Coconut Oil for Sunburn – Protection, Safety & Effectiveness

5. Coconut Oil for Sunburn1
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Some individuals assert that coconut oil can soothe sunburn. Oil-based moisturizers, however, may make sunburn worse by causing the skin to retain heat.

Benefits of Coconut Oil for Sunburn

The potential advantages of using coconut oil as a sunburn remedy have not been recently investigated.

Virgin coconut oil’s effects on albino mice’s sunburned skin were examined in an animal study conducted in 2020. The study did not examine whether virgin coconut oil sped up the healing of sunburns any more quickly than a placebo, despite the fact that the researchers discovered that the oil’s anti-inflammatory properties and reduced skin thickening due to UV damage.

Therefore, it is uncertain whether coconut oil might be useful for treating sunburn. The SCF warns that applying oils to sunburns could make the symptoms worse. Because blocked pores on the skin can trap heat and increase pain and the feeling of burning, coconut oil has the potential to irritate skin. Acne can also be caused by blocked pores.

Therefore, it may be the case that coconut oil performs better at minimizing UV-related harm once a sunburn has healed.

To prove this, more thorough study on the effects of coconut oil on people is required.

Why You Shouldn’t Apply Coconut Oil to a Sunburn

In particular if your skin is raw or blistered, experts generally agree that applying coconut oil to a fresh sunburn is not a good idea.

At room temperature, coconut oil solidifies into a thick, fatty substance that resembles vaseline. According to cosmetic dermatologist Kenneth Mark, MD, it’s also one of the last things you want to apply to sunburned skin because it doesn’t address the effects of a burn.

This is due to the fact that rubbing any kind of oil over a freshly burned area of skin will trap heat and exacerbate the burn. This could delay healing by extending the inflammatory response and keeping your skin hot and red for longer.

How to Use Coconut Oil for Sunburn

According to a 2021 review articleTrusted Source, most sunburns heal without any treatment at all. However, there are a number of things one can try at home to help with mild sunburn symptoms.

Coconut oil may trap heat in the skin, so it is unlikely to be an effective first-line treatment for someone who has just experienced sunburn. Instead, it is best to use other remedies first, such as:

  • taking frequent cool baths to reduce heat
  • applying a hydrocortisone cream to inflamed areas after bathing
  • using a moisturizer that contains aloe vera or soya
  • avoiding anesthetic creams, such as those that contain benzocaine, as this may cause more irritation
  • drinking extra water to prevent dehydration
  • taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce pain
  • protecting the skin from further sun exposure by covering it up when outside

Anyone who wants to use coconut oil can buy virgin coconut oil and apply it directly to their skin as a balm. They can also use a moisturizer that has this component in it as an alternative. It might be best to carry out this action after the sunburn has fully recovered.

Other home remedies that people can try include:

  • Colloidal oatmeal: Cool colloidal oatmeal baths are advised for sunburn by some medical professionals and facilities. The treatment of dry or itchy skin with colloidal oatmeal is popular.
  • Aloe vera lotion: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source suggest using aloe vera lotion as a sunburn treatment. An older study from 2011Trusted Source notes that aloe has a soothing, cooling effect. It works well as a moisturizer and, according to experts, it encourages the growth of new cells.
  • Black and green tea: Cooled black or green tea is used as a sunburn treatment in traditional Chinese medicine. Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties can be found in tea. Green tea, in particular, may lessen the number of cells that sunburn damages, according to studies on animals that show tea to be able to reduce UV damage. The chilled tea can be used topically by individuals.

Sunburn with blistering

It is significant to note that a different course of action is required if blisters develop as a result of sunburn. One should refrain from touching or breaking the blisters. Instead, to stop infection, they should lightly bandage the area in sterile gauze. Once the blisters have ruptured, people can apply hydrocortisone cream.

If a sunburn is blistering and it appears that an infection is present, an antiseptic ointment may also be an option. Due to the potential for a skin reaction to the ointment, people should only do this on a dermatologist’s advice.

It is importantTrusted Source to contact a doctor straight away if a person with sunburn:

  • Is dehydrated
  • Has a fever higher than 101°F (38°C)
  • Has severe sunburn that covers more than 15% of their body
  • Experiences extreme pain that lasts longer than 48 hours
5. Coconut Oil for Sunburn2

When to Use Coconut Oil

After the worst of your sunburn has healed, you could test out coconut oil’s moisturizing properties. It might not provide as much relief as other treatments, such as anti-inflammatory aloe vera gel or rich moisturizing creams.

Also, you might want to test it out first on a small area of skin. You could apply it several times per day if you don’t have any negative reactions. To ensure that the product is as clean and pure as possible, look for one that has few, if any, additional added ingredients.

Consider how important it is to prevent sunburn in the first place as well. According to Markowitz, sunburn results in skin aging, wrinkles, and ultimately skin cancer. It’s time to start including daily sunscreen application in your routine, if you haven’t already.

And no, coconut oil is not a good alternative to sunscreen. According to a 2011 study, olive, coconut, and peanut oils all effectively block 20% of the sun’s UV rays. However, those levels pale in comparison to SPF 15, 30, and 50, which each filter out 97% to 98% of the sun’s rays.

“It is vital to always apply sunscreen a part of your morning routine after you moisturize and before you apply makeup,” says Markowitz. “To ensure that your SPF is absorbed by your skin, it is crucial to begin your routine at least 30 minutes before you leave the house.”

Is It Safe to Treat Your Sunburn With Coconut Oil?

Yes, but only at a specific point in the burn process; otherwise, it could make matters worse. While coconut oil can have significant skin benefits, it’s only a good addition to your post-sun skincare routine if it’s used at the right time.

Murphy-Rose advises against using any occlusive products, such as oils and ointments, for the first few days after getting a sunburn; this is why aloe vera has traditionally been preferred over coconut oil.

Applying coconut oil can smother the skin and make your burn appear and feel worse due to its occlusive properties, so you should avoid doing so on freshly burned skin. This is due to the fact that rubbing any oil over a fresh sunburn will keep the heat on your skin’s surface. This can make the burn worse, cause more inflammation, and keep your skin hot and red, delaying the healing process.

Murphy-Rose asserts that you’re better off sticking to non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, combined with aloe vera gel, hydrocortisone cream, and cool compresses until your burn has subsided a bit, which brings us to our next point. This is due to the potentially harmful effects of applying coconut oil to burned skin right away.

How to Prevent Sunburn

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)Trusted Source notes that skin cancer rates are rising. Taking precautions to avoid getting sunburned is essential because it lowers the risk of skin cancer.

Coconut oil does not work as a sunscreen. It might have a tiny amount of SPF, but not enough to shield the skin from UV deterioration. For this, a person needs a broad-spectrum sunscreen that has an SPF of 30 or aboveTrusted Source and protects against both UVA and UVB light.

The sunscreen should ideally be applied at least 30 minutes before exposure to the sun, and while you are outside, you should reapply it every 90 minutes. Reapplying sunscreen after drying off is imperative if the skin becomes wet.

Other measures to prevent sunburn include:

  • Covering the skin: Don’t expose any skin; cover it up with clothing. Long sleeves, pants, and hats with wide brims are a few examples of this. While still providing coverage for the skin, light fabrics like cotton and linen can help someone stay cool.
  • Limiting sunlight exposure: The early morning hours are when UV light is strongest. and 4 p.m. Stay inside or in the shade if you must be outside during these times. Those who frequently travel by car or plane or sit near windows should take precautions nonetheless because windows do not block out UVA light.
  • Refraining from tanning or using tanning beds: There is no such thing as a healthy natural tan because all tanning causes some level of skin damage from UV rays. The SCF estimates that just one tanning bed session before the age of 35 increases the risk of developing melanoma by 75%. In terms of cases of skin cancer worldwide, indoor tanning is more common than smoking is for lung cancer. It is safer to use fake tanning products if you want to look tanned.

Is Coconut Oil Effective at Soothing a Sunburn?

The general consensus is that coconut oil may help with superficial sunburns but shouldn’t be used for burns that are deeper than first-degree and never before the skin has already begun to cool down.

In the early stages of a sunburn, I still prefer aloe vera. Since it won’t obstruct skin or retain heat, it can be applied right away to calm (and even cool) the skin. She prefers to apply a thick moisturizing cream after the skin has cooled. [choosing creams] containing ceramides, shea butter, oatmeal, and hyaluronic acid to keep the skin barrier calming and shielded during the shedding process.

When to Skip the Coconut Oil

We know, we know, we’ve been over this. But let’s be absolutely clear. The situations listed below indicate when coconut oil should never, ever be used to treat sunburns.

  • Immediately after you get burned
  • While skin still feels hot to the touch
  • If there are any blisters in sight
  • If it’s anything other than a first-degree burn

After a sunburn, there are numerous natural remedies that can aid in healing and soothing our skin. When the sunburn is mild and there is no exposed skin underneath it, it is safe to use home remedies. However, it is advised that you visit a doctor if it is a second or third-degree burn, which can result in a high fever or extreme pain, nausea or vomiting, blisters covering a larger area of the body, and yellow drainage oozing from the blisters.

How Coconut Oil Compares to Aloe Vera for Sunburn Relief

Aloe vera is now widely acknowledged as the go-to remedy for soothing sunburns. That’s because aloe vera, in Green’s opinion, is a natural source of antioxidants and antibacterial substances that combine to prevent the growth of bacteria, encourage healing, and result in generally healthier skin. Studies have shown that aloe vera is an effective topical treatment for first- and second-degree burns. Aloe vera is also well known for accelerating the healing of burns. Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties, enzymes, vitamins A and E, and can help with dry skin, acne (but only superficial acne, not deep or cystic acne), and inflammation.

There are advantages to using coconut oil, of course. When you want a moisturizer that is simple and soothing, coconut oil is a great option. After a strenuous day in the sun, coconut oil and aloe vera gel make a wonderful natural combination. Your skin feels calming, revitalized, and moisturized when aloe vera gel and coconut oil combine to produce such wonderful results.

Coconut Oil Vs Aloe Vera for Sunburn

Apply aloe vera gel if the sunburn is still fresh. If the sunburn has cooled down, use coconut oil. Because it has enzymes, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, and vitamins A and E, aloe vera gel offers immediate relief. The sunburn takes time to heal, which is the only drawback to using coconut oil in this situation.

FAQs

Does Coconut Oil Prevent Sunburn

For helping to prevent sunburn in the first place, coconut oil has been promoted as a natural sunscreen. Research has shown coconut oil has an SPF of 7.1, but that’s not nearly enough to protect you from sunburn.

Does Coconut Oil Cause Sunburn

You shouldn’t apply coconut oil to sunburn because it can trap heat on your skin. Coconut oil is too thick to function as a moisturizer and can prolong painful inflammation. If you’re going outside, use sunscreen that has an SPF of 30 or higher to prevent sunburn.

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