Natural Prevention and Remedies for Sunburns
Everybody loves a little fun in the sun around a backyard swimming pool. What nobody loves, however, is a painful sunburn. While sunscreen products offer effective protection from the sun’s harmful rays, and after-sun lotions can soothe a sunburn, there are other, non-chemical ways to increase your skin’s defenses and treat it if you do get burned.
Eat Your Way to Improved Protection
While we are not advocating going without sunblock, here are some nutritional approaches to sun protection you can experiment with to see if they give your body a self-defense boost.
Consume more lycopene. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that has a number of beneficial effects in the body. One of them is protecting cells from damage. Studies have shown that increasing lycopene in your diet can provide increased sun protection. The best food source for lycopene is tomatoes, with the cooked form such as pasta sauce actually delivering it in a form that’s easier for the body to use.
Drink green tea. Green tea contains a wide variety of antioxidants, some of which are believed to control inflammation and prevent DNA damage. Anecdotal evidence from healthy traditional cultures where green tea is a staple suggests that consuming more of it provides many health benefits.
Get more vitamin D. When exposed to sun, your skin produces vitamin D which increases your sun tolerance. So, gradually increasing your sun exposure can help your body protect itself. Consuming more vitamin D, which is found in small amounts in fatty fish, and fortified milk and cereal, certainly isn’t a bad idea either.
Beating the Burn
If despite your best efforts you end up with a sunburn, here are some natural ways to soothe your skin.
Apply potato. The starch compounds in potatoes will take the sting out of a sunburn. Slice a cool raw potato and hold the pieces against your most painful spots. You can also apply grated potato and hold it in place with a damp cloth.
Take an oatmeal bath. Oatmeal can provide powerful sunburn pain relief. Grind a cup of raw oatmeal in a food processor, add it to a bathtub of cool water, and soak.
Fat-free milk. Milk leaves a thin layer of protein on your skin that can help soothe a recent sunburn. Moisten a clean cloth with cool (but not cold) milk and apply as a compress for 15 minutes every 2-4 hours.
Don’t let sunburn limit your time in the swimming pool this summer. Protect your skin and quickly treat any burn that occurs with these and other great natural remedies.