Thursday, April 30, 2009

Soothing Sunburn Pain After A Great Day!

A little over a week ago, we had fantastic weather come to the Treasure Valley. Highs reached into the 80's, and oh how it felt so good.

My husband and I had just purchased a pair of new beach cruisers, you know the ones that take us back to the Retro days of the 50's and 60's. They are making the new ones so cool looking with fancy wild colors or simplified for a more sophisticated style, and they are great fun to ride. They are classified as beach cruisers due to their big fat tires, large fenders, oversized saddle and elevated handlebars for easy peddling and sitting erect for cruisin' on sandy beaches and boardwalks. They make riding a bicycle like being in a recliner on wheels. Easy cruising!

We were fully set up for a long summer of bike riding. I purchased a large wicker basket to put on my handlebars to put water, food, clothing and anything else I wanted into it for toodling all over. We outfitted our SUV with a handy dandy bike rack. Even this thing was way cool. Now we were stylin' and ready to go have some fun and exercise. (Working off those extra pounds from a long winter) but that's another story.

We loaded up our bikes, water and picnic lunch and headed to Julia Davis Park to ride along our greenbelt and toodle around downtown Boise, if we had the stamina to do so.

The mornings were still cool so I had on a light jacket with capris and sleeveless shirt and of course had applied my mineral makeup for sun protection. However, I did the big no-no, I did not bring a fresh bottle of sunscreen. When we went to open the tube, the stuff had turned to an oily, separated, disgusting mess. It was ineffective at that point. However, I was optimistic since the greenbelt was full of shaded pathways, so I figured my sun exposure would be minimum and we arrived before 10 am in the morning before the sun got too high and more intense.

Forgetting (ignoring) my own rules, I peeled off my jacket as the morning warmed and the enjoyment of riding my new bike after a hiatus of 15 years, overwhelmed me. We were having way too much husband said I looked like a young girl again....I don't think I stopped smiling the entire ride. We rode for an hour and finally returned to our car and pulled out a set of Mushroom chairs to eat our lunch under the trees. I was in heaven, the warm day, the smell from fresh blooms of flowering trees, the sound of the river rushing by, watching others get out and enjoy the gorgeous day.

I was in a euphoric state so I poo pooed the likelihood of a sunburn. Of course this notion was ridiculous since my skin was so white from a long winter .....and did I bring a hat?....of course not!

We were so glad to be outside in the fresh air we stayed longer and longer, still remaining in the shade most of the time. My daughter then joined us and shared in our picnic lunch.

She had also brought with her, her roller blades. So we hopped on our bikes and rode into downtown with our daughter skating on ahead of us like a pro. I tried to roller blade a few years back and I fell down alot. Geez...I can barely find my balance on my new bike. Need practice for sure! We headed for Tully's coffee for a big ole Iced Mocha Latte with the works. After all I could afford the calories, I had been riding my bike most of the morning. Rode on the surface streets and of course not much shade there so sticking to buildings for shade was impossible, however my skin was still looking ok. It's like after high noon now. Oh, about an hour later, the lovely bloom of red began to show and I knew I had gone and done it........I had a nasty sunburn brewing.

After a great day, we headed home as my skin began to tingle and I could feel heat coming off my sunburned areas. Luckily it was only my arms, shoulders, and chest area. I would have not survived it if this was a swimsuit burn. This was going to be a doozy, regardless!

When we finally arrived home, I knew it was time to get out my Grandma's home remedy she used on me for my sunburns when I was a child. This works and helps to heal it much faster. Aloe Vera and Dickinsons Witch Hazel. The picture on the right is the orignial label and the one on the left is their brand new packaging. It does have about 14% alcohol content added.

Another one is called Thayers and it is combined with aloe, alcohol free and paraben free and also combines some other skin soothing emollients in this formula. It all depends on the best skincare regimen you prefer.

Both work exceptionally well. But my preference is the Dickinsons.

Before going to bed, I took a short lukewarm shower, and this prepared my skin with moisture. I then washed my hair and this is when I discovered I had burned the top of my head also, where my hair was parted. Didn't follow my advice on this one either. At this point I began kicking myself for ignoring everything I know about sun exposure. You really can get caught up in the day and before you know it, your skin is cooked.

After I dried off, leaving my exposed areas still quite damp I splashed on pure Witch Hazel. Oh boy, how this takes the heat out of the burn instantly. I allowed this to naturally dry to an extent and then followed up with an Aloe Vera Gel. I was able to sleep well without feeling that horrible burning sensation. If you have your own live plant growing, use it straight from the plant in its' purest form.

When looking for these two items, try to get them without the addition of alcohol content or as low a concentration as you can. Once the skin begins to heal over the course of the next several days, switch to an application of a very good Shea Butter Cream. I mean a cream with mostly Shea in it. Pure Shea would be best. This will keep the skin from drying out, peeling and itching and will super moisturize sun damaged skin. If you should begin to itch really bad as I started to do after 2 days, then apply witch hazel again before your shea application. Witch Hazel is an astringent, helps to reduce inflammation and swelling of tissues and locks in moisture to the skin. It is also great for razor burn, bug bites, works well on acne, and can help to reduce bruising. Some even swear by it for replacing the use of deodorant.

As far as my scalp goes, I drizzled a bit of this down my parted area, but this is an area I will just have to let heal on its own. "Good One" I think to myself.

Well, I am living proof that no matter how much you stick to shady areas....combining sunshine with fair skin is a recipe for disaster. Now that I have aged myself a few more years, I hope the rest of you will take care of your skin better than I did on that glorious day of great weather.

Perhaps it was worth it....or not! Cabin fever does strange things to us, endorphins flood our brains and make us feel invincible as we absorb the first warm rays of spring sunshine. We can talk ourselves into anything when we are feeling good. I can assure you, after that one, I am going to be more careful the rest of the year....but that is typical....make the devout promise after I already get the annual sunburn.

Well, I am headed out the door to go find a new bottle of fresh sunscreen and make sure I never forget my hat or to apply my minerals to my scalp, again. It is all about routine, and I had not been in this one for over 8 months. Why do I go through this every year? It is so simple, sun = burn. Pretty simple equation to remember, yet I not only fall short of my own advice, I see others do it over and over again as they strip down to nothing and expose every part of their body to soak up the first signs of summer rays. We are all addicted to the same feeling the sun gives us. This is why it is so important to take our sun in very small doses for body health and overall well being.

Cover up folks and enjoy your lovely weather wherever you may live. Cheers!

P.S. Went sunscreen shopping and after a long search I found a brand that has no avobenzone in the product. It also contains Titanium Dioxide at 7% ratio along with the typical chemical sunscreens at lower percentages. This is excellent for an all around sunblocking agent. It also contains inorganic and organic ingredients. It is Bull Frog Super Block with an SPF of 50. It is the new addition to their line of products. Totally unscented too! Not recommended for using on the face! The consistency could block facial pores and cause acne.

Now I wrote about any sunscreen being higher than an SPF 30, was unnecessary and was all about marketing, but this was the only one I could find with the essential mineral sun blocker Titanium Dioxide in it. The commercial market choices are very limited so you will more than likely have to target the private sector of those selling their own line. I also am sure the SPF rating is higher due to the content of TD based on ratios of similar brands and their ratings with the other active sunscreens added. Pretty spendy though for a really basic formula, nothing special....around $8 at Wal Mart for 5 ounces, but the sun protection is excellent with TD in it.

Although it was great for short notice protection after my annual burn, I found it to be very drying. I could literally feel the moisture being sucked out of my skin. This made my skin an ashy grayish blue color and caused my skin to flake and peel. It also did not go on easily at all. A lot of drag on my sensitive skin. Do not put this on your face...unless you love acne! Stick with your mineral makeup foundation! So I plan on purchasing some of Dr. Mercolas Natural Sunscreen for myself! If anyone else has tried this, let us know since future readers will be most grateful for the feedback.

If anyone has better suggestions of where to find more natural sunscreens or sunblockers, feel free to share with us. But this version of Bull Frog was pretty darn close for what I look for in products going on my skin....keeping it simple, fewest chemicals as possible. Is it absolutely ideal in terms of ingredient list?...... not quite....but definitely better than most brands on the market today. Skin cancer is far worse!

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