Feel the burn...or don't











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You probably noticed that I'm terribly sunburned in these pictures. I thought about editing it out and having it be just a cute outfit post but since I'm really against "photoshopping" out "negative" things about my body (even though a sunburn isn't something I was born with), I decided to just go with it and share with you some of the revolutionary ways that I have learned to deal with a sunburn. 
Here's how it happened:
YES...I was wearing sunscreen. However, it was not capable of lasting through the ridiculously long nap that I accidentally took on the beach. I had never fallen asleep at the beach before, seriously. I definitely overestimated my poor, tired, Momma body's ability to fight the relaxing sound of the sea and the warming sun on my skin. As soon as I rolled over onto my belly I was out. Like...could have been dead. I fell asleep a pasty Irish girl and awoke a lobster. Not exactly the transformation every little girl dreams of. How about...fall asleep at the beach, wake up a mermaid!!! I like it. 
Anyway, I was very, very burnt. Also very rested, but burnt. I knew it was going to hurt like the dickens the next day, which was the day we flew home, and I did not want to sit on an airplane with a sunburn of that caliber. Sooo, I remembered a trick that a friend of mine had told me about and I tried it. It worked. Let me say that again...IT WORKED! Before I go further, *I am not a medical professional* These are home remedies that have worked for me but if you have a severe burn, see a doctor. Okay, moving on....being fair-skinned, I have had a few sunburns in my life, many of which were severe and I could tell this one was well on it's way to making the "Top 5" list. Before I share my "tricks" with you, I want to go ahead and state the obvious...the real goal is to never get sunburned in the first place. It's bad. Don't do it. Well, try really really hard not to. But, I know sooner or later you will probably forget to put sunscreen on (because you were so worried about making sure you put it on the kids...yeah that happened to me last month) and will end up a little pink. Or tomato red. In the unfortunate event that this happens to you...I suggest you try:

The Coffee Cooler
Yep, I'm going to give each of these cheesy captions because I'm bored and that's just who I am (I get it from my Daddy). Seriously though COFFEE. This is what my friend had mentioned to me a while back and I am so glad I tried it!
What it does:
It drastically reduces the severity of the burn, especially concerning the amount of pain you experience.
Why I love it:
It's very easy to do anywhere. By that I mean, just about every hotel room has coffee. I'm pretty sure every convenience store has coffee. Basically, you have access to this miracle worker almost everywhere, thus making it the most accessible option (and as I mentioned, it works!) In my experience, this is the method that works the best.
How it's done:
Make or buy a pot of coffee (or two depending on how much skin you need to cover). Let the coffee cool completely. If your sunburn is severe enough that you are struggling with getting chilled easily, causing shivering then I would suggest not using "cold" coffee but room temperature as causing your body to become chilled actually causes your temperature to rise, possibly making the sunburn worse. The best way to apply the coffee is to soak towels in the cooled coffee and then gently apply the towels to the sunburn. This WILL stain light colored towels. If you don't have towels available then you can pour the coffee over the sunburn but you will probably need more coffee. I suggest doing either method in the bathtub as it gets messy. I laid in the tub with coffee-soaked towels covering the back side of my body for about 15 minutes. Do not rinse off the coffee! Let the coffee dry on your skin and leave it on as long as possible before showering. 
The sooner you treat your sunburn with this method, the better chance you have of it working. I did it the day of, a few hours after my nap on the beach and while it didn't remove ALL of my pain, it improved DRASTICALLY. 

The Black Tea Burn Buster
I'm actually embarrassed that I typed that out. 
This is essentially the coffee method but with black tea.
What it does:
Helps a lot, but maybe not quite as well as the coffee.
Why I love it:
Doesn't smell as strong (if smelling like coffee is a problem) and it may not stain towels as badly. It is also fairly accessible, even while traveling.
How it's done:
Basically the same way that the coffee is done. I suggest two tea bags to every one cup of water. 
Make tea. Let cool. Soak towels. Wear towels/pour tea on sunburn. Don't rinse. Do as soon as possible after sun exposure.


The Oatmeal Itch Soother
Okay, maybe not quite as cheesy. 
What it does:
While it isn't as effective at relieving the pain of a sunburn, it does help with the discomfort that comes a few days post-burn and helps a lot with soothing the itch that comes from sun-damaged skin. Oatmeal has many benefits when it comes to skin and is great for a number of skin related issues. 
Why I love it:
It's perfect for that phase of "crap this still hurts, but it itches so bad, but it hurts to scratch it". Unless you can handle cool baths, don't do this right after you've been burned. I mean if a cold bath sounds good, go for it, but don't get into a warm bath with a sunburn...that isn't fun. This really is very soothing though once your burn has started to itch. You can find oatmeal baths any number of places. Many drugstores and stores that carry homeopathic remedies will sell them. In tough situations I have actually used Oatmeal baby cereal.
How it's done:
Purchase an oatmeal bath or oatmeal baby cereal. If using an "oatmeal bath" follow the directions on the package. If using baby cereal, then sprinkle a generous amount into a bath. Be sure the water temperature is comfortable and won't exacerbate your burn. Soak in the tub for at least 15 minutes. You can even apply the wet oatmeal cereal directly on the burn, just be gentle. Gently rinse off and pat dry with a towel.

The All-Known Aloe
I'm pretty sure everyone knows that aloe vera is good for a sunburn. It is true that it can be very soothing on a burn but it does not work as well as the coffee and tea (in my opinion).
What it does:
Aloe is naturally soothing and has many benefits beyond soothing a sunburn. It has a very cooling effect when put on a burn and it does help some with pain relief. 
Why I love it:
It's easy to transport. You can find it at just about any store and it's a piece of cake to pop in your bag and apply whenever necessary. Bonus points if you can put it in a fridge for an extra cooling solution.
How it's done:
You probably don't need me to explain how to administer aloe but what the heck. I prefer all natural aloe vera. If you have an aloe plant you can break off one of the stalks. When you do, it oozes a "gel". you can apply that gel directly to a sunburn. You can also purchase all natural, pure aloe gel. If that's not an option, lidocaine aloe does help. 
Gently smooth it onto sunburned skin and let dry.

Hopefully you are one of those people that don't need "sunburn remedies" because you never burn, but if not, I hope you try these options and that they help! Now when I travel I am sure to bring along some coffee/tea bags to brew or an oatmeal bath. Its easy to pack and more than worth it if you do end up burned!

*for those of you wondering*
using any of these methods WILL NOT cause you to lose any "tan" that will develop from sun exposure, only help alleviate pain, swelling and itching.

~Any tricks you love to relieve a painful sunburn?~