Beauty DIY: Simple After-Sun Soothing Gel
We are all sun lovers here, yes? Whether an avid surfer, casual beach-goer, or just a lover of the outdoors, the hot sun is a constant and welcome companion. But sometimes it is easy to lose track of time and soon our warm, sun-kissed skin can quickly turn into a damaging sunburn. And no one wants that. Before we go any further, please allow us one minute for a public service announcement. We must point out that the only way to stay 100% sun-safe is to…well…stay out of it. But, we also realize no one wants to live their life on the sidelines (including us!), so it is imperative that if you do decide to expose your skin to the sun, apply sunscreen of at least SPF 30. Wear hats and coverups and use umbrellas, trees and cabanas for shade. Skin damage caused by the sun can have very serious and lasting implications. Ok friends, that concludes our PSA.
So, what actually is a sunburn? Jeffrey M. Sobell, an assistant professor of dermatology and director of photomedicine at Tufts University School of Medicine, offers this: “Although infrared radiation gives sunlight its warmth, it is not the heat of the sun that burns skin. A sunburn manifested by cutaneous redness, swelling and pain is an acute toxic reaction caused by exposure to the sun's ultraviolet radiation. The energy from ultraviolet radiation can damage molecules in the skin, most importantly DNA. One consequence of this is the synthesis of different proteins and enzymes (can) lead to dilation of the blood vessels and recruitment of inflammatory cells. This, in turn, produces a sunburn's characteristic redness, swelling and pain.” Basically, that means that ultraviolet radiation can wreak havoc on the state of your skin, including changes in the texture, premature aging, increased sagging, wrinkles, hyper-pigmentation, and in worse cases cause cancer. Following the initial redness of a burn, your skin produces melanin, which acts as a way to combat UV damage to the DNA of your cells. This melanin gives the appearance of a tan. Sure, most people want a tan, but just keep in mind that this process, when done over and over again, dramatically increases aging and risk.
So what should we do when we actually start to feel the effects of a sunburn? First, do your skin a solid and seek out shade. Post getting out of the sun, try to take a cool bath or shower. After you pat dry (don’t rub!) apply a soothing after-sun gel (recipe below!) to the affected areas. Look for ingredients such as cucumber, lavender, algae and yucca to alleviate pain and reduce irritation and redness. These soothing ingredients will rehydrate and calm your skin.
DIY Simple After-Sun Soothing Gel
3 tablespoons Aloe Vera gel
3 tablespoon Coconut Oil
10-15 drops of Lavender essential oil
Add the aloe vera gel, coconut oil, and lavender oil into a small bowl and mix together. Apply liberally to the affected and let dry. Rinse with cool water and pat dry.