Mom’s trick for dealing with irritating sunburns seems to work, but is it safe?
One mom’s tips on how to deal with irritating sunburns has plenty on social media buzzing.
In the now-viral Facebook post from late June, mom Cindie Allen-Stewart shares how shaving cream with menthol helped her and her husband sooth sunburns.
“If you’re like me, you hate getting sunburned. No matter how much sunscreen you put on, some people just burn anyway,” she wrote. “Usually, it takes just a couple days from start to finish, but this takes the heat out of it fast and makes it more comfortable on you.”
She adds the shaving cream has to be a foam type versus gel, and has to have menthol in it. “We found Gillette shaving cream on Amazon since we had problems finding menthol foam in stores. We ended up buying six cans of it, but it works out because we live in Texas and sunburns happen a lot,” she said, adding it doesn’t have to be this specific brand, either.
Next, apply the shaving cream in your burn area and don’t rub it in. Let it sit on your skin, she adds. “You may feel like you are itchy too, but that’s a good thing,” she wrote. “Itching means healing.”
After 30 minutes of application (yes, it takes this long), the shaving cream will appear to have dissolved spots and be a little dried out. Some parts of your burn will appear to be cold, she adds.
“Next, rinse it off in a lukewarm or cool shower or bath. It’s just to get the residue off,” she explained. “Finally, if you still need it, do it again the next day. Usually after that second treatment, the sunburn disappears.”
Her Facebook post shows her treatment from start to finish, and the final picture was taken on the last day, showing her skin with less of a burn.
Is this safe?
After her post went viral, Allen-Stewart issued an edit to her status, as some users commented on why she didn’t use aloe vera instead, or questioned how safe shaving cream actually was.
“I am not allergic to aloe, but my husband has a sensitivity to it and can not use it. Yes, aloe does help too, but I think this way with the shaving cream is a lot faster,” she explained.
She also cleared up her methodology slightly, making sure readers knew it wasn’t an overnight fix.
“Lastly, it’s not just 30 minutes and done. It’s 30 minutes, rinse. The next day, if you still feel hot areas of a burn, reapply. Then wait another 30 minutes and rinse. It will look as if it’s dissolved and dried out a bit. That’s just how the shaving cream is. It has nothing to do with the burn, it just gives you a visual idea of what 30 minutes would look like. It still takes a day after the last application to show you a significant difference.”
But at the end, she did stand by her method as something that works for her.
Howard Sobel, a New York City-based dermatologist, told Allure after this post went viral that menthol does cool the skin after a burn, but it doesn’t get rid of it or take the heat out.
“Menthol has a cooling effect, which will help calm the discomfort of a sunburn,” he told the publication. “If there is aloe in the shaving cream, it will work as an anti-inflammatory, and help relieve the irritation of burnt skin.”
Speaking with NewBeauty, dermatologist Jill Rosenthal agreed and added menthol can help cool the burn, but the shaving cream itself isn’t doing anything other products can’t.
“The whole bit about the shaving cream starting to disappear and dry in areas is ridiculous. That’s what shaving cream would do after half an hour no matter where you put it.”
Protecting yourself this summer
Speaking with Global News previously, dermatologist Dr. Julia Carroll of Compass Dermatology in Toronto says there are several ways to protect ourselves from the sun.
“Apply sunscreen generously, every two hours and after you sweat or get wet,” she said. Also, avoid being in the sun between the hours of 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and wear sun protective clothing like hats and sunglasses.
And make sure your sunscreen has a minimum of SPF 30.
“And don’t forget the often-neglected spots, including the tops of your ears and feet and the back of your neck,” she said. “There is a sunscreen out there for everyone. With sprays, foams, gels and sticks available, there isn’t an excuse to not use SPF.”
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