A Ginger's Guide To Sun Burn

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All those redheads out there know exactly what I am talking about. Us fairer-folk are certainly not made for tropical sun. It not the heat that is the problem, its the barely noticeable blistering of our skin sneaking up out of nowhere, causing us to lie in ridiculous positions in order get some sleep. All we wanted was to sit out in the sun on the beach for more than ten minutes… now just imagine living in the desert!

I am sure everyone out there, no matter your skin colour, has had a battle with the sun and lost. Don’t worry about it; I’m sure I have had far more “accidents” than you have. With my, what my mother likes to say, ‘English-Rose complexion’ combined with growing up in topical areas, I have had my fair share of sunburn. Ever since I was little, I have had to learn ways to lessen the effects of the sun without having to just sit in my room and hide all day. So I would say I know a trick or two to help a fellow sun-walking daredevil like me.

I have put together my best tips to preventing and healing sunburn. Its nothing revolutionary, but by sticking to these you might get to enjoy your time in the sun for a little longer and maybe even get a tan (Gasp!).

Ain't No Sunshine When It's Gone

Ideally, don’t go in the sun. You could go armed with bottles of sun cream, umbrellas and hats, but nothing beats the Ginger Trick. Yes. If you really don’t want to get burnt, try wrapping yourself like a burrito and laugh at the sun’s inability to get to you. The only problem with this is, well, no sun. And looking a bit like ET.

A less extreme version of this is a rash vest. I have been wearing these my whole life. My mum used to order them all the way from Australia, before you could find them everywhere. As kids, my sister and I could not wait until 4pm, which was when my mother thought the sun was a more reasonable strength, to strip them off. Now, I always have one with me. Thankfully, they are becoming more and more fashionable, and you can get some beautiful ones to compete with the other swimwear on the beach.

For ultimate protection try the popular burkini’s, which will keep you completely covered but not confined to being under a towel.

Stay Protected

Obviously suncream is also very important. But beware; some suncreams won’t protect you all the time. I usually stick to a sports suncream with a high number (more than 30 SPF.. usually 50 SPF), UV-A and UV-B protected, and water-resistant (you can even get sand-resistant suncream now!). My favourite so far is Ocean Spray and but make sure you go and do some research into different brands and remember to apply often! 

Burn, Baby, Burn

You are red as a lobster, it hurts whenever you move and you cant get cool. The number of times I have been caught with my back as close to the AC as possible, or with my face in the freezer to cool down. When you inevitably burn, its very important to keep your fluids up. Being in the sun and burning can take a lot out of you, so stay hydrated!

I stick to a hand-me-down au-natural way to treat my sunburn - lavender. Lavender essential oil is great for many things, but in particular, it helps with any kind of burn including sunburn. It best to mix it with a moisturiser - I prefer cocoa butter - which also cools the burn at the same time. Recently, I was sunburnt pretty badly after going on a diving trip in Thailand. Though lavender oil and cocoa butter are staples in my travel essentials, I wanted to experiment with a LUSH bath melt that I was given for my birthday. With cocoa butter, shea butter, a mixture of different oils and a couple of drops of lavender essential oil, all I had to do was soak it in and let it do all the work (not having to touch my burns was a bonus). Not only does it smell lovely, I am pretty sure I go from bright red to glamorously tanned overnight!