This Morning: Dr Ranj warns of the dangers of sunburn

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Sunburn is an inflammatory reaction to ultraviolet (UV) radiation damage to the skin’s outer layers. At the heart of it all is melanin, a pigment that gives your skin its colour and defends against the sun’s strong rays. Melanin works by darkening your unprotected sun-exposed skin, and the amount your body produces is determined by genetics – which explains why some people burn and others tan. But both are signs of cell damage to the skin, and sunburns can range from mild to full-blown blistering.

How to treat sunburn

Baking soda and oats

Baking soda is, basically, a miracle cure for anything and everything, and it turns out sunburn is no different.

Throw a few heaped teaspoons of baking soda into a bathtub of cool water and soak in it for about 20 minutes, which helps to minimise sun damage.

Adding a cup of oats to the bath also soothes irritation and helps the skin retain its natural moisture.

But don’t scrub your skin either in the bath or when you’re out, and dab yourself with a soft, dry towel rather than rubbing.

Chamomile tea

Chamomile tea isn’t just good for soothing a stressed mind or unwinding after a long day – it’s excellent for sunburned skin.

Brew the tea as you normally would and let it fully cool down, you can pop it in the fridge to speed this up.

When it’s ready, soak a washcloth in the tea and apply it all over the affected areas.

However, if you’re allergic to pollen then don’t use this treatment as it could cause an allergic reaction within the skin.

Aloe vera

If you don’t own an aloe vera plant, then that’s the first point of action as it’s a plant known to heal all kinds of ailments and one that’s been used for hundreds of years.

Aloe vera is also the go-to sunburn relief for most people as it’s commonly found over the counter.

Breaking off a chunk of the plant and applying the gel directly to your burned skin provides immediate, soothing relief from the sting of minor sunburn.

If you can’t get your hands on a plant, opt for a 100 percent aloe vera gel (not aloe-based body lotion or oil), which can be found in most pharmacies.

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Coconut oil

Coconut is one of those natural products that’s really gained popularity in recent years thanks to its moisturising properties.

But it’s great for treating sunburn as it’s known to reduce inflammation.

Wait one day after your sunburn and use a plain, natural coconut oil and rub it all over the affected areas.

For a preventative measure, apply some coconut oil alongside sunscreen before heading out.

Cucumbers and tomatoes

They aren’t just a salad staple – both tomatoes and cucumbers help relieve discomfort and inflammation.

Rub chilled slices of cucumber on your skin burn to relieve the pain, and once they heat up, flip it over and use the cooler side.

You can also apply tomato slices to soothe a bad burn, but eating them helps protect you against future burning too.

Studies have shown that eating tomatoes helps protect you against UV rays.

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