lot of peeling, but the burn doesn't hurt any more, I'll use my cleansing system to really remove that dead skin and get my face fresh again, but I pair it with a creamy cleanser so my skin doesn't end up dry and stripped.
Just generally after you burn, you should drink a lot of water. Through sweating, you've lost a lot anyway and if your body is properly hydrated your skin can repair itself more easily.
Try to wear sunscreen, and reapply every 2 hours. The best thing to do is PREVENT a burn, not deal with treating it. Apply your sunscreen 30 minutes before you go outside, and reapply every 2 hours. SPF 30 is the generally accepted SPF that you should be using. If you don't like sunscreen because it blocks your pores or makes you skin sticky, try baby sunscreen. It's lighter and less likely to clog your pores or feel sticky on your skin.
Putting a cold, damp towel on your skin can soothe really painful burns. This is better for burns on other parts of your body, but it also works for facial burns. You can also soak in a cool bath.
Most of these tips will prevent your skin from blistering, but if it does DO NOT POP THEM! Leave any and all sun burn blisters alone to heal themselves!
Stay safe this long weekend buys, and PLEASE protect your skin! This post exists to help, but I'd prefer if you all just took care of your skin and prevented getting burnt instead!