Sunburn not only causes discomfort and pain but can potentially leave lasting damage. Virgin coconut oil can help relieve sunburn and promote faster healing of the skin. However, there are things that you should consider first before applying coconut oil to your sunburned skin.
Sunburned skin can benefit from virgin coconut oil, thanks to its natural fatty acids, including linoleic acid and lauric acid, and other properties that aid in hydrating, reducing redness, relieving itchiness, and fighting infection, hence, promote faster healing.
However, experts do not recommend applying coconut oil on a fresh sunburn. Coconut oil can trap heat on the skin's surface, which can increase inflammation and make the skin feel hot, thus, making the sunburn worse. So, you have to wait until the sunburn subsides before using coconut oil.
Once you notice sunburn, cool it down immediately. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends taking a quick dip in a cold pool, lake, or ocean to cool the skin. Do it only for a few seconds and then get out of the sun quickly. You can then apply cold compresses or take a quick cold shower or bath.
Then apply a gentle moisturizer while the skin is still damp. Aloe vera is also safe to use to soothe mild burns, but avoid petroleum or oil-based lotion. To avoid skin irritation, wear only loose and breathable clothing, and stay out of the sun in the meantime.
You also need to keep yourself hydrated and keep applying cool compresses during the healing process. You may take non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory medications to help with the discomfort and ease inflammation.
A sunburn can subside in a few hours to two days. To know when it is already safe to use coconut oil, you just need to place your hand gently on your skin and feel it if it is still overly warm. If the skin has cooled down, then it is time to let coconut oil help your skin heal faster. Just remember not to apply it if you have blistered skin and use only cold-pressed, organic coconut oil.
If you still want to add moisture to your skin, you may use light cream after applying the coconut oil. Again, do not overdo it so your skin can still breathe. The coconut oil application should help stimulate the repair process and nourish the skin as it heals.
If you have severe blistering occurring over a large portion of your body and or experiencing fever and chills and feeling dizzy or confused, then immediately seek a doctor. Also, never scratch or pop your blisters as it can lead to serious infections.
The best way to avoid the discomfort and possible health risks associated with sunburn is to protect your skin. Cancer.Net recommends applying at least one ounce of sunscreen daily, even when it is cloudy, 15 to 30 minutes before going outside. Also, if you are swimming or sweating, reapply the sunscreen every two hours and make sure to use water resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more.
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