Spring break can feel so far away when you practically live in an oversized coat and snow boots every day, but isn’t that even more of an incentive to start planning your warm-weather vacay now? While you’re drafting that must-pack list, make sure you scribble down skincare at the tippy-top because, unfortunately, lying on the beach and soaking up the sun doesn’t always add up to a tan. It’s hard to imagine sun-kissed skin when the sun literally sets before dinner, but fast sunburn cures for spring break should be on your radar if you’re making the transition from snow to sand for a week, otherwise your skin will be paying a very painful price.
Imagine you’re sprawled out on a nautical-striped blanket over a bed of white sand, listening to the waves gently crash over a pile of rocks, filling tide pools with fresh water. You decline your girlfriend’s invitation to play a round of volleyball and, instead, fall asleep with an open magazine across your stomach, while your bare arms, legs, and décolletage are exposed to the warm rays. It sounds too good to be true, because it is.
You wake up with rosy cheeks and roasted limbs, and you're in dire need of relief ASAP. I hate to burst your fantasy bubble, but this really is a common mistake spring breakers make. You’re so wrapped up in the fact that you’re finally escaping freezing temperatures and cloudy skies that you forget what sun exposure can actually do to your skin. Spoiler: If not protected properly, nothing good.
For those looking to play it safe over spring break, here are a few fast cures for sunburn you'll want to know ahead of time before your vacay.
1. Mix Coconut Oil With Your Sunscreen
I really don't know how else to describe coconut oil other than stating it's literally nature's little miracle worker. Not only can you cook, eat, shower, and wash your hair with the stuff, makeup artist and founder of Simply Sona, Sona Gasparian, says it can combat major burns.
Looking to tan? You don't have to shield your body from rays and opt for a spray if you're aiming for that sun-kissed bronze. According to Gasparian, adding coconut oil to sunscreen "can help enhance the color of your skin" sans an unruly painful burn.
"After you've applied your sunscreen with high SPF for the best protection," she tells Elite Daily, "you can rub some coconut oil on your exposed areas. The oil will act as a hydrating agent so your skin doesn’t dry out while you’re basking in the sun."
2. Hydrate The Irritated Areas
Skin that's been overexposed to harmful UV rays needs hydration ASAP, because similarly to how you're likely to feel dehydrated after a day at the beach, your skin is equally as parched.
OSEA's mineral elixir is incredibly moisturizing, and is made with natural ingredients such as organic Patagonian seaweed and dead sea salt. It also features aloe vera, which both soothes and hydrates the skin, as well as reduces visible redness.
Jenefer Palmer, OSEA founder and Formulator, tells Elite Daily the product should be "spritzed on after sun [exposure]" and stored "in the fridge for a refreshing burst of mineral-charged moisture."
3. Apply A Cold Compress To The Burn
While taking a cold shower will certainly cool down an overheated body, Heidi Waldorf, MD, owner of private practice Waldorf Dermatology Aesthetics and former director of laser and Cosmetic dermatology at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, has a better idea.
"Use cold compresses [with] a hand towel or gauze soaked in a mixture of equal parts water and milk for 10 to 20 minutes at a time, a few times a day," she tells Elite Daily. "The lactic acid and fat in the milk will soothe the skin. If you're not allergic to it and you have an aloe plant, you can cut it and apply the fresh aloe, which is anti-inflammatory."
4. Pop A Turmeric Supplement To Ease Inflammation
Over-the-counter solutions like aspirin and Tylenol will reduce aches, fever, and swelling over time, but did you know one foolproof cure could already be stocked in your Airbnb's kitchen cabinets?
According to Annie Lawless, founder of Lawless Beauty and creator of Blawnde.com, turmeric may spice things up in the kitchen, but this orangey-yellow powder can also calm sunburned skin because it's "extremely high in curcumin," aka a natural anti-inflammatory that combats inflammation before it has the chance to spread and become more severe.
"You can take 1,200 mg of turmeric capsules daily for three to five days after your burn to ensure maximum minimization of redness and pain," Lawless tells Elite Daily. "Or, simply increase your turmeric intake in your smoothies or juices!"
5. Soak In An Oatmeal Bath
If you're burned in multiple areas on your body, adding a compress to each individual spot can get tedious. Instead, ethnic skincare expert Dr. William Kwan suggests soaking in a cool bath to "soothe the burning."
Adding Aveeno's soothing bath treatment, he adds, can help the inflammation go down. Made with finely milled, 100 percent pure colloidal oatmeal, the powder will give the bathwater a frothy, milky consistency that will calm the skin and, according to the product's description, provide "temporary skin protection," so you're covering multiple bases at once.
Dr. Taz Bhatia, MD, author of Super Woman RX, tells Elite Daily that adding epsom salts to a bath can also alleviate sunburn irritation. If you still need relief after soaking, she suggests taking an empty spray bottle and filling it wth a mixture of "two tablespoons of epsom with one cup of water" to spritz on the affected area as needed.
6. Use The Best Sunscreen For Your Skin Type
Wearing sunscreen is a must year-round, but it's especially important when the whole point of the day — or, in this case, week — is to be in the sun. The tricky part of picking out a sunscreen is that it's not like choosing what scarf to wear. Skincare is not a one-size-fits-all sort of thing, so you need to do your research on what products will protect your individual skin type.
Dr. Maryam Zamani, who specializes in surgical and non-surgical facial aesthetic procedures at the Cadogan Clinic in London, shares a few pointers on how to figure out what sort of protection is best for you. Acne-prone/oily skin types, for example, should "pick an SPF which is water-based," she tells Elite Daily. If you tend to wear some sort of face makeup on the beach, she suggests trying "a tinted SPF." As for the chemical versus physical sunscreen debate, Dr. Zamani says there are benefits to both.
"Chemical sunscreens act as a filter to inhibit UV radiation penetration, and need to be absorbed 30 minutes before sun exposure," she tells Elite Daily. "Physical sunscreen blocks UV radiation immediately. They usually contain titanium or zinc oxide and work by reflecting the sun rays."
7. Massage Your Skin With Vitamin-Rich Serums
Another way to nourish damaged skin with the vitamins and minerals it needs to thrive: serums. You may not naturally associate cosmetic products with something as severe as sunburned skin, but they work. You just need to know what kinds of products to look out for.
Beverly Hills dermatologist and founder of SKINxFIVE Dr. Ava Shamban tells Elite Daily that applying a vitamin C serum to the area is "extremely effective" because it's rich in antioxidants and can "reduce inflammation from the sunburn."
Plum oil is also loaded with essential antioxidants and vitamin E to seal in moisture and calm irritation. Mix your Le Prunier plum beauty oil with your sunscreen for a nourishing boost, and not only will your skin feel healthy, it'll be protected against sun and solar radiation.