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No matter how careful you are to slather on the sunscreen and to keep track of your time in the sun, chances are that eventually you will get a sunburn. Although incidents of sunburn actually peak in the early days of spring, when people aren't expecting to have a problem with sun exposure, by the time summer rolls around sunburn gets to be an issue for the whole family. Fortunately homemade sunburn remedies that really work are easy to make and easy to apply. Here are 10 of the best.
1. Cold milk compress.
The famed Egyptian Empress Cleopatra was said to bathe her sun-stressed skin in giant tubs of fresh milk, and even 2000 years ago, she was on to something. Milk is a natural source of lactic acid. It removes dead skin, and stimulates the activity of blood vessels just beneath the skin. Increased flow of blood helps to oxygenate and nourish the skin and carries heat away, cooling and soothing as it starts the healing process.
Pour some cold milk into a clean bowl, and dip a clean cloth in the milk. Apply to sunburned skin for 10 to 20 minutes, and then put the cloth through the laundry before reuse. Buttermilk works even better than regular milk, and whole milk works better than skim milk.
2. Take an Aspirin.
If you can take Aspirin, even an 81-mg baby Aspirin (or the larger, adult version) will relieve sunburn pain in two ways. The Aspirin relieves pain, and it also short-circuits the ongoing inflammatory process in your skin by stimulating the circulation of blood underneath the skin and stimulating the production of new skin cells. Ibuprofen and Tylenol relieve pain but don't do as much to rejuvenate the skin.
3. Slather on cold aloe vera gel.
Aloe vera is a plant anyone can grow and harvest for the healing sap. Just cut across a leaf and let the sap flow out. It is perfectly safe to apply to unbroken skin. Even better, keep a bottle of aloe vera gel on hand for skin care all the time in your refrigerator. The cool gel with soothe your skin, and complex carbohydrates in the aloe vera gel help the skin "knit" and fight infection.
4. Drink a glass of water.
When you're out in the sun long enough to get a sunburn, you are usually out in the sun long enough to get at least a little dehydrated. Drinking a glass of water when you come in with a sunburn will rehydrate your skin and help it stay just a little more supple and just a little less itchy later.