Welcome to your skin check-in with Life & Style’s resident health and beauty expert, Dr. Will Kirby, a celebrity dermatologist and Chief Medical Officer of LaserAway. Every week, he’ll be spilling his candid thoughts and professional advice on all things skin, beauty and wellness as it relates to you — and your favorite stars.
So, summer is finally here and it is a wonderful time to enjoy the great outdoors! You wore a seatbelt in the car on the way to the shore and you wore a helmet on the bike ride on the boardwalk, but you forgot one other important protective measure and you now are dealing with the results of way too much sun! Just in time for 4th of July weekend, I reached out to the nation’s leading aesthetic experts to find out the ten best ways that dermatology professionals treat a sunburn.
1) “The best treatment for sunburn is to prevent it from happening in the first place,” notes Dr. Sheila Chang Barbarino. “Wear sunscreen even on hazy, cloudy days. Remember to reapply sunscreen throughout the day especially when you have been swimming and exercising. And apply a thick coat — most people simply don’t use enough sunscreen. And bring three additional friends to the beach: A big hat, dark glasses and long sleeves!”
2) “After getting a sunburn, it is imperative that you immediately protect the skin from further sun exposure,” says Dr. Jeanette M. Black. “The concept of a sunburn becoming ‘base tan’ is a complete myth. Make sure to prevent further damage and keep the sunburned area completely out of the sun by staying in the shade or indoors!”
3) “I’m a huge fan of cool baths to alleviate the discomfort and some of the symptoms from sunburn,” notes Dr. Deanne Mraz Robinson. “A fifteen-minute soak in cool or even cold water followed by the gentle application of soothing baby oil will make a huge difference in the recovery from the overindulgence of too much sun.”
4) “Aspirin is a prostaglandin inhibitor, so taking two baby aspirin each day for three or so days as soon as you realize you have a sunburn might help minimize the symptoms,” regards Dr. Gaurav Bharti. “And make sure to take them with food so they don’t upset your stomach.”
5) “Stay hydrated,” states Dr. Annie Chiu. “A bad sunburn feels terrible, so patients often forget to tend to their basic needs and drinking more fluids after a burn is an imperative part of the recovery. Avoid beverages that dehydrate you (alcohol, colas and coffee/tea) and stick with drinks with electrolytes or just plain water.”
6) “Finely ground oatmeal (sold as colloidal oatmeal) has strong anti-inflammatory properties, making it effective at controlling inflammation and itchiness associated with sunburn,” remarks Dr. Michelle Henry. “Moreover, it can be especially soothing when treating ‘Hell’s Itch’, the rare, painful, unrelenting itch that can happen a few days after a bad sunburn.”
7) “Applying a coat of a petroleum-based product like Aquaphor or Vaseline will help quite a bit after getting too much sun,” says aesthetic nurse Corey Ordoyne. “You need to apply it very gently but copious amounts applied nightly until the redness goes away is always a strong consideration after getting a sunburn.
8) “If a petrolatum product is too thick and/or too greasy for daytime use, a more elegant formulation to consider is SkinMedica’s Rejuvenating Hydrator,” finds aesthetic nurse practitioner Morgan Wolf. “It supports the replenishment of the skin’s own hyaluronic acid to help provide continuous hydration.”
9) “It is best to not wash sunburnt skin with anything harsh,” says me, dermatologist Dr. Will Kirby. “So, use supreme caution when cleansing sensitive skin. A product I love because of its hydrating capability is Old Spice. It’s also okay to forgo soaps and body washes altogether for the first few days while nursing a sunburn.”
10) “If your sunburn is really bad you may want to see a dermatologist so that they can prescribe you a short course of oral or topical steroids to calm down the burn down and reduce the inflammation,” finds Dr. Tejas Desai. “If you are in pain, physically swollen or can’t sleep because of a sunburn then the over-the-counter options probably need to be supplemented by prescription medications”.
So, there you have it … the experts have spoken! Avoid getting sunburn at all costs and if you do get one, then follow these steps to alleviate the symptoms and get back to summer fun.