The good news is the sun is warming, relaxing and life-giving. The sun's effect can even improve your mood, and doctors note that the sun boosts production of vitamin D in the body, but the burn from too much sun is a real buzzkill. In the quest to relieve the shameful pain of sun indulgence, many have tried all manner of substances, from butter to aloe vera gel and the bath and beauty aid, NoxzemaR. Noxzema was actually created specifically to relieve the uncomfortable effects caused by a sunburn, but is Noxzema good for sunburn?
What is sunburn?
What's sunburn? It may seem obvious, but it's a bit more complicated than you think. The sun emits radiation, and, with the damage pollution has done to our atmosphere, the radiation is less filtered than ever. Any prolonged exposure to the sun's rays can cause the skin damage known as sunburn. The sun's energy goes deep into the skin and damages the skin cells' DNA, according to the Mayo ClinicR. It also increases your risk of wrinkles, skin cancer, melanoma, actinic keratoses and liver spots. A really bad sunburn may lead to red, painful, hot and inflamed skin, blisters and even headache, fever and fatigue. The damage cannot be reversed, but you can alleviate your discomfort while your body heals itself.
Is Noxzema good for sunburn?
According to Adage, Noxzema's founder, Robert Townsend, made the product in 1911 specifically for sunburn, so it would stand to reason that the original cream would be good for sunburn, but the jury is mixed on the beneficial nature of Noxzema for sunburn. Noxzema's ingredient list poses a few concerns. The original Noxzema cream contains water, stearic acid, linseed oil, soybean oil, fragrance, ammonium hydroxide, camphor, menthol, eucalyptus globulus leaf oil, propylene glycol, gelatin and calcium hydroxide, according to Proctor and Gambel'sR materials safety data sheet. Several of these ingredients, according to Medline PlusR and the Cosmetics Database, can cause irritation and even burns, namely ammonium hydroxide, calcium hydroxide, propylene glycol, camphor, menthol and eucalyptus oil.
Additional treatment for sunburn
The Mayo Clinic recommends taking an anti-inflammatory medication as soon as you notice the sunburn and as long as it's okay with your doctor. Taking an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen early on has been shown to decrease the overall pain and inflammation of sunburn. Cold compresses and cool showers may go a long way to taking the sting out of painful sunburn. Additionally, you may apply aloe vera or other after-sun lotion to the skin to help relieve the pain and swelling after too much fun in the sun.
When to see the doctor
If your sunburn is not getting better after a few days, contact your doctor for advice and an appointment. If you have open blisters that appear infected or have a red line running up your arms or legs, this could be serious and you should seek immediate medical care. Never pick open watery blisters or peel back thin sheaths of skin while healing from a sunburn. Doing so can introduce bacterial and viral invaders into the body through the broken, vulnerable skin.