Five Tips for Surviving a Face Sunburn

If you've been redirected here after a google search, chances are you've got a sunburn on your face (or because you support my blog and visit me just because.. that's awesome, THANK YOU!!). Sunburns suck. Especially on the delicate skin that is your face. I spent most of this past weekend outdoors; boating, fishing, walking, kayaking, yadda yadda yadda. I had a blast, but now also have 2nd degree burns across most of my face thanks to a little thing called radiation. 

I've had a sunburn before, but nothing to this extent. My face has been swollen three mornings in a row. The skin has bubbled and leaked (TMI) which are things I had never known a sunburn to be capable of. Yes, this is my fault but allow me to explain why I thought forgoing sunscreen was my best option. When I was younger I had a really bad reaction to fragrances in products. My face swelled to a point where I was unrecognizable and had to start taking prednisone and steroids (no, not that kind..). The swelling took a few days to go down, but the experience scared me. Until this day, I am hesitant to put anything that is heavily fragranced (or a non-face-specified product) onto or nearby my face. We had sunscreen this weekend, and I used it everywhere... Except my face.

be patient
Being patient with your body is something I cannot stress enough. If you've got a bad burn, you need to practice patience and allow time for healing. I was able to give myself a half-day rest period on the worst day of my sunburn, and I can't imagine how I'd be getting along without it. If you sunburn is just hot and red (no boiling/tingling/numbness), you probably don't need to go as far as taking time off of work, but make a responsible call and schedule yourself some extra time if necessary.

Sunburnt skin is DRY. The sun's radiation literally fries up your skin cells! Keep in mind that your damaged skin needs extra attention. You don't want to put a lot of chemicals onto this delicate area until it has had a chance to heal so opt for all-natural products (check the ingredients!). LUSH is a great place to find all-natural, handmade products. I use their Celestial Facial Moisturizer daily, and found it extremely delightful on my sunburnt skin. To up the hydration, I added Boots Botanics 100% Organic Facial Oil to my routine. Coconut oil is also a supreme option for natural moisture. Don't forget your lips, either! Mine rejoiced after a session of Glossier's Coconut Balm Dotcom. However, I read online that products with petroleum are terrible for sunburns, as they keep heat trapped inside the body. Coconut oil can be used if your lips are badly burnt, but mine did just find with the petroleum-based lip salve.
oatmeal paste does a great job covering how gross my skin is right now!!

As I mentioned earlier, this sunburn *points to face* has been my worst yet. I took this as an opportunity to experiment with different at-home remedies for alleviating pains. Look on Pinterest for inspiration and information on what might work for your situation. On my sunburn, aloe gel was OK and my moisturizer helped a little with the pain, but something really game-changing was a DIY oatmeal paste. I knew oatmeal was rich in antioxidants so I researched it a little more. All the recipes called for fancy ingredients like apple cider vinegar, honey and milk (all of which I did not have). Instead, I ground up all-natural oats (please do not use cereal oatmeal packets, they are FULL of sugar and sometimes spices) until it resembled whole-wheat flour. I mixed in small amounts of cold tap-water until I had created a paste. I then set this paste on my face for 20 minutes and gently washed it off. There was an immediate and lasting cooling effect, and washing it off with cool water felt great as well. I am so happy I decided to do a little research on oats because this honestly turned into the best treatment for my situation. Slap a couple of cucumber slices onto your eyes and you'll forget you even had a burn in the first place!

This is key. You may have mastered external moisturizing treatments, but don't forget internal hydration. A sunburn is your body's ways of dealing with fried/dead skin cells caused by the sun's radiation. Your face gets red and hot because your body has delivered blood to the surface of the skin where the damage is done. You need extra water at this time to keep blood and nutrients flowing to the other parts of your body. I also had some pedia-pops (pedialyte in ice-pop form) which helped keep my electrolyte levels up. 

think ahead
In addition to keeping your skin moisturized and body hydrated, you'll want to take measures to prevent the worsening of your sunburn. After applying my favorite LUSH Celestial moisturizer, I coated my face with the Aveeno protect + hydrate Lotion Sunscreen FOR FACE before stepping outside. Even for a quick trip to the grocery store, your face is in such a delicate state that it doesn't take long for the sun's rays to do more damage. 
Much Love,
-Stephanie Eva

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