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Sunburn treatment may start in your fridge

by , 23 July 2014

No one sets out to get sunburned, but the pleasant distractions of warmer weather - the longer, sunny days, the beckoning beach and losing track of time in the garden - all make it easy to forget that extra coat of sunscreen, or the need to take a break in the shade.

Of course, it's best to practice sunburn prevention and stop a burn before it starts, seeing as those it's one of the main causes of skin cancer and premature ageing.

Luckily these 14 foods that are in your kitchen, either contain compounds that aid to your current sun-protection routine... Or they offer surprising relief if you do accidentally catch too many rays.

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Check out these common kitchen ingredients to help you deal with - or prevent - summer sunburns...

1.   Potatoes may be a no-no if you’re trying to lose weight, but keep a few on hand in case sunburn strikes. The potato’s starchy compounds will help take the sting out of sunburn. Cut a raw potato into slices and rub a piece on your most painful spots. For a more intensive treatment, grate a cold raw potato and apply it as a bandage.

2.   Oatmeal provides the best type of relief when your whole body is sunburned. Grind up a cup of oatmeal in a food processor, add it to cool bathwater and soak.

3.   Green Tea’s catechin compounds help protect you against the sun's harmful radiation and its tannic acid helps soothe sunburn pain. Studies suggest drinking just two cups a day could help provide added sun protection. (You should still use other sun protection methods.) If you're suffering from a scorched face, soak two tea bags in cool water and apply to your aching eyelids.

4.   Pomegranates are a rich source of ellagic acid, which can help protect your skin from UVA- and UVB-induced cell damage. Indulge in pomegranates during the summer months. This fruit’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties will add another layer of sun protection to your routine.

5.   Strawberries’ tannin content helps reduce the sting of a sunburn. Mash a few ripened strawberries and slather on your sunburn for natural relief. Rinse off after a few minutes.

6.   Cucumbers offer sunburn relief on par with store-bought sunburn-relief products, without added chemical preservatives and harmful fragrances. Mash a cucumber and apply it to your skin. Cucumber can also provide sun protection in a pinch. Grab a cucumber, peel and chop it, then squeeze out all the juice. Mix it with glycerine and rosewater and you have your very own sun screen lotion.

7.   Guavas help create an antioxidant-rich diet that preps your skin for more potent sun protection before you even step foot outside. One guava contains about five times more vitamin C, a skin-healing antioxidant, than a medium-sized orange.

8.   White Vinegar’s acetic acid acts like a topical non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (think aspirin and ibuprofen). If you’re red (just not blistered), dab a bit of distilled white vinegar onto your sunburn. It’ll kill the pain for about 20 minutes.

9.   Tomatoes help protect your skin from sun damage. In one study, volunteers who ate five tablespoons of lycopene-rich tomato paste daily for three months enjoyed 25% more natural protection against sunburn. Add fresh tomatoes or organic ketchup to your meals for a lycopene burst.

10.   Calendula is an easy-to-grow plant that’s full of anti-inflammatory properties that ease burns. Make a plaster of calendula blossoms and apply to your sunburn to help accelerate healing.

11.   Aloe is popular in many health drinks, but the succulent plant shows promise in sunburn relief, too. Break off a leaf and apply the juice to your sunburned skin. (Test a small spot first to make sure you’re not allergic.) If you don’t have an aloe plant in your house, buy a bottle of pure aloe vera gel at a pharmacy, chill it in the fridge and apply.

12.   Lettuce’s natural pain-killing properties can help wipe away sunburn pain. Simply boil lettuce leaves in water. Strain them and then let the liquid cool for several hours in the refrigerator. Once chilled, dip cotton balls into the lettuce water and gently wipe over your irritated skin.

13.   Fat-Free Milk creates a protein film on your skin that’ll help ease the discomfort of fresh sunburn. Apply cool, not cold, milk to your skin using a clean cloth or gauze. Apply for 15 to 20 minutes every two to four hours.

14.   Dark Chocolate is high in cocoa. This means that double the amount of UV is required for you get sunburned. The mechanism has to do with its catechins (the same ones in green tea) but cocoa eating has a very cool added effect for protecting the skin…  It increases the skin density and hydration. Eat 40g of 70% cacao a day.
 
Whatever food you choose to help heal your sunburn, one thing's for sure… You won't have to worry about the safety of that product. Many of these foods are already in your kitchen, which also means that you can get instant relief… Naturally!


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