Hair, Skin, Nails : Ahhh: Soothing Aloe Vera

Even if you're a stickler about sunblock and stay in the shade away from the sun's harmful UV rays, it's hard to escape the summer without at least one sunburn. If your nose is pink or the skin on your shoulders feels hot and tender after a day of summer fun, reach for tried-and-true aloe vera, long known for its soothing effect on the skin.

Aloe is known as the ultimate skin healer, moisturizer, and softener. Applied topically, aloe heals burns and stimulates cell regeneration. It helps relieve discomfort and speed healing. In fact, some hospitals even use aloe vera for burn victims.

Fresh aloe is best -- break off a leaf and apply the juice to the sunburned area. If you don't have an aloe plant handy, look for a pure aloe vera product that doesn't contain mineral oil, coloring, or alcohol. Store it in the fridge for an extra cooling effect on the skin.

Aloe should not be used on severe burns. See a doctor if your sunburn causes severe swelling, pain, or blisters or is accompanied by chills, fever, and nausea. But most sunburns are first-degree burns or less severe, and can benefit from a thin layer of aloe.
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