These days I wear sunscreen religiously every day, but in the past, I got my fair share of sunburns. *sighs* Worse than the redness, is the pain. And the itchiness! Sunburns can itch like hell. And you can’t scratch because it makes things so much worse! Argh! So, how do you soothe an itchy sunburn? And why does it have to itch so much, anyway?
Why sunburns itch
An itch is an irritation in the skin that makes you want to scratch it to relieve the unpleasant feeling. UV rays, which caused the sunburn, certainly irritated skin, causing quite a lot of damage to it. But UV rays can’t penetrate skin, so they only damage its surface, which is full of c-fibres. C-fibres are special nerves that respond to mechanical stimulus such as pressure, certain chemicals, or heat, causing skin to itch.
Thus, C-fibres protect us by letting us know that something is wrong. For instance, if you have an insect crawling on your skin, the itching feeling caused by the C-fibres will alert you to it so that you can get it off you. But getting rid of the itch caused by sunburn isn’t that easy, unfortunately.
How to soothe an itchy sunburn
1. Colloidal oatmeal baths: colloidal oatmeal is rich in different types of phenols that give it both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe irritations and sunburns. Adding Aveeno Soothing Bath Treatment, which is 100% pure colloidal oatmeal, to your lukewarm bath will give you some relief from the itch.
2. Soothing lotions: apply a gentle and soothing moisturizer, such as Eucerin Calming Creme (this too contains colloidal oatmeal). For an even more soothing effect, keep it in the fridge for a couple of hours before application.
How do you soothe an itchy sunburn?