There are a lot of myths out there about tanning and sun exposure. By now everyone knows there’s no such thing as a “healthy tan,” but there are still some misconceptions about how to properly treat a sunburn–and we’ve heard some doozies.
So if you forget your sunscreen and fry yourself (which you should really never do!), how should you treat it?
First, let’s back up. Before we can talk about treating a sunburn, it’s important to understand what’s going on with your skin when it gets burned. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun damages molecules in the skin and your DNA, causing the blood vessels in the skin to dilate. This then triggers an inflammatory reaction that causes the familiar redness, swelling, and blistering, according to Dr. Debra Jaliman, dermatologist and author of Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist.
There is no way to cure a sunburn–once the damage is done, it’s done. However, you can (and should) treat the unpleasant symptoms caused by the inflammation, and this is where people start getting a little kooky with the treatments. We asked dermatologists to weigh in on some of them, as well as shed some (non-UV) light on how you should really treat a burn. Click through for some sunburn insight.