How to Heal a Sunburn and Maybe Suntans and Even Burns are Good for You?

So here’s the promised blog post about healing sunburns. I got such a bad burn last July on our trip to the beach in SoCal that it made it hard to sleep for a few nights. We did use sunblock, but I didn’t reapply it. I thought since it was SPF 50 or whatever the high number was that I didn’t need to, but we were out there in the blazing sun for about 5 hours, so maybe that’s why I got burned. Usually I am so much more careful. I remember my days at BYU, one summer I had a job at one of the cafeterias that started early in the morning. I always slathered on sunblock when my job was over for the day before I even stepped outside, and that was just to walk across campus.

Anyway, back to my more carefree middle-aged days, as we were prepping for bed that first night after the day at Corona Beach, some of us were already in pain from sunburns. Instead of reaching for the solarcaine, I found this fabulous natural, toxin-free cure for sunburns, thanks to the Food Renegade, Kristin Michaelis. Basically, you apply apple cider vinegar all over the burn, then lavender essential oil, then beef tallow from grass-fed cows. You would think that ACV would irritate the already burned skin, as it tastes so tingly and sour, but it didn’t hurt at all when I applied it. It actually helped cool the skin off. As I didn’t have any of tallow on hand in our condo, I didn’t use tallow. But I did apply some butter from grass-fed cows after I got home. I did happen to have some of that awesome Kerrygold brand, imported from Ireland, that I have been able to find at the Good Earth Natural Foods store and Smith’s grocery store, here in Utah. It’s rather expensive, so I had been saving it for a special treat. Little did I know I would be treating my skin with it. It worked! After one night, the sunburn had started to fade. The butter helped the skin not to be so itchy as the peeling started. I think the vinegar also helped it not peel quite so much. After a week, it had faded into a light tan.

I have been rethinking the whole sunlight = increased risk for skin cancer idea. After decades of having pasty white legs vanity is taking over me in my old age. I have to admit, after years of being so smugly virtuous about avoiding tanning because I had absorbed the mantra that “tanned skin is damaged skin,” that tanned skin does look better. Not the fake orange tan that some of the cheerleaders in my high school had, but a golden glow. Could it be that golden bronze skin really is a sign of health, because sun helps our skin make Vitamin D, which is needed for so many healthy functions of our body? I mean, even Dr. Mercola is selling tanning beds on his website, right here.

Someday maybe I can write a master’s thesis about suntans, maybe even sunburns (?), being good for you. I would synthesize the following information you might find interesting, especially if you are prone to depression. Maybe sunshine and tanned skin do equal happiness? Maybe the Beach Boys were on to something with their preference for California girls.

This PhD guy here says that the best thing for your skin is to tan gradually.

One of my favorite naturally healthy mom bloggers, Mommypotamus, says that sunbathing is really good for you here.

And if you are pregnant, it actually helps your unborn baby have stronger bones. Who would have thought?

Over here she says that sunlight can actually prevent cancer.

And over here she discusses the idea that nutrition, i.e. antioxidants, can take the place of sunscreen.

I know this blog post is late in the game as summer is almost over, but we still have plenty of opportunities to soak up some sun before winter/yucky inversions settle in. Enjoy the sun wisely and I think you will be happier!

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