How to treat a sunburn

If you were at Beaver Stadium this Saturday cheering the Nittany Lions onto a victory against Akron, chances are you got sunburned.  Walking to classes Monday, it was easy to tell who was at the game based on how red people’s faces were.

A few factors can be attributed to the number of awkward tan lines and sunburns seen around campus since the football game:

  1. The start time was at noon, and according to WebMD, “you are more likely to get a sunburn between 10 in the morning and 4 in the afternoon, when the sun’s rays are the strongest.”  Meaning if you were outside tailgating and then at the game, you were outside during the hours you are most likely to get sunburned.
  2. It reached 82 degrees on Saturday, which was significantly hotter than the rest of the week. So most people probably did not think to use sunscreen.  According to SPF 50 blocks out 98 percent of UVB rays, which is the main cause of sunburns.

A sunburn, by definition, is reddening, inflammation, and, in sever cases, blistering and peeling of the skin caused by overexposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun. So if your skin is still red (and probably starting to peel) the most effective way to treat your sunburn is aloe vera.

The aloe vera plant can grow up to four feet tall, and according to the National Center for Alternative and Complementary Medicine: “Aloe leaves contain a clear gel that is often used as a topical ointment”

Fox News explains the benefits of aloe vera,  “the cooling, soothing gel of this beautiful succulent plant provides almost immediate relief for sunburn pain.”  

Not only is aloe vera effective, it’s also safe to use, with little to no side effects.  According to the Natural Science Journal, aloe vera gel is safe if applied topically.

So how does it work?  What makes aloe vera more effective at treating a sunburn than any other plant in your backyard?

Aloe is 99 percent water, but according to The University of Maryland Medical Center it also contains glycoproteins and polysaccharides. “Glycoproteins speed the healing process by stopping pain and inflammation, while polysaccharides stimulate skin growth and repair.”  These two powerful components give aloe vera its healing powers that make it a popular, and effective way to treat sun burns.


3 thoughts on “How to treat a sunburn

  1. Weng Ee Then

    I don’t get suborned very often, even if I’m out during peak hour with no sunscreen. This is strange to me as I’m quite fair skinned. I put sunscreen anyway because the thought of skin cancer scares me. The rare times I do get sunburnt though I found that aloe vera is the most effective way of soothing it. Some personal testimony for you. There have been studies that show witch hazel to be effect as well, so if you don’t have aloe vera that’s another alternative. Good job!

  2. Christopher Vecchio

    Sunburn is a huge downer during summer, especially if your on vacation. I’m Italian and pretty tan so I rarely get sunburn but when I do it is the worst time of my life because I’m not used to it. There are some homemade remedies that also help heal sunburn. I heard about bathing in tea before but never knew if it actually works. I did some research and found a decent article about home made remedies.

  3. Kaitlin A Kemmerer

    I was just wondering if you found anything about using oatmeal and tea bags to help with the burn? That’s what I’ve used on occasion if I didn’t have aloe!

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