Have you ever heard the expression two wrongs don’t make a right? Perhaps someone should have warned one woman that she about to find out how true that saying is before she learned from her own experience. Recently, a Reddit post showing before and after photos of a woman sporting a sunburn went viral. In the before pic, the woman is shown sans makeup so as to give the viewer an up close view of what a painful sunburn looks like. The after picture shows the same woman after using a full coverage foundation. The result? One might believe they were looking at a skincare advert; the signs of sunburn untraceable; the woman’s skin dewy and soft.
The viewer response? Overwhelmingly positive. Headlines declared, “This is the best foundation for covering sunburn! It completely conceals sun damage!” The response from the dermatological community? A little less so. Even though foundation may provide a great way to cover the symptoms of a sunburn, it actually hinders the healing process.
Sunburnt Skin Needs to Heal
Dermatologist Dendy Engelman weighs in on the post saying, “Extremely burnt skin is damaged and needs time to heal. Applying makeup, especially if it has chemicals and irritants, can cause more inflammation to the skin. You want your skin to heal properly and quickly. It’s more important to focus on products that soothe and combat damage.”
Even though hiding the inflammation and redness may seem to be the priority, Dr. Engelman advises emphasizing proper skin care over minimizing the burn’s appearance. “Apply some aloe to help cool and heal and use a product with antioxidants to combat all the free radical damage,” she says. If coverage is important, the doctor advises using powder based makeup which goes on more smoothly and is less irritating to damaged skin.
Fortunately, if you have added insult to injury by first allowing yourself to burn and then trying to conceal it, there is an all in one solution for both problems: apple cider vinegar. Just add a cupful or two to a bath and soak for 10 minutes. Dr. Engelman says that this ingredient will soothe the skin while balancing its pH level.
Of course, the best way to avoid the ill-advised use of makeup to conceal a burn is to not get a burn at all. So let’s take a moment to review the ways of doing just that:
- Always Wear Sunscreen
Always wear a broadband sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Apply it 15 to 20 minutes before venturing out in the sun. Once out, reapply every two hours, especially if you’ve been swimming or sweating. Apply to all parts of your body, including the part in your hair and the tops of your ears.
- Wear Protective Clothing
If you’re really serious about blocking the sun’s rays, you need to make sure you wear clothes that you can’t see your hand through. Sheer fabrics will not provide enough coverage Wear a hat to block the sun from your face and wear sunglasses to protect eyes from UV rays.
- Avoid the Sun When It Is Hottest
The sun is at its strongest between ten in the morning and four in the afternoon. Try to avoid the sun during these hours and take frequent shade breaks to keep from prolonged exposure. Be especially diligent about rules during these hours.
Let us know what you do when you get an unavoidable sunburn? How do you stay safe while looking great?