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As you guys know, I recently got back from a wonderful beach vacation. I spent hours alternating between floating in the ocean and snoozing under a cabana. As usual, I like to work on my tan, and most times I get it just right, but not this time.

Oh, you didn’t know that Black people can get sunburned too? Well, we do, just as bad as our fairer counterparts. As it turns out, I had to learn to take care of sunburned skin pretty early on. As it is, I’m an avid user of SPF, I really don’t play about my sunscreen. And of course, I had on what I believed was enough SPF to keep me safe while I frolicked in the sun. This time, however, the sun got the best of me and I got a little burned. Getting sunburn is not ideal, and while we take great measures to protect ourselves, things happen. In this post, I’m going to give you some steps to help you treat and prevent sunburned skin.

How to Prevent Sunburn

Obviously, no one wants to get sunburned, but it does happen. The best way to prevent this is to wearing a sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher daily. If you’re hanging by the pool or at the beach, don’t just apply sunscreen to your face. For best protection, apply the sunscreen to all of your exposed areas. Also, I like to wear a sun hat or scarf over my head while I’m in the sun. This helps keeps the sun directly off my face and protects my head as well.

My Current Favorite Sunscreens

What To Do If you Get Sunburned

First things first, learn how to recognize the signs of sunburn. The most obvious is the skin changing colors, going from brown to a deep red lets me know I’ve been burned. Also, skin being warm to the touch after you are out of the sun is another way to tell that you’ve been sunburned. Here’s how to take immediate action to treat this:

  • Get out of the sun and into the shade as soon as you can.
  • Drink lots of water to cool yourself off internally
  • Take a cool shower and calm the skin with cooling towels. Do rub ice on the skin, use a cold compress instead.
  • Once you’ve cooled down, rub a light, healing lotion on the skin, something that has added nutrients to heal the skin quickly
  • If your sunburn is painful (mine was not), wear light clothing that will not rub or irritate the skin further.

In my case, my sunburn was not severe to where it was painful or crazy red.

Like I said, I tend to tan very easily and knowing this, I knew to come in out of the sun and under the cabana sooner rather than later. Also, I stress the importance of wearing sunscreen daily because there’s still a chance of sunburn even when it’s cloudy.

As always, seek the help of a professional if your sunburn is severe. If you develop a fever, blisters or extreme pain, seek medical attention immediately. Check out this link from the American Academy of Dermatology about treating sunburn:

I hope these tips were helpful for you. We want to enjoy the summer while being proactive and protecting our skin as much as possible. Leave a comment below on how you take care of your sunburn or what you do to prevent sunburn in the first place.


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