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Heal Your Sunburn the Natural Way

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Now that spring is in full bloom and summer is just around the corner, it's time again for some fun and sun. And while sunshine can be quite enjoyable, it can also wreak havoc on your skin and can potentially cause a pretty nasty sunburn.

Not only do sunburns hurt but they cause a great deal of damage to your skin that can be potentially long lasting and dangerous. According to Mothernature.com the redness of a sunburn is caused by clogged and swollen capillaries that supply blood to the skin. Severe sunburns are caused by ultraviolet rays in sunlight which can destroy elastic fibers in the skin causing sagging, wrinkling and can also lead to skin cancer.

Prevention is always best. In order to prevent sunburns, try heading outdoors before 10 a.m. or after 2 p.m. when the ultraviolet rays are less intense. And always wear sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher.

If it's too late and the damage has already been done, you may also want to try some of these ways to heal your sunburn naturally: Use Vitamin E- While there are plenty of sunburn remedies that you can buy over-the-counter, just look in your cabinet for any lotion that contains vitamin E and aloe vera. The vitamin E and aloe vera add nutrients back into the skin that the UV rays have left unbalanced. The aloe vera also gives the cooling effect that is much needed for that sunburn.

An Oatmeal Bath- Found on MSNBC.com take a lukewarm bath with 1 cup added ground oatmeal (grind it with a mortar and pestle; instant oatmeal works fine), 1 cup whole milk, 2 tablespoons honey, and 2 tablespoons aloe vera gel. Oatmeal is anti-inflammatory, honey is antiseptic, milk's proteins and fats soothe skin, and aloe numbs pain. Afterward, moisturize with a cream containing hydrating shea butter and aloe.

Soothing Foods- Check the kitchen cupboard and the refrigerator. Items like vinegar, mustard, yogurt, tomatoes and avocados all contain extra vitamin E and will help to relieve the burn just as any cream or lotion would.

Oils- Try Lavender Essential Oil. When used in conjunction with aloe vera, the oil helps to promote new skin growth and heals first degree burns.

Opt for Green Tea- Green tea is perfect for reducing the swelling of the skin associated with sunburns, as well as taking out the sting of the burn. To make the green tea compress, bring a pot of tea to boil then pour it over 1 teaspoon of loose green tea. Cover and let it sit for 5 minutes and then mix with an equal amount of cold water. Once the mixture is cooled, soak a clean cloth in it and put it on the sunburned skin for five to ten minutes. This can be applied several times a day.

Milk- Found on Mothernature.com the fat content of milk is soothing, so milk makes a great compress for sunburn pain, says John F. Romano, M.D. clinical assistant professor of dermatology at Cornell Medical Center in New York City. His instructions: Dip some gauze in whole milk and apply it to sunburned areas for about 20 minutes, repeating this process every two to four hours. Be sure to wash off the milk to avoid having your skin smell sour.

Baking Soda- A baking soda bath is great for soothing a sunburn. Add one cup of baking soda to a tub filled with lukewarm (94° to 98°F) water and soak for 30 minutes to an hour, using a cup to pour the water over any part of the body that isn't submerged in the bath. Pat dry. Cool down- Take a cool bath with 1 cup of black tea and 1 cup of apple cider vinegar to the bath water. The black tea helps to reduce the swelling and the apple cider vinegar helps to soothe the pain.

Whatever natural method you decide to go with to treat your next sunburn, be sure to treat the burn right away. Prolonging the treatment of the burn will only prolong the agony of the pain, so take care of your burn on day one.