Sunburn is very common skin damage that occurs usually after long exposures to the sun. Although it is a quite serious condition that can lead to skin cancer (1), sunburn is considered by many an acceptable price to pay during summertime, for getting that perfect tan.
Not all people are the same when getting a tan, and not all people get sunburn as easily as others. The skin’s response to sun exposure depends a lot on its color diversity (2).
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Baking soda for sunburn
Baking soda is a good remedy for sunburns because it can help balance the pH levels in your skin (3), and thus offer pain relief and also help with the inflammation and redness that follow sunburn. You probably have baking soda in your home and use it for different cakes and sweets. Sodium bicarbonate, the scientific name of baking soda, is known for its leavening qualities in baking. That delicious texture in pancakes is mostly because of this baking soda.
Sodium bicarbonate mixed with water is a very good antiacid formula and it can even be ingested to help with heartburns or acid indigestion (4). Sodium bicarbonate is also used in some mouthwashes due to its anticaries and abrasive properties. It is well-known to properly clean teeth and gums and also as an antiseptic that can prevent further infections (5).
So, as you can see, baking soda has multiple uses in our world and one of them is relieving sunburn pain.
How do I apply baking soda for relief from sunburn?
All you need to do is mix the baking soda with a few tablespoons of water to form a substance that looks like a paste. Once the mixture is consistent, apply it to the affected region and let it sit for about 20 minutes before you wash it off. To make sure you do not do any damage to your skin, wash off the baking soda slowly due to the rough texture of the paste.
Another way you can make use of baking soda is to add about a ¼ cup of baking soda into a cool bath and stay inside the bath for about 20 minutes before washing yourself up.
Managing the skin afterward
The essence of using baking soda is to help the skin recover from the effects of sunburn. Once you have had sunburns, it’s good you stay away from too much sun exposure for some time. The effects of getting relief using baking soda and immediately heading back in the sun can be bad for the skin simply because the pH levels are going to be in a state of chaos.
When it comes to healing the body and the skin cells from sunburn, baking soda can prove effective. You could also mix it with aloe vera, which is another useful ingredient for sunburns.
One thing is sure, you should never sacrifice your well-being for just a little bit more tan. Sunburns are not trifling matters and they should not be treated as such. The photochemical events that lead to the formation of sunburn cells are still not entirely known, but evidence shows that damage to the DNA can be an important factor (6).
So, the best advice is to take care of your skin more than you take care of your perfect tan!