2018-06-13 / Editorial


Diana Royal

Sitting in Spanky’s on Sunday evening, dinning on a basket of fish and chips, I knew I was in for it when the heat refused to leave my body. We’d spent only a few hours on the beach at Tybee, and I’d seen to it that I apply sunscreen not once but twice (SPF 50 thankyouverymuch). When I saw the tomato-faced reflection in that bathroom mirror I jumped and flinched, aware of the ensuing pain.

I am no stranger to terrible sunburn. I got the worst one of my life in 2011 after floating around in my friend Denise Quick’s pool on a lazy day sans any sort of sunscreen. I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t wear clothes. I missed several days of work and wound up in the ER after my attempts to get to the restroom turned into a living room version of someone crawling across the Sahara in search of sustenance. Remembering those miserable days and the horrid blisters from too much fun in the sun, I sprung into action with my most recent sunburn catastrophe.

Now, I am no scientist, but everything is on the internet nowadays, and we all think we know so much more than we actually do because of it. Naturally, I Googled ways to take the heat out of sunburn as soon as I walked in the house that night, and I may have found a cure after attempting several of the suggestions. (Try these at your own risk.)

Since I am allergic to aloe, I had to find something that did not call for its use, which I was worried about because aloe is typically the number one soothing agent when it comes to sunburn. I started with witch hazel but I wanted immediate relief and the stuff smelled strangely. So I went with a paste concoction I read about – combine equal parts of baking soda and cornstarch with cold water until a paste forms and slather it on the burn. I looked a mess, but I instantly felt better. Once the paste hardened and started to flake off (it’s very messy!) I dumped cold water on my skin to wash it off, patted myself dry and then slathered on Aveeno cream for eczema (with colloidal oatmeal). I repeated the ritual every two hours thinking if I kept doing it, maybe I’d find some magic.

The next morning at work, my boss noticed I was much less red and asked what I had done. So I repeated the process for two more nights. During the day, I applied lotion every and drank a bottle of water every hour. One thing I’d also read was how important staying hydrated is, so I didn’t want to take any chances.

The third trick to my cure, and the most disgusting, was a decision I made after internet research suggested taking only cold showers. Hot or even warm water removes moisture out of your skin, which in turn will hold the heat in longer. I skipped the shower altogether for three days and sponge/sinkbathed. (I know this statement is making some of y’all cringe but I stand by choices and would do it again if necessary.)

I managed to reduce redness and prevent 95 percent of the peeling, albeit tiny places on my right shoulder and hairline on my forehead.

In short, if you find yourself feeling the burn this summer, I’m serious when I say this works. You may wind up feeling a little greasy and have to throw on a ball cap on that last day, but you won’t wind up looking like an extra on the set of The Walking Dead either.

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