In a brilliant move on my part, last Saturday I decided to kick off Melanoma Awareness Month with a healthy 2nd degree sunburn of my upper chest and my upper arms. Okay it wasn’t a conscious decision, more like “Honey do you have the sunscreen? You don’t? Oh well.” Now being a red head, fair-skinned and pale (and I have been my entire life), you would think I would know better. But obviously I’m a slow learner about somethings.

But here are some important tips for caring for that sunburn if you end up with one:

1) You need to cool the skin down! Apply Vinegar, Noxzema, or ice packs to the sunburn. You need to quit the cooking process.

2) Gently wash the sunburn. Allow cold water to run over it, or use a cool wash rag. You need it to be clean. The skin has been damaged and you want to prevent infection.

3) Apply Aloe with Lidocaine or any number of other moisturizers. Do not use anything oil or lanolin based, these will not allow the skin to breathe and heal.

I saw many ideas on the internet that some people use on sunburns. Everything from chamomile tea bags to aspirin dissolved in water. Don’t know how well the aspirin works, but if you don’t normal take the aspirin due to medical reasons, do not try that home remedy.

4) Do NOT pop the blisters!!! I know they are gross. I know it is hard to resist. But do NOT do it! The blisters are a way the skin heals itself. Just keep applying those moisturizers. When they pop on their own, gently clean the area and gently removed the dead tissue, this is the only time you are allowed to play with them! If you pop the blisters, you will end up with scar tissue in the location, typically called sun spots.

**If the blisters are covering large portions of your skin, you should seek medical attention. The last thing you want is an infection to develop.

But do yourself a favor, use the Sunscreen!!! Here are some Sunscreen SPF facts from LiveStrong:

1) Consider this: If you ordinarily look like a boiled lobster after 15 minutes of unprotected sun exposure, then by adequately applying an SPF 30 sunscreen, it would take 7 and 1/2 hours to get the same sunburn.

2) An SPF of 15 filters about 93% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays. An SPF of 30, about 97%, an SPF of 50, about 98%. You can quickly see that as the SPF get higher, the amount of additional ultraviolet radiation that gets to your skin is minimal.

Another important thing for you to do, check the expiration date on that Sunscreen!!! The ingredients will breakdown and make it not very effective. I have burned very badly from sunscreen that was less than a year out of date.

LiveStrong has a wonderful article about choosing sunscreen. Please read it and use the information in it.

So to avoid the issue we had last Saturday of not having the sunscreen with us, I am going to buy another bottle and stick it (in a zip top bag) in my truck.