So the story goes that MD, Ph.D., Rick Fried was…
It used to be that peeling skin was almost a badge of honor. It meant you survived an intense tanning session and had the scars to prove it. You teased your squeamish friends by peeling sheets off your shoulders and shoving it in their faces. However, things have changed a bit. Now, a peeling is more like a badge of shame. Not only are you suffering from the pain of a terrible sunburn, but are also dealing with the pain of embarrassment for not having had the good sense to protect yourself properly. You need to deal with it right away. Here’s how:
Cool Your Skin
As soon as you see your skin beginning to peel, take a cold shower or bath. Cooling skin down is the first step in slowing the peeling process. Dry gently, patting skin, rather than rubbing, which can exacerbate the problem.
Fight the Itch
Peeling skin tends to be itchy, but try to avoid the urge to scratch; it could do permanent damage. If the itch gets out of hand, try using ice to dull the feeling. Put some ice cubes in a soft cloth and place it on the affected area. You should notice gradual numbness setting in.
While you should always apply moisturizer directly after stepping out of the shower, in the case of peeling skin, it becomes a matter of urgency. Look for a lotion designed to treat peeling and sunburned skin. The ideal moisturizer will contain aloe vera which will reduce inflammation, reduce skin temperature, and slow down the peeling. Aloe vera is a cactus extract hailed for its healing properties. Pure aloe vera gel can also be effective when directly applied to the skin.
Skin needs to be healed from the inside as well as the outside. If healthy skin needs hydration, damaged skin needs it even more. Drinking eight to 10 glasses of water a day will give your skin fuel to begin repairing and rejuvenating itself, slowing the onset of peeling.
No matter how much satisfaction you get out of grossing out your friends by peeling your skin off in front of them, it’s not worth the risk of infection. If you notice a piece of dead skin hanging off, the best way to deal with it is to cut it off with scissors. Make sure they are small enough to avoid further damage and make sure to cut only the dead skin, avoiding the new layer trying to form. Apply an antibacterial ointment after cutting to prevent infection.
You can reduce the itch of peeling skin with a colloidal oatmeal bath. You can find this quality oatmeal in most pharmacies; and, while you’re there be sure to pick up some vitamins C and E to promote healing and prevents long term skin damage and scarring. Topical vitamin E will also help to cut down on the chances of scarring.
A word to the wise, the best way to avoid peeling is by preventing it entirely. Plenty of sunscreen with a minimum of 30 SPF applied often and generously is a good way to escape the pain of peeling and sunburn entirely.
How do you deal with the pain and itch of sunburned peeling skin? Do you have any secret remedies you would like to share? We would love to hear them!