You’re So Red!
Last week my husband went on an annual trip with his “old” student friends. On his return (because, of course, we missed him so much…) the kids were waiting by the door to greet him with their banners, drawings, practiced dance routines, etc. When he eventually arrived home the children didn’t gave all their usual screams of joy. It was only our eldest, after a few minutes of silence, who dared to make the remark: “Papa you’re so red”. It turned out he’d spent a day on a sailing boat and hadn’t noticed anything due to the cold wind. Seriously burnt! After some harsh remarks (I write about the dangers of the sun daily, and this happens…) I did give him a few tips.
‘To do’ if your skin is red and sunburnt
Because ultimately it is best to take action in the first 12 – 24 hours ( the period when the burning is developing) there are a few useful measures you can take which I would like to share with you!
- Cool the skin down. You can do this by using a compress of milk mixed with water. The proteins in the milk help the skin to recover. Compresses of cooled down fresh green tea, or aloe vera extract can calm the skin down.
- You can take NSAID’s such as Ibuprofen, diclofenac, naproxen or aspirin until the redness goes. NSAID’s have an anti-inflammatory effect and help to reduce the red colour and heat.
- Stop the free radicals, that arise and can lead to skin cancer and premature ageing, by taking extra anti-oxidants. You can do this by drinking anti-oxidant rich drinks such as green tea and eating loads of fruit and vegetables, but you can also take vitamin tablets. After cooling it down, apply a cream with anti-oxidants. Avoid using greasy or oily creams as they retain the heat in the skin.
- Stay indoors. Even in the shade you still get a significant proportion of the UV rays on your skin and a white t-shirt only has an SPF 3.
(Dr. Jetske Ultee-Research Physician Cosmetic Dermatology)