'What do I put on it?' is the first question you may have after you've suffered sunburn. If you, like most, have coconut oil in your kitchen or beauty cabinet, you may be tempted to slather it on sunburned areas.
But, is coconut oil good for sunburn? Get the facts straight and do the right things to make your sunburn clear up quickly.
Table of Contents:
- What does sunburn look like?
- How to calm and heal sunburn
- Is coconut oil good for sunburn?
- How coconut oil reacts with sunburned skin
- The best way to use coconut oil for sunburn relief, according to dermatologists
- Can you use coconut oil as a moisturizer when you're recovering from sunburn?
- Is there an ingredient apart from coconut oil that you should look for?
- The best lotions for sunburn
What does sunburn look like?
Sunburn usually appears a few hours after you've been out in the sun for a long time. You may recognize the symptoms: redness, skin that feels hot to the touch, and a bit of pain.
Your skin may swell, itch or peel. They're usually nothing to worry about, but the sunburn can take a couple of days to fade.
Until then, you may wonder how best you can soothe your skin and speed up the healing process.
Here are the first steps to take.
How to calm and heal sunburn
There isn't a single magical home remedy. Rather, a few things that can reduce the pain from sunburn and promote fast healing.
Place a cool compress
Your aim should be to cool down your skin ASAP, and the most accessible way is to treat it with a cool compress.
Here's how you can make a cool compress:
- Add a few ice cubes to a plastic bag
- Wet a washcloth with cool water
- Wrap the washcloth around the plastic bag
- Apply the compress on your skin for 15-20 minutes at a time
Take a cool shower/bath
This will cool your skin down and ease your pain. Avoid staying in the bath/shower for too long as it may dry your skin. Also, avoid using harsh soap that may irritate your skin further.
Take an NSAID
Pain from sunburn can interfere with your daily activities. Consider a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug like aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen to alleviate pain, inflammation, and swelling.
Moisturize your skin
A sunburn affects the skin barrier, the uppermost layer of your skin responsible for preventing water loss from your body and entry of compounds into it when your skin barrier is temporarily impaired, your skin itches and peels.
A moisturizer aids your skin barrier by locking in moisture and preventing a dehydrating effect on your skin.
Apply moisturizer after a cool shower, so the pores that open up after the bath are able to absorb the moisturizer better.
Which brings us to the question: does coconut oil help sunburn, and can you use it as a moisturizer?
Is coconut oil good for sunburn?
How coconut oil reacts with sunburned skin
There is sparse research supporting the use of coconut oil as a home remedy for sunburn.
Dermatologists don't recommend using it for a fresh sunburn.
Let's understand the science:
Your skin cells can handle a good amount of UV exposure. But when they receive more UV rays than they can handle, they die.
Your body responds by increasing blood flow and bringing immune cells to the skin to repair it. This causes inflammation, swelling, and redness associated with a sunburn.
Heat can make inflammation worse. It is the last thing you want when you're experiencing pain and swelling from a sunburn.
As a rule, heat should be avoided for burns or acute pain.
Coconut oil can trap heat and make the burn worse. While the oil absorbs easily into the skin, it does not work to reduce the effects of the burn.
On the other hand, coconut oil alleviates some of the symptoms of sunburn, such as itching or dryness, while also locking in moisture.
It follows that coconut oil has a role to play in reducing sunburn.
The best way to use coconut oil for sunburn relief, according to dermatologists
Apply coconut oil after your sunburn. Better still, use moisturizers containing coconut oil and other beneficial ingredients to speed up healing.
A minor sunburn generally heals within a week. Depending on the severity of the sunburn, your skin may feel a bit sensitive after all other symptoms have subsided.
You may want to stay out of the sun for a bit or wear protective clothing so as not to antagonize your skin. You also want to keep moisturizing your skin for hydration and nourishment.
Can you use coconut oil as a moisturizer when you're recovering from sunburn?
Coconut oil aids dry and flaky skin while also trapping moisture. So, you can apply coconut oil to your skin after much of the sunburn has healed.
There's a better way to help not only your skin but also your hair shrug off the effects of UV exposure: using body lotions and shampoos that incorporate coconut oil or milk extract.
It's not coconut oil itself, but hydrating lotions and creams fortified with coconut extract or oil, which can make your skin look and feel better.
Is there an ingredient apart from coconut oil that you should look for?
Certainly: aloe vera, which is known to be effective in treating first- and second-degree burns. The ideal body lotion to heal sunburn incorporates both aloe vera and coconut oil/extract, and we have just the body lotion for you.
The best lotions for sunburn
Coconut oil is good for sunburn. It's just that using coconut hair oil or cooking oil for aggravated skin from UV rays isn't advisable as a first step to treat sunburn.
Your skin can receive the hydrating and nourishing properties of coconut oil in a better form: as a light lotion or cream that also includes other ingredients beneficial for sunburn.
- Coconut oil hydrates and protects skin
- Aloe vera and shea butter are anti-inflammatories
- Vitamin E aids healing and reduce UV damage in the skin
- Hyaluronic acid promotes healing
- Offers sunburnt skin a calming sensation
- Non-greasy and lightweight
- A cool cleanse, just what you need for burning skin
- Coconut oil-in-water emulsion removes impurities
- Cucumber water soothes peeling skin on the face
- Aloe vera soothes scalp burns
- Coconut milk extract conditions scalp and hair
- Argan oil is an inflammatory that promotes healing
Prevention is better than cure. Use a good sunscreen of SPF30 or higher before you step out in the midday sun.
Apply sunscreen after moisturizer. If, for any reason, you do experience sunburn, give your skin the gentle, loving care it deserves, and you will start feeling better quickly.
Make sure you check out our range of skincare products. Look for ingredients such as aloe vera, shea butter, coconut milk/water/oil, and hyaluronic acid to make smart choices for alleviating sunburn at home.