We all love summer -- the heat, the green foliage, the beach, and, of course, the sun. The sun is our friend -- there are no two thoughts about it.
It's rays provide us with warmth, light, and the much-needed vitamin D that is produced by the body when it absorbs the UV rays from the sunlight.
Too much of a good thing is not necessarily a good thing. The same goes with sunlight.
Long and intense exposure to UV light leads to an overwhelming production of melatonin -- the natural defense of the skin against dangerous light exposure.
While a moderate tan is something we aim for in summer, too much sun exposure can lead to sunburn.
Hard to feel until it is too late, sunburn is not only painful and aesthetically unpleasing but also dangerous to the health of the skin.
The sun dries skin excessively leaving it more vulnerable to other environmental factors like the wind and pollution.
Premature wrinkles are a very real risk of excessive sun exposure.
People who are more exposed to the sun tend to visually age faster due to decreased suppleness and moisture of the skin.
And lastly is the increased risk of skin melanoma.
While other factors are at play when it comes to oncological risk-factors, excessive UV-light is a great factor in determining the health of your skin.
If you have a light-colored skin, you are more prone to getting sunburns, and you have probably already found that out for yourself.
While a dark-skinned person may not burn instantly or burn mildly, the effects of the UV rays on their skin are no less pronounced in the long run.
It may happen that you accidentally burn after forgetting your sunscreen or simply stay out in the strong sun for too long.
Luckily, there are remedies you can apply after sun exposure to help the skin recover and maintain its good health.
Essential oils are one of the main remedies you can turn to.
Natural to the skin and free of chemicals, essential oils soothe, moisturize, and regenerate a skin that is burned.
Heal Your Skin After A Sunburn
A sunburn is essentially a damaging of the outer layer of the skin. The pain and inflammation must be treated as soon as possible.
Essential oils have an anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial effect on the skin.
The antioxidants found inside essential oils help prevent free-radical damage from sun exposure.
Dilute The Oils
Essential oils are super concentrated derivatives of the original plant. That is why applying them directly to the skin can cause irritation and burn.
To avoid this, always dilute the essential oils into a carrier oil.
Good carrier oils are coconut oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, and olive oil.
You can also use aloe vera as a base for your essential oils -- besides a good dilution, it will further soothe and moisturize burned skin.
Add a few drops of essential oil into the needed quality of carrier oil and adjust based on skin reaction to the dilution.
9 Best Essential Oils For Sunburn Relief
Essential oils are derived by distilling or extracting parts of plants. These could be the flowers, bark, roots, seeds, or the whole plant.
Because they are so concentrated, a single drop of essential oil holds a potent healing power of the original plant.
Most of the essential oils out there contain powerful substances like thymol and carvacrol that fight fungal, microbe, and bacterial infecting agents.
These compounds protect the skin from infections.
The antioxidants in the essential oils fight radical damage to the skin. Radical damage could occur due to environmental factors like the strong UV light.
Decreasing the effects of free radicals on the skin maintains its health, beauty, and elasticity in the long run.
The soothing qualities of essential oils relieve the pain, itchiness, and damage that is a result of a bad sunburn.
Going into the deep layers of the skin, the essential oils work on regenerating the skin layers and producing new, healthy cells.
Essential oils are the natural way to heal sunburns as quickly as possible and prevent damage to the skin in the long run.
Here are 9 essential oils that you can effectively use after a sunburn.
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender is the number one essential oil that you can use after a long sun exposure.
The quality of the lavender oil you use must be supreme without any additives to be effective.
Lavender is renowned for its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory effects on the skin. Lavender is so gentle on the skin that you can apply it without dilution in some instances.
Lavender oil cools the skin, regenerates old skin cells, and soothes any puffiness, soreness, and redness.
The antimicrobial effect of the essential oil helps your skin stay clean when it is healing and vulnerable after the sunburn.
Usage: A good way to use lavender oil is to add a few drops of it into aloe vera gel. Apply on burned areas.
You can also add 9-10 drops of lavender essential oil into a bathtub, and soak in it until the pain and stinging are soothed.
Sandalwood Essential Oil
Sandalwood essential oil is yet another oil that can cool down that sunburn with its heat-reducing properties.
Say goodbye to the burn, uneven tan, or potential germs that could be threatening your already vulnerable skin.
Because sunburn is so taxing on the age of your skin, this beautifully fragrant essential oil will add another benefit to your beauty routine - it's compounds are widely used to prevent skin aging and fine wrinkles.
Usage: 2 drops of sandalwood oil can be diluted into an ounce of coconut oil. Apply the mixture onto the affected area.
Besides the relief, the mixture will make your skin brighter and even out the tan in the burned area.
Frankincense Essential Oil
This is one of the purest essential oils out there. Therapeutic forms of frankincense oil are guaranteed to be tested for purity.
We all know what a sunburn feels like. Fortunately, frankincense essential oil nourishes the damaged skin and gives it back the luster you were intending for in the first place.
If you want something to relieve the pain fast, this essential oil is great at returning the moisture to the dry and suffering skin cells. The frankincense oil is used for the regeneration of new skin cells in order to speed up recovery.
Usage: Mix 2-3 drops of the oil into aloe vera gel. Apply the soothing mixture to damaged skin.
Peppermint Essential Oil
Do you know the cooling feeling of peppermint -- like the one that your toothpaste gives you?
There is nothing more relieving than the cooling feeling of peppermint oil on the burning and scorching sensation after a sunburn.
Peppermint is very potent, so it should be diluted before use.
The cooling and moisturizing effect of the oil will give you instant relief in time of pain.
Usage: 2 drops of the oil are added to 1 tsp of aloe vera gel. Mix well in order to fully dilute the peppermint oil. Gently apply on the burned area.
Helichrysum Essential Oil
While the name may be unfamiliar to many, the helichrysum essential oil is a great relief when it comes to the inflammation experienced after a sunburn.
Both the pain and itching after a burn can be obnoxious. Helichrysum speeds up recovery and aids you in both cases.
Usage: Add a few drops of helichrysum oil into coconut oil. Apply on damaged and painful areas.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus is a strong mint-smelling oil that is used to quickly alleviate the pain of sunburn.
Because sunburned skin is so vulnerable to outside factors, eucalyptus oil is great in preventing a potential infection after sunburning. The pain is effectively numbed down with this potent oil.
Usage: 2 drops of the oil are added to 1 tsp of aloe vera gel. Add a cup of water to the mixture. Use the concoction right before going to sleep.
You can also add 3-4 drops of eucalyptus oil in water, and then use the water to wash your skin with a towel or just rinse the burned area with this water.
Geranium Essential Oil
The geranium plant is one whose smell is associated with clarity and good health.
The stress-relieving oil is also a great remedy to make your skin feel supple and look great.
It's soothing properties will relieve the discomfort associated with a burned skin.
Geranium is the epitome of health itself - the regenerative properties of the oil are incomparable.
The healing process is significantly faster and painless with the application of geranium oil.
The cooling effect of this oil is great for a stressed out psyche just as it is for a stressed-out skin.
Use it to relax your mind and skin after the heat of the hot summer days.
Usage: 1-2 drops of the geranium oil are used to make your skin glow and heal after it has been burned by the sun.
You can also blend the oil with lavender, rosemary, basil, and grapefruit, or use different combinations of these oils.
Tea Tree Essential Oil
This universal essential oil has yet another use -- the relief and healing of a sunburn. The oil is useful when needing its antiseptic, antimicrobial, and anti-fungal properties for protecting a sunburned skin from further damage.
Usage: Use a small amount of the oil with a carrier oil like jojoba. Apply to the damaged area.
Chamomile Essential Oil
If you want a soothing and gentle experience from an essential oil, chamomile oil is the one to go to.
Chamomile oil is very soothing to the skin, and that is just what a burned skin needs.
The oil is also great for moisturizing the epidermis so that the healing process is speeded up.
Usage: Use 2-3 drops of chamomile oil into a carrier oil.
Apply on damaged areas. This oil is not recommended for pregnant women.
Mix Up Ingredients With Original Recipes
The minute the sunburn appears you have to curb the inflammation associated with it. Here are the recipes that you can use to treat the post-burn inflammation.
Dr. Axe has a homemade sunburn spray recipe that uses aloe vera, coconut oil, peppermint essential oil, and lavender essential oil. After combining all the ingredients, spray on the damaged area.
Dr. Shamban gives the following recipes using an essential oil of choice. The first variation is mixing 1 to 3 drops of oil into a teaspoon of aloe gel and adding it to a cup of water. Use a spray bottle to apply.
You can also use 1 to 2 drops of the oil with 2 tablespoons of carrier oil, and apply using a gentle massage on the burned area.
You can also add 2 to 3 drops of the oil into a teaspoon of aloe and a cup of oatmeal and use it in the bathtub.
How Long Does It Take For Your Sunburn To Heal?
The duration of the sunburn depends on how severe it is. Mild burns last from 3 to 5 days.
Moderate sunburns that are red, swollen, and hot will usually take a week to completely heal.
Severe burns may require a visit to the hospital or doctor and will require 2 weeks to heal completely.
What Factors Contribute To Sunburn?
Factors that contribute to sunburn are:
- A light skin skin
- Light hair and freckles
- Sun exposure at peak hours (between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.)
- High altitudes
- Thin ozone zones
- Geographical areas near to the equator
- Photosensitizing medication or creams
What Is Sun Poisoning?
Skin poisoning is another name given to a severe sunburn. The symptoms of sun poisoning are:
- Increased Pulse
- Nausea and/or vomiting
Other Conditions That Can Accompany A Sunburn
It is best to see a doctor if you have additional symptoms such as:
- A speeding heart
- Abnormal sense of thirst
- Lack of urination
- Nausea and vomiting
- Large areas with blisters
- Brain fog and confusion
- Pus, swelling, or tenderness to the blisters
These accompanying signs could be a symptom of dehydration, sun shock, or heat shock.
How To Prevent Sunburn From Happening
A good idea for preventing sunburn is avoiding exposure to the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun is at its peak.
Even if the day is cloudy, those hours should still be avoided.
Sunlight reflects off water and snow, so extra protection should be used when skiing, sailing, or swimming.
When going out in the strong sun, wear a loose and lightly woven clothing to prevent sun exposure, a wide hat to protect the face and neck, and sunscreen of SPF 15 or above
Culprits for Sunburn
The two culprits of your sunburn are the UVA and UVB rays of the light spectrum.
UVA rays are the long waves of light that penetrate the skin on a deeper level and influence it negatively over time.
UVB rays are the ones that burn the cells closer to the surface and make them turn red.
What about the itch?
A sunburn itches because the nerves found on the top layers of the skin cells are damaged. The nerves are activated, and you experience an itch.
You can soothe this itch with the given essential oils and combined recipes.
If the burn is very itchy and hard to handle, you can use a hydrocortisone cream on the burned spot.
For the pain, you can take ibuprofen and paracetamol to ease the sensation.
Wear loose clothing that does not further irritate the skin until it heals completely.
Final Thoughts On Essential Oils For Sunburn
Sunburn is uncomfortable and does not look appealing. The sunburn must be treated on time so that the long-term effects of it are minimized.
The Skin Cancer Foundation urges that everyone examine their skin regularly in order to catch a potential cancerous formation on time.
Preventing sunburn in the first place is the best way to keep skin healthy and well maintained.
Sun exposure, however, is important for the formation of the much-needed vitamin D.
Even with sunscreen, some people still get a sunburn. They can really utilize the beneficial effects of essential oils on burned skin areas.
Essential oils are the most natural cosmetic products you can find out there.
When you are sure of the quality of the oil, you can generously apply it in diluted form to your skin, and heal it quickly and effectively.
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