It’s summer and while you may associate that with summer dresses, holidays and endless outdoor fun, don't forget about the increased risk of sunburn (even if you’re in the rainy UK like us!).
The sun’s warm embrace is tempting, but its harmful UV rays can cause skin damage which can lead to sunburn. This leaves your skin red, sore and tender. As well as this, it can cause dehydration inside the body, which will impact your general wellbeing. While prevention is key, Ayurveda has many remedies to nurse your sun-kissed skin back to health.
What is Sunburn?
Ayurveda views sunburn as an imbalance in the Pitta dosha, which represents fire and heat in the body. This excess heat in the body caused by prolonged sun exposure can disrupt the balance leading to skin irritation, redness and inflammation, also known as sunburn.
Factors that Increase Risk of Sunburn
We all know we are more likely to be at risk of sunburn if you are spending a lot of time outside and not wearing suncream, but there are some other factors that increase your risk that you may not know about.
Wet Skin is More Likely to Get Burnt than Dry Skin
Going for a swim to cool off in the hot sun seems like the logical thing to do, but having wet skin can increase your chances of burning. This is because you are less likely to be aware your skin is burning as it has cooled down from the water. Swimming can also wash off your suncream making your skin exposed to UV rays, so ensure you reapply after drying off!
Alcohol Increases Risk of Sunburn
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but research has shown that as alcohol reduces antioxidants in the skin leaving it more vulnerable to UV damage. As this increases the chance of sunburn, you may want to consider a non-alcoholic beverage to cool down instead.
Having a Fair Skin Tone
Melanin defends your skin against the sun's rays causing skin to darken. People with a fairer skin tone have less melanin and are more likely to burn than tan. Your melanin level is due to genetics, so unfortunately there is nothing you can do to change this. However, regardless of your skin tone, suncream is always a must!
What does Ayurveda suggest?
So you’ve (hopefully) done your best to prevent sunburn, but you were unsuccessful – it’s ok, it happens. Ayurveda says to balance the excess heat, we must use cooling and hydrating remedies on the skin that reduce inflammation and start the healing process.
Some of these Ayurvedic remedies are:
Aloe vera is an excellent remedy to cool and hydrate the skin. Its anti-inflammatory properties will surely help calm the discomfort from your burn. You can buy aloe vera gel in health food shops and apply it gently to sunburn.
Mint is another great remedy to reduce inflammation and cool down the skin. You can crush mint leaves and apply it as a paste on to the affected skin to cool down the area. Alternatively, you can use our MIN-Tea Body Balm. This is a great product for soothing sunburn as it contains peppermint oil to calm the inflammation and moisturising shea butter to hydrate dry skin.
Coconut oil is a go-to in the Ayurvedic world and harbours many beneficial properties. It moisturises the skin, and therefore can alleviate dryness and itchiness caused by sunburn. Apply a thin layer to the affected area of the skin to promote healing.
Cucumber’s high water content allows it to have a lovely cooling effect on the skin. Therefore, this food you can find in your fridge can be a life-saver after too much sun. To make a paste, simply blend or grate cucumber and apply it to the skin. Leave it on for 20 minutes to make the most of its cooling properties before rinsing it off.
As much as external treatments are useful for sunburn, hydrating from the inside out is crucial to heal your sunburn and quench your skin’s thirst. You can also consume more cooling foods, such as cucumber, watermelon and coconut water to further speed up your recovery!
Always try your best to avoid getting sunburnt, but remember Ayurveda has got your back! Have a look at our range of hydrating balms and lip balms that will soothe your skin if you do (inevitably) spend too much time catching those rays!
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