Saturday, 30 Sep 2023

How to heal a burnt scalp – 4 natural remedies to fix ‘short term’ effects of sunburn

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Wearing a hat is the best way to protect your scalp from the sun, but it’s still easy to get caught out while enjoying the warm weather. While we are well-versed in applying sun cream and seeking shade, many of us neglect the sensitive skin which sits beneath our hair. Luckily there are several soothing and nourishing remedies which can heal a burnt, irritated scalp in just a few weeks. Here’s how to use them.

A sunburnt scalp can be painful and sore, not to mention embarrassing when the scorched skin begins to fall off in small flakes.

While this hot weather problem is annoying to say the least, it could also lead to more severe health problems down the line.

Anabel Kingsley, trichologist at Philip Kingsley said: “Our scalp is skin, and it can get damaged by the sun just like the skin on our face, arms and legs.

“Short term, this can cause problems like redness, soreness and subsequent peeling – but repeated sun exposure and incidences of sunburn can lead to skin cancer on our scalps.”

How to treat a burnt scalp

Prevention is always better than cure when it comes to sunburn, though there are a few easy to ease your symptoms and speed up the healing process.

Take regular cold showers

Hot, inflamed skin is almost instantly relieved by a cold compress, so taking a cold shower should help to cool down the damaged skin.

This helps to stop the inflammatory response in your cells and soothe the warm, itchy feeling.

Mara Weinstein Velez, dermatologist at the University of Rochester Medical Centre said: “If the burn is on the scalp, let cool water from the shower run over it until the sting is relieved (usually about five to 20 minutes depending on severity).”

She warned that ice should always be avoid as this can actually worsen the damage.

Use aloe vera gel

Aloe vera is one of the best natural remedies for sunburn and it will work just as well for you scalp as it would on your legs or arms.

The combination of hydration and anti-inflammatory properties makes aloe vera gel the perfect treatment, and has been hailed a “must have” ingredient by many healthcare professionals.

Gently pat the gel onto the skin several times per day for a speedy recovery.

You can buy aloe vera gel in a bottle or extract your own fresh from a home-grown aloe vera plant.

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Oats are often used in moisture-rich skincare products because they contain high levels of micronutrients such as vitamin E, folates, zinc, iron and carotenoids.

This nourishing ingredient can be finely ground down with a blender or pestle and mortar and mixed with water for a soothing treatment.

Alternatively, this natural ingredient can be mixed into bath water to heal your scalp while you soak.

Coconut oil

Rubbing coconut oil onto your hair will leave it looking greasy, but it is very effective for soothing itchiness and speeding up the healing process.

Not only is it intensely moisturising, but it will leave your hair smelling great too.

Just be sure to wash the oil out with a fragrance free shampoo after leaving it to sit for a few hours.

What are the symptoms of a sunburnt scalp?

The symptoms of a burnt scalp are almost always the same as sunburn elsewhere on your body.

According to the medically accredited website Healthline, the main signs include redness, itching, tenderness or pain, small fluid-filled blisters, and a warm or hot feeling when you touch the skin.

If you’re still unsure if you are dealing with sunburn, check your scalp.

Small flakes of skin lurking in your hair strands and redness on exposed areas of skin, such as your hair-parting, are both key signs.

In severe cases, you may also experience a headache, fever, nausea or unexplained fatigue.

Healthline recommended seeing a doctor if you suspect that your scalp is infected, or the pain won’t go away.

The common signs of infected burns include:

  • Increasing pain
  • Swelling
  • Pus draining from open blisters
  • Red streaks extending from an open blister

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