Burns are a common problem and are experienced by about 42% of people every year. Although common, burns make you more at risk for skin cancer if you experience it more than 5 times in your lifetime. Your skin can burn when exposed to the sun's UVA and UVB rays when unprotected by clothing or sunscreen. While you need about 20 minutes of sun exposure each day to produce healthy vitamin D, more sun exposure can increase your risk of burns. The scalp is one part of the body that is often forgotten to protect when you are enjoying time at the beach or in the sun. In fact, a simple hat or headgear is usually enough to protect against burns on the scalp.
Method 1 of 2: Treating Burns at Home
Step 1. Use lukewarm water or cold water for the scalp
While a warm, lukewarm shower may be uncomfortable, a troubled scalp will feel even more uncomfortable when exposed to hot water. So, lower the temperature of the water heater until it feels cooler and more comfortable to wash your hair than hot water on a burnt scalp.
You can also rub a washcloth soaked in cold water over your head while showering to relieve pain
Step 2. Avoid shampoos that contain sulfates
A sunburned scalp needs plenty of moisture to heal. Sulfates are salts in many shampoos and can dry out the scalp and make the condition worse. Read shampoo labels and avoid sulfates while your scalp is healing.
- In addition, you should also try using shampoos and conditioners that contain 18-MEA. Shampoos and conditioners that contain these ingredients will help provide moisture to the damaged scalp.
- Also avoid conditioners that contain dimethicone, a type of silicone that can clog pores and trap heat in the scalp, making the scalp condition worse and uncomfortable.
Step 3. Stop using hair dryers and straighteners
Tools that use heat, such as hair dryers and straighteners, will also cause discomfort as long as your scalp has not healed. The heat radiating from the appliance will also dry out more and exacerbate the problem on your scalp, so you should avoid using these tools for about a week until your scalp heals.
Most styling products contain chemicals that can irritate scalp burns. Try to reduce the use of styling products during the recovery period of the scalp
Step 4. Apply a cold compress
This step may be more difficult for long, thick hair, but applying a cold compress to the scalp can also help cool the skin and relieve discomfort there.
The use of cold skim milk as a compress is quite popular and is supported by some doctors. The protein in milk can help relieve discomfort as well as soothe painful sores. However, you may need to rinse your hair immediately afterward
Step 5. Moisturize the skin around the wound
Moisturizer will help cool and soothe a sore scalp. Topical moisturizers such as aloe vera gel or hydrocortisone ointment can also provide pain relief. Coconut oil is a safe choice of moisturizer to help relieve sunburn pain. Choose products fortified with vitamins E and C to help reduce damage to the scalp from sunburn.
- Coconut oil may find it easier to seep into your hair and reach your scalp. However, the oil may make your hair look limp while using it.
- Avoid sunburn products that contain lidocaine or benzocaine, both of which are allergy triggers. Apart from that, you can also get the same effect from other moisturizers.
Step 6. Meet the body's fluid needs
Drinking plenty of water is another way to help moisturize your skin. Make sure to meet the body's fluid needs during the recovery from burns by drinking at least 8 glasses of water every day.
The color of your urine is the easiest indicator to use to determine whether you are drinking enough fluids. The color of the urine should be clear or bright yellow
Step 7. Take an over-the-counter pain reliever
Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol can also relieve pain from sunburns. Use medication as directed and never exceed the recommended dose.
If sunburn is experienced by children, do not give drugs that contain aspirin because there is a risk of causing Reye's syndrome which endangers their safety
Step 8. Avoid further sun exposure
You should keep the sunburnt scalp away from the sun while it heals. You may need to wear a hat during this recovery period, however, choose a hat that is loose and will not trap heat on your scalp or compress your burn.
Step 9. Leave the skin on the blister
If your sunburn is severe enough to cause blisters on your scalp, don't puncture or crack it. Popping blisters from sun blisters is more likely to lead to skin infections and scar formation. Keep your scalp dry and allow the blisters to heal without applying moisturizing products directly to the surface.
Method 2 of 2: Knowing When to See a Doctor
Step 1. Notice if you feel dizzy or weak
While sunburns rarely affect only the scalp, complications can arise as a result, especially if the time you spend in the sun also triggers heat exhaustion. If you feel weak or have symptoms of dizziness immediately after spending time in the sun, you should rest in a cool, protected place, and be aware of other symptoms that require medical attention. Other symptoms include:
- Increased pulse or respiratory rate
- Extreme thirst
- Cessation of urine output
- Sunken eyes
- Sweaty skin
Step 2. Take body temperature
A high fever is another sign of heat exhaustion that requires medical attention. Seek help immediately if your fever exceeds 40°C.
Step 3. Monitor your ability to meet the body's fluid needs
You may feel nauseous after a sunburn. See your doctor if your nausea is accompanied by vomiting and makes it difficult for you to drink water to get an IV and prevent dehydration.
- Combing your hair will be painful for the first few days. So, comb your hair very gently.
- A hat is a great choice if you plan to spend a long time in the sun.
- There are liquid spray products that can help protect an unprotected scalp from the sun.
- Check to see if any of your medications are causing sun sensitivity as they may increase your chances of sunburn.
- Stay out of the sun during midday, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.