How CBD Can Help Sunburn
Burning, blistering, itching, peeling skin - sunburn is a tough price to pay for a few precious hours on the beach (or ski slopes - UV rays can bounce off snow and cause sunburn, too).
We’ve all experienced the agony that goes alongside sunburnt skin, but most people probably don’t know why our bodies react the way they do, or why they automatically reach for a tube of aloe vera when they feel the first hint of a burn. Don’t get us wrong, aloe has its time and place but so does CBD. There’s not much research on the subject, but it’s worth exploring, especially when you consider the plethora of inflammation-reducing properties present in CBD.
In this blog, we’ll unpack the science behind sunburn and offer some reasons to consider CBD instead of, or alongside aloe vera as your soothing treatment of choice.
The Science of Sunburn
Simply put, it all comes down to inflammation. When skin reaches the limit of UV rays it’s able to tolerate, the body releases an immune response, working immediately to repair cell damage as soon as the skin is no longer exposed to UV rays.
Think about the ride home from the beach or lake. As soon as you’re out of the sun, your body sets to work correcting the damage inflicted upon it.
You’ll probably experience symptoms of sunburn a few hours after exposure, although some people develop symptoms sooner depending on the severity of the burn. Depending on whether yours is a first or second-degree burn, you might experience:
- Redness and flushed, hot skin
- Peeling skin
In more severe cases, you may experience:
- Nausea and vomiting
And in the most extreme cases, sunburn can cause the same symptoms as above in addition to:
- Low blood pressure
- Extreme weakness
As far as we know, CBD can’t reverse or prevent all of these conditions, but strong preliminary evidence suggests that the compound could work wonders as an inflammation-reducing agent.
Before heading out on the lake or relaxing on the beach, make sure you pick out a sunscreen that’s appropriate for your skin tone. While you’re at it, throw some of our topical CBD lotion in your bag. This ultra-moisturizing balm helps heal and restore skin’s elasticity and vibrancy, and the 500mg formula will leave you wondering why you never used CBD cream for sunburn before.
Sunburn Should Be Treated as Seriously as a Fever
Most sunburns are mild and don’t require medical intervention, but even in those cases, it’s important to treat the affected areas as soon as possible. That’s because even the mildest sunburn can cause lasting damage to the outermost layers of skin.
We’re not here to try and scare you or tell you to stay out of the sun forever, but we strongly suggest taking appropriate steps to protect yourself from sun damage before and after spending time outside. You can follow these steps to reduce your risk of potentially fatal dermis-related conditions post-sunburn:
Seek immediate medical attention.
See a doctor if you have severe blistering covering a large section of your body, have a fever and chills, feel woozy or confused, or are displaying signs of infection including red streaks or oozing pus in the affected area.
Quickly cool your skin by taking a quick dip in a nearby pool, lake, or river.
Stay in for just a few seconds so you don’t prolong your exposure (remember, UV rays can bounce off of water and make the burn worse). After cooling your skin, cover up and get out of the sun immediately. Apply cold compresses to the affected areas, but don’t put ice directly on the burn - this could dry your skin out further.
Use a gentle moisturizing lotion while your skin is still damp.
We suggest using our 500mg CBD lotion for an anti-inflammatory boost. If you forgot to bring your CBD balm, any gentle moisturizer will do. Just make sure it’s not petroleum- or oil-based. These products can trap heat and make the burn worse.
You can also apply aloe vera to the affected area. The substance is well-known for its ability to provide cooling relief to sunburned skin, and there are no known interactions between aloe vera and CBD.
Reduce discomfort and inflammation by taking CBD or an NSAID, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, at the first sign of sunburn.
Only take an NSAID if it is safe for you to do so; unfortunately, these over-the-counter drugs come with plenty of risks. If you do decide to take ibuprofen, aspirin, or a related drug, we suggest that you refrain from taking CBD, or space the doses by at least several hours. These compounds are both metabolized by the liver and can overwhelm the organ if you take them at the same time.
Drink extra fluids to keep your body hydrated.
Sunburn draws fluids to your skin and away from the rest of the body, so it’s important to rehydrate with water, sports drinks containing electrolytes, and other liquids (excluding soda) to give your body the hydration it needs to heal.
CBD for Sunburn Relief
If you remember the Science of Sunburn section above, you’ll remember that inflammation is the culprit behind the pain and discomfort we feel during sunburn. Inflammation is our body’s way of alerting the immune system to act and shed damaged cells. It’s a necessary process, but that doesn’t mean it’s enjoyable.
Here’s the good news: CBD can prevent the painful effects of inflammation while allowing your body to heal itself. CBD is an amazing little compound because it boasts numerous inflammation-reducing and antioxidant properties that soothe and heal damaged skin.
How does one chemical compound do so much? We must rely on science for answers. Luckily, a plethora of research has been published in the past 20 years revealing the potential benefits of CBD for skin conditions. Here’s how CBD can help sunburn:
CBD Combats Oxidative Stress
Oxygen - necessary but mercurial, given to changes in behavior nearly as much as a Gemini. We need oxygen to survive, but oxygen also forms chemicals that can wreak havoc on our bodies.
These chemicals are called reactive oxygen species, or free radicals. Free radicals serve a purpose in cell signaling, but an imbalance between free radicals and the compounds that keep them in check (antioxidants) can lead to serious cellular dysfunction.
Oxidative stress occurs when our bodies contain too many free radicals and too few antioxidants. The #1 free radical that causes sunburns? Radiation from the sun or tanning bed.
Now for the good part: taking CBD post-sunburn. After ingesting CBD, the compound sets to work immediately through the endocannabinoid system. This system helps regulate tons of biological functions including the immune system and the production of cells, proteins, and tissues.
CBD functions as an antioxidant, working alongside the endocannabinoid system to fight the buildup of free radicals and reducing inflammation in the body. Essentially, CBD helps take some of the burden off of the immune system, which would otherwise be fighting those free radicals alone.
CBD has been found to capture free radicals and is even capable of transforming them into less active forms. Cannabidiol is unassuming, but it’s nothing short of an inflammation-fighting powerhouse.
Say Goodbye to Summer Stress with Medsana CBD
The second you notice the telltale tinge of sunburn, reach for our CBD lotion for pain. It’ll soothe your dry, irritated skin and help lessen the risk of serious skin problems. We’re not going to tell you to never step foot outside; we’re just here to give you the tools to fight sunburn and enjoy your summer sans inflammation.
Browse our collection of CBD wellness products today.