The UK is finally enjoying a heatwave after a wet and rainy start to the year.
It’s important to stay safe in the summer sun and avoid skin damage – especially as most of us have had barely any exposure recently.
But, with temperatures looking like they’ll stick in the mid-twenties for weeks to come, it's likely that more than a few of us will get burnt.
The temptation of a tan often makes people forget how painful sunburn can be… and it has even worse effects on your health.
According to Melanoma UK, it only takes one blistering sunburn to double a person’s chances of developing melanoma later in life, with 90% thought to be caused by exposure to sun and UV light.
Sunburn can also be extremely painful and result in tenderness, blisters, swelling and even headaches, nausea and fatigue.
To help get relief from the pain of sunburn TikTok users have been sharing hacks for preventing and soothing skin damage.
Stephanie Taylor, Health and Wellbeing Expert at StressNoMore explained why some of them could be dangerous…
Mouthwash is usually used to prevent gum disease and leave your mouth feeling minty fresh, but not for one user.
The TikToker revealed she fills a spray bottle with Listerine and sprays it directly on her sunburn to calm the sting.
This is a very bizarre and extreme way to relieve the pain of sunburn and is absolutely not a fail-safe method.
While the menthol or eucalyptol in the mint flavours may have cooling properties, it's the 26.9% alcohol content in the original flavour, plus ingredients such as benzoic acid, that are problematic.
That’s because repeated or prolonged exposure to either product can result in drying or cracking of the skin as well as redness and itching. You’d end up back at square one.
Hack: White Vinegar
Similarly, vinegar is useful for other things such as adding flavour to recipes or for cleaning.
However, some TikTok users have resorted to using it on sunburn, arguing a vinegar bath can help.
Absolutely not. Vinegar has extremely high acidity and PH levels of around 2 or 3.
By putting undiluted vinegar on your skin, it can damage the skin’s already fragile barrier and result in more pain and inflammation, plus potential chemical burns if exposed to bare skin for too long.
Aside from that, if you are suffering from extreme sunburn, this will really sting and can cause extra pain and discomfort.
Hack: Sour Cream
In some extreme cases, TikTok stars have been scouring the contents of their fridges for items to apply to their sunburn.
One user instructs others to spread it all over their sunburn and leave it on for an hour to eliminate all traces of sunburn.
Could do better. While one of the main active ingredients in sour cream is lactic acid, which can naturally remove dead skin to promote new skin cell generation – there are better ways than using something straight out of the fridge.
For sunburn, it's best to stick to traditional products containing ingredients that soothe and relieve pain caused by sunburns such as aloe vera, coconut oil or soy-based moisturisers and keep hydrated.
You can even put your after sun or moisturiser in the fridge for that cool hit.
Hack: Sunscreen Contouring
It seems like the world has been talking about this weird TikTok hack, where users are revealing they only put SPF 30 sunscreen on the high points of their face.
Convinced that the lower SPF will naturally contour the face, users believe the areas will become more bronzed, leaving you ‘snatched’.
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Like many others before us, we believe this to be incredibly dangerous for the sensitive skin on your face.
While this may have some short-term effects for facial tanning, the long-term effects could be dangerous and result in skin damage, early signs of ageing or even skin cancer.
In the summer, apply SPF 50 sun cream or moisturiser to your face every day to protect your skin from sun damage. This won't prevent you from tanning but could prevent long-lasting and irreversible skin damage.
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