7 Home Remedies to Relieve a Sunburn
Mark’s Daily Apple
by Mark Sisson: Eating
Earth: Exploring the Mysterious World of Geophagy
like to say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure are
smug jerks, especially when it comes to sunburns. While they were
eating spoonfuls of tomato paste, canned flamingo, and fish
oil, nibbling on grape seeds, using portable vitamin
D test kits, and smearing green tea all over their bodies, sure,
get burned, but were they really living? Because you sure were.
You were out there in the sun, just basking in it, arms outstretched
to accept its vibrant rays like it was a commercial for a venereal
disease medication. You may have gotten a little baked, a little
too much color, but it was well worth it… right?
Well, now you've
gotta deal with this sunburn business. It's red, it hurts, it's
veritably unhealthy, and you're about to start peeling. What do
you do? How can you soothe the flaming epidermis? How can you halt,
or perhaps even reverse the damage before it gets out of hand?
has apparently found the culprit responsible for a sunburn's pain:
molecule called CXCL5. CXCL5 is a chemokine, a protein that
recruits inflammatory immune cells to damaged tissue. In sunburned
tissue, researchers found that CXCL5 was present in large quantities.
Later, they found that as sunburned rats healed, an antibody began
specifically targeting and reducing CXCL5 levels. This reduced pain.
As of now, there exists no known home remedy (or pharmaceutical
remedy) for triggering CXCL5 antibodies – if that's even something
we want to mess around with, since pain exists for a reason – but
there are many home remedies for dealing with the pain.
remedies for sunburns are plentiful, but few have anything to
back them up but hearsay and anecdote.
Anecdote can be incredibly useful (I've included some of the more
interesting ones below), but let's also take a look to see which
remedies, if any, have supporting evidence.
Aloe vera is
the classic remedy. You get a bad sunburn and almost anyone's initial
response is "Apply some aloe." Is this advice warranted? Well, the
actual aloe vera plant has over two millennia of history as a medicine
across many traditional cultures spanning multiple regions, including
China, India, Latin America, Japan, Russia, and Africa. Modern research
has confirmed its effects on blood
tolerance, wound healing (has been shown to slow and speed up
healing rates in different studies), and first- and second-degree
burn recovery, but, strangely enough, not on sunburn. It neither
nor heals sunburns. That said, it does appear to soothe the
pain associated with sunburns, so go ahead and apply away.
The kukui tree
was introduced to the Hawaiian islands roughly 1,500 years ago by
early Polynesian explorers. It was henceforth and hitherto employed
by the islands' inhabitants in both medical and nonmedical arenas,
in particular the oil from the kukui nut. Kukui nut oil was used
as fuel, as a laxative, as a topical joint pain and arthritis
reliever, and, most famously, as a reliever of skin conditions –
including sunburn. The oil's efficacy has never been "proven," but
I think 1,500 years of steady use (PDF)
by a sunbaked population with extensive sunburn experience elevates
kukui nut oil beyond mere anecdote.
the rest of the article
July 27, 2011
© 2011 Mark's Daily Apple
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