Summer season is almost here for individuals residing in the Northern Hemisphere. Most kids get three months free of school, the desire to travel peaks, and warmer weather and longer days are the norm. With all of this renewed activity comes greater exposure to the sun’s UV rays and the risk of sunburn that accompanies it.
What are sunburns?
Sunburns are a type of skin burn resulting from too much exposure to the ultraviolet (UV) radiation, most commonly from the sun. The characteristic symptoms include skin redness, pain, itching, swelling, and skin that feels hot or warm to the touch. More sever sunburns may include blisters, headache, nausea, fever, and fatigue. Any part of your body that is exposed to the sun—including your lips and eyes—can burn.
Types of UV rays
There are two types of ultraviolet light: Ultraviolet A (UVA) and Ultraviolet B (UVB). UVA is mostly associated with skin aging (photoaging); whereas UVB is responsible for sunburn. Both types of UV rays can increase the risk of skin cancer. Indeed, research suggests that experiencing five or more sunburns before the age of 20 can double your risk of skin cancer.
Soothing minor sunburn naturally
Prevention of sunburn is best by limiting exposure to UV rays but if you experience a minor sunburn essential oils and natural botanicals can help. Here are six essential oils and botanicals to soothe your skin after overexposure to UV rays.
- Lavender essential oil. Collagen is the main structural protein in the skin. It rejuvenates the skin by repairing damage and keeping the skin tight. Preclinical research shows that lavender essential oil stimulates the production of collagen. Fibroblasts are skin cells that are vital to forming a new layer of skin after injury. The same research showed that lavender essential oil stimulates the development of fibroblasts to form specific functions. Both of these benefits of lavender essential oil suggest it can help the skin repair and rejuvenate after overexposure to UV rays.
- Peppermint essential oil. Peppermint essential oil serves a triple purpose for minor sunburns. It is cooling to the skin, helps relieve pain, and reduces skin itching. Scientists have observed that when applied topically, peppermint oil stimulates cold receptors on the skin and dilates blood vessels, which causes a cooling sensation and reduced pain at the site of application.
- Roman chamomile essential oil. Preliminary research shows that topical application of Roman chamomile essential oil reduces inflammation of the skin.
- Aloe vera. A time-honored and proven solution for minor sunburns, aloe vera aids normal skin healing processes after sunburn. In addition, it is moisturizing and has its own pain-relieving properties.
- Coconut oil. Rich in saturated fat, coconut oil helps the skin retain moisture. It is soothing to irritated skin and can help relieve minor itching.
- Witch hazel. Containing antioxidants, witch hazel protects against sunburn damage to skin cells and photoaging caused by sun exposure. Its tannin content also reduces swelling and tones tissues. Be sure to get an alcohol-free witch hazel extract for greatest benefits.
The final word
While each of the above botanicals is a great option alone, combined they form a dynamic grouping of soothing solutions. Protect yourself from too much sun but if you stay out in the sun longer than you meant to you have options to rejuvenate the skin naturally.