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Feel the burn! How to soothe sunburn and heat rash after the heatwave

After scorching highs of over 30 degrees, most of us will have been out lapping up the sun. However, with sun often comes sunburn and heat rash – two very frustrating ailments that are part and parcel of the summer.

With the heatwave set to continue, we spoke to experts on how to combat your skin troubles after these sunny few days.

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Description automatically generatedSiobhan Obodai-Payne, senior midwife at Precious Delivery (pictured left), said: “With the weather being really warm at the moment, it’s important we know quick tips on soothing sunburn.

“More importantly, we need to know how to avoid sunburn – here are my top tips for avoiding sunburn or, if you do get sunburn, how to treat it.

“To make sure you’re avoiding the risk of sunburn, be sure to always wear sun cream and regularly re-apply, sit in the shade, wear a sun hat and sunglasses and avoid going out in the hottest part of the day – midday.”

In order to keep your skin cool, Siobhan suggested: “Wear loose clothing. Muslin material is great! Take cool baths or showers and definitely drink plenty of water.”

On calming the itching or prickly feeling of sunburn, she advised: “Applying a cold compress to the affected area and pat rash with cold compress. Avoid scratching as this will make it worse and avoid perfumed soaps and creams until the area has healed.”

Speaking from Sunshapers, a skincare company focusing on prebiotics, fat burning actives and tan accelerators, Charles Turpin, said: “Our prebiotics ensure the natural microbiome of the skin is at its optimum health to proactively prevent damage and heal any damage after excess sun exposure.

“To soothe burnt skin, be sure to remove yourself out of the sun as soon as possible. Cool your skin with a cool shower, bath or damp towel (take care not to let a baby or young child get too cold).

“Apply aftersun cream or spray with prebiotics, aloe vera and allantoin which calm and repair damaged skin cells. Be sure to drink plenty of water to cool your body down and prevent further dehydration.”

Charles explains the symptoms of heat rash to be “small, raised spots with an itchy, prickly feeling and mild swelling”.

He continued: “The rash often looks red and angry. The symptoms of heat rash are often the same in adults and children and it can appear anywhere on the body and spread but it cannot be passed on to other people.

“It is the same process as to how to soothe burnt skin but it is key to remove yourself from the heat source.”

He goes on to explain how “a quality SPF can reduce your skin cancer risk and slow down the signs of premature aging”.

“There are two types of UV light that can harm your skin — UVA and UVB. A broad-spectrum sunscreen protects you from both.

“UVA rays can prematurely age your skin, causing wrinkling and age spots. UVB rays can burn your skin. Too much exposure to UVA or UVB rays can cause skin cancer. The best sunscreen offers protection from UV light.”

Speaking from CrèmeFresh, a natural deodorant company, owner Rachel Hardwick said: “Here’s a tip, if you’ve overdone it in the sun and are feeling a little sore, good, old Vicks VapoRub or similar will naturally cool down your skin with its combination of cooling balm and menthol essential oils.

“Just gently smooth over your red areas and the cooling essential oils will do their job. The same ones we actually use in our deodorant too to help you stay cool. Stay safe in the sun!”

Rachael Hawksworth, a lifestyle, travel and events blogger, said: “Heat rash is absolutely horrible, terribly itchy and sticks with you for days. Something that helps with the symptoms immediately is a cold, damp towel placed across the area.

“Keep the area clean and be sure to keep it out of the sun for a few days. But in an ideal world prevention is better than treatment! Keep your skin clean and cool – when on holiday make sure to dip in the pool or the sea or sit in the shade if you feel yourself getting too hot.

“When you have spent the day sweating in the sun, make sure when showering to give your skin a good scrub. Heat rash happens when your sweat glands become blocked and sweat gets trapped so using a nice body scrub and exfoliating the areas which are prone to heat rash will significantly help you prevent getting heat rash!”