It’s summertime and everyone is at the beach, pool, or on their boat. The majority of those people are coming home after a long day in the sun with sunburns (like me). So we decided to get an experts opinion on natural remedies, like coconut oil, for prevention, relief, and healing of sunburns.
Dr Khongruk Wongkittiroch is a senior dermatology resident finishing up her last year of residency. She is currently working with Bay Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery. They are a large dermatology group with 7 offices that span 3 different counties, including Pinellas and Hillsborough in Florida. On the webpage, there are bios of all their physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and aestheticians, as well as the locations and directions to all of their offices. They are also equipped with multiple lasers and offer a wide array of both medical and cosmetic dermatology services.
Thanks to Dr. Khongruk Wongkittiroch for taking time out of her busy schedule to answer our questions on sunburns!
1. What are the best ways to prevent sunburn in the first place?
Wear sunscreen with both UVA and UVB coverage, even on cloudy days and when inside, as some UV rays can penetrate through glass. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends a sunscreen of at least SPF 30 and above and to reapply if you are expected to be in the sun for longer than 2 hours. We also recommend avoiding peak UV radiation hours (usually between 11a-4p). There are also multiple brands that sell Sun-protective clothing along with wide-brimmed hats for “beach days.”
2. Are all sunscreens alike?
All sunscreens are not created equal. The best sunscreens will have both UVA and UVB coverage, and contain chemical and physical blockers (titanium dioxide and zinc). The vehicle is also important to consider as sunscreens come in a variety of lotions, creams, sprays, tinted foundations, and even make-up grade powder. The best way to decide is to try different ones and choose the best for your skin type and lifestyle.
3. What are natural remedies for sunburn relief?
Sunburns are essentially the body’s way of telling you you’ve had too much UV exposure, and the peeling process is it’s way of shedding the photodamaged skin. Anything soothing would work to help relieve the symptoms associated with sunburns, including aloe, oatmeal, vitamin C/E and other compounds with antioxidants.
4. When should you seek medical help for a sunburn if other remedies don’t work?
Some people can develop severe sunburns which can lead to a dehydrated and lethargic stupor. Patients should seek medical help when they are experiencing systemic signs of phototoxicity or photoallergy, including but not limited to, nausea/vomiting, headache, lethargy, fever and dehydration.
5. What are your experiences with coconut oil?
Coconut oil is a great massage oil for the skin and acts as a moisturizer to restore the skin barrier and prevent water loss.
Thanks again Dr. Khongruk Wongkittiroch! If you have further questions please visit Bay Dermatology’s website.