Burn Notice: How to Recover From Too Much Fun in the Sun

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Cosmetics Cop Paula Begoun and the Paula’s Choice Research Team provide research based tips on how to treat sunburn and help skin recover faster.

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Any way you cut it, sunburn leaves misery in its wake both short and long term.

Whether it’s the summer season or just a warm weather vacation, enjoying long days in the sun without the right protection can bring on a painful sunburn, as well as long term damage. Most often the culprit is forgetting to slather on SPF before going outside, not reapplying sunscreen after sweating or swimming for two hours or not wearing protective clothing. Any way you cut it, sunburn leaves misery in its wake both short and long term.

When sunburn does happen, knowing how to safely cool it down is the best way to recover fast and with the least amount of damage. Cosmetics Cop Paula Begoun and the Paula’s Choice Research Team are putting out the burn notice with research based tips on how to treat sunburn and help skin recover faster.

  •     Get out of the sun, fast! As soon as someone notices their skin starting to turn pink or feel warm to the touch, it’s time to head indoors and away from those harmful UVA and UVB rays. That pink skin is a sure sign that damage is already being done and about to get worse, so take cover.
  •     Play it cool. Cool down the burn as soon as possible as cooling dissipates the heat building in the lower layers of skin, which reduces inflammation that leads to that lovely lobster-red look and the ensuing damage. Use cold, damp compresses or bags of ice covered in a towel, and keep applying on and off for at least an hour, but even longer depending on the severity of the burn. Do not put ice directly on skin! If ice is too cold on the skin it can do damage of its own.
  •     Soothe the skin. Apply pure aloe vera gel or a similar lightweight moisturizer that contains healing ingredients. Consider taking ibuprofen to reduce the inflammation caused by sunburn.
  •     Take things seriously. The term “sunburn” isn’t just a figure of speech. Skin damage caused by too much sun is a literal burn, and should be taken just as seriously as a burn inflicted by fire or chemicals. If severe symptoms like a fever, chills, disorientation, or blistering start to show up, head to the doctor as soon as possible.
  •     Know what not to do. Don’t cover sunburns in thick balms or greasy ointments (or worst of all, butter!). These textures will only trap heat below the surface of the skin and increase the burn, causing more damage. Don’t immerse in a tub of water or shower for too long, as too much water inhibits skin’s healing process. And don’t apply overly fragrant moisturizers, which can also interfere with healing. Product Tip: Most “after-sun” moisturizers are highly fragrant and should be avoided. Choose a lightweight, fragrance-free body lotion instead, such as CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion ($12.99 for 12 fl. oz.).
  •     Learn from the burn. Make sure to apply SPF religiously over sunburned skin to ensure the damage doesn’t get worse. Remember the next time fun in the sun is on the agenda to be more diligent about sun protection. It’s much better to slather on sunscreen throughout the day than to have to deal with the pain, hassle, and the potential deadly future effects of a bad burn.
  •     It’s not just about sunscreen! According to Cosmetic Cop Paula Begoun, “As helpful as sunscreen is, it’s not a bulletproof shield against sunburn and other types of sun damage.” That means it’s necessary to take other sun smart precautions such as wearing protective clothing, broad-brimmed hats, wraparound sunglasses, and seeking shade whenever possible. Brands such as Coolibar, Columbia Sportswear, Land’s End, and Solumbra sell clothing with built-in UV protection for men, women, and kids.

For additional product recommendations, please visit CosmeticsCop.com.

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Led by best-selling author and beauty expert Paula Begoun, the Paula’s Choice Research Team evaluates and reviews hundreds of skin-care and makeup products, in books such as Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me as well as online at CosmeticsCop.com. Combining cosmetics industry knowledge and expertise, Paula and her team have developed the Paula’s Choice line of state-of-the-art formulations based on reliable, published skin-care research. Products include skin-care, makeup, body and hair-care products, beauty tools, and accessories. All products are fragrance-free, cruelty free, and environmentally friendly.

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