Sun poisoning sounds like something that you should have plenty of time to stop before it can have a severe effect on you. However, it can sneak up on you when you're distracted by outdoor fun and games. You can also contract it during all four seasons, not just in the summer months. Many novice skiers discover that the sun can do just as much damage to the skin on your face in December on the slopes as it does to your back and shoulders in July on the beach.
What is Sun Poisoning?
Most people don't realize that a suntan is primarily the result of low-level radiation related to ultraviolet (UV) sun poisoning. A larger, more toxic dose of this type of radiation, commonly referred to as sunburn, can cause pain, redness, and blistering. Most people can avoid this by wearing some form of protection such as sunscreen, light clothing, or even a big hat. Having fair or light skin will also increase your chances for sun poisoning.
Some of the main signs and symptoms of sun poisoning include blistering, chills, fever, slight headache, skin is painful to the touch, skin radiating heat, redness, swelling, and tingling. You may also become dehydrated.
When to Seek Medical Care
If your condition has gone beyond sunburn, and you are experiencing any of the symptoms below, seek medical care immediately:
- Dark-colored urine (a sign of dehydration)
- An intense headache
- Muscle or abdominal cramping
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
This could indicate a medical emergency as these are the symptoms of heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion results in an increase in your core body temperature up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, resulting in dehydration. If left untreated, it can develop into heat stroke, which can shut down the body's cooling system and result in damage to the brain and other organs. Heat stroke is potentially fatal, so it's important to seek medical care for the above symptoms.
14 List of Home Remedies for Sun Poisoning
Moisturize your burnt skin
Coconut oil or milk
Home Remedies for Sun Poisoning
Assuming your condition is not that severe, here are some traditional home remedies that have proven useful for minor cases of sun poisoning or sunburn.
Note that this article is not meant to replace medical treatment in the event of severe sun poisoning. It is presented for information purposes only and not intended as a replacement for a doctor’s treatment if your sun poisoning is severe enough. Also, note that all of these treatments will not be effective in all cases.
Perhaps the most critical thing you can do to combat the damage done by sun poisoning is to stay hydrated. Part of the burning process involves the loss of moisture in the burnt area. So, drink plenty of fluids, especially those high in electrolytes, to re-hydrate your skin. This will go a long way to minimize the length of your condition as it speeds healing.
A cold compress is the quickest and easiest home remedy used to treat a sunburn. Simply dip a soft cloth into cold water and apply it to the burned area after squeezing out the excess water. Not only will it help temporarily relieve the pain and the itching but will also cool down the affected area. Note that you should never use ice or ice in a cloth for this remedy. It can cause more pain and promote blistering.
Moisturize your burnt skin
Along with internal hydration, it is equally essential to moisturize the area of the burn directly. Most of the remedies below will benefit you in this endeavor. While some are geared more toward pain relief, they will all help moisturize to some degree. With some home remedies, it's the moisturizing properties alone that help to relieve the pain.
When treating sun poisoning or most any type of burn, the first thing most people think of is aloe vera. Aside from its soothing properties, aloe vera also helps reduce the burning sensation and itch that will accompany your sunburn. It doesn't matter if you buy your aloe vera in bottles or if you have an aloe vera plant, the treatment is mostly the same.
If you have an aloe vera plant, you will need to extract the gel from the leaves. Simply cutting them and squeezing out the gel will do the job nicely. Apply the gel to the damaged area for at least 30 minutes and re-apply as often as necessary and especially just before going to sleep. Adding mint to the gel has also been known to aid burn relief.
Touted for years as one of the better home remedies for sunburn, you can use cold milk to reduce the burning sensation. It will also reduce the inflammation and the redness. Simply soak a cotton ball in the cold milk and apply it on the burned areas for at least 20 minutes. Rinse the area clean with fresh, cool (not cold) water.
Because of the anti-inflammatory properties of oatmeal, it can provide relief for sun poisoning. Also, oatmeal can hydrate the skin as well as fighting the itch of sunburn, which aids the overall healing process.
And oatmeal treatment can be one of the simplest. Just prepare a cool (not cold) bath and put an entire can of oatmeal (at least 30 ounces) in the tub and stir. You may also want to add a few drops of olive oil to the bath to help moisturize your skin. Soak and relax for as long as you like. Be sure to remove all the oatmeal from the tub before draining the water to avoid clogging the drain. You can also place the oatmeal in a nylon stocking tied off at the open end before putting it in the tub to make cleanup much quicker.
Calamine lotion helps relieve the burning and itching of the affected area. It does this by soothing and hydrating the skin. It is also beneficial in reducing the peeling associated with sunburn.
Cucumber has natural ingredients that will help you get rid of redness and the rash caused by sun poisoning. The cooling properties of Cucumbers may help your pain and discomfort. The most recommended method is to grate the cucumber and mix it with milk. After completing this, apply it liberally to burnt areas several times a day. Leave it on each time for at least 15 minutes, and then rinse with cool water.
Another home treatment that comes highly recommended to fight sun poisoning is baking soda. This is because skin damaged to the point of a sunburn loses its pH balance. Baking soda will help restore your skin’s pH balance as well as inhibit the burning sensation and irritation. Just fill a bathtub with warm (not hot) water and add one-half cup of baking soda. Stir thoroughly and then soak in the tub for at least 20 minutes. You can repeat this once a day until your skin has healed.
It may sound horrible, but it works very well. Mix two teaspoons of water and two teaspoons of vinegar in a cup or small bowl. Soak a cotton ball in the solution and apply liberally to the burnt area. Let it air dry on your skin naturally. This can be applied several times a day to relieve the burning.
Home remedies sometimes sound a little strange, but they are usually passed down from one generation to the next for one simple reason. They work! You may already be aware of the antibacterial properties of honey. These properties can help in minimizing the blistering associated with sun poisoning, but honey will also relieve the dryness and flaking of sunburn. Use organic, fresh honey, not a processed commercial brand for your treatment. Apply a thin layer to the burned areas and let it dry naturally. Use this treatment as often as you wish.
Both the peels and the juice will help you with your sunburn. The juice will absorb the heat, and the peels help cure burned skin. Just secure the potato peelings (with the peel side out) to your skin with a cotton cloth. To use only the juice, you will need to grate the potato and extract the juice. Use a soft cotton cloth or cotton balls to apply the juice to the burned area to help cool it.
Coconut oil or milk
Coconut oil is excellent for skin care and easy to use for sun poisoning if you follow these instructions. Apply the coconut oil to the affected regions to soothe the pain. Mash the coconut meat and apply it to your sunburned areas, including the face, arms, and shoulders. Coconut water is also useful when dabbed on the skin with a cotton ball.
Yogurt appears on the list of home remedies for sun poisoning because when applied to your burned skin, it helps to cool the skin and reduce the swelling. It can also help protect your burned skin from microbial infection. To apply, take an ample amount of plain yogurt and apply it to the sunburned skin. Let it sit for at least 20 minutes before washing it off with cool water. You can use it as often as you wish.
Some Cautions Before Using Home Remedies for Sun Poisoning
People may experience varying degrees of success with any specific home remedy. Hopefully, there will be one or more on this list that will bring you some measure of relief.
Feel free to try several of these home remedies, but be careful. When treating yourself or someone else, it's essential to be aware of allergies or other health conditions that will make one or more of these home remedies impractical. Be sure the person receiving the treatment is fully aware of and has agreed to all of its ingredients before applying to an already damaged area. You don’t want to make a bad situation worse.
What's your favorite home remedy for sunburns and sun poisoning? Do you have a favorite aftercare routine for sun exposures? If you have, share your comments about your remedies or other experiences below. This way, our readers will have a host of options when treating common health problems.