A bad sunburn hurts — and it was the pain from sunburn that prompted Rodney Stockton to seek relief for his red and peeling skin. In 1941, though, there weren’t many products available for treating radiation burns; vinegar was about the best “cure” he could find.
But Stockton kept looking for a way to treat sunburn effectively, and with every burn he experienced or saw, he became more determined to find something that would work.
Aloe for sunburn, a Native American cure
After helping develop consumer products to ease the lives of troops during WWII, Stockton heard of a Seminole Indian medicine man who was successfully treating radiation burns of all kinds with the gel of a certain plant. The Seminole led him to a rare species of Aloe vera, and Stockton set to work, building the foundation of what would become the primary focus of his long and eventful career: Stockton Aloe Creme Laboratories was born.
Before long, Aloe (sabila) had become the most popular sunburn treatment in the world (and still is). Unfortunately, along with the growth in popularity, there was also a growth of impostors — products using the good name of Aloe to push all sorts of poorly performing concoctions.
Before we talk about that, though, we should never forget one thing: It is better to avoid sunburn than to look for something to treat it.
Be careful about how you use sunscreen to prevent sunburn
The skin on your body and the lining of your intestines have something very important in common: they both regulate what does or does not get absorbed by your system. In a very real way, applying something to your skin is the same as eating it — you are potentially absorbing the substances into your system. You should read the label on sunscreen and other lotions as carefully as you might read labels in the grocery store.
At Stockton Aloe, we rely on 100% pure inner leaf Aloe gel for the basis of our products. We specialize in Aloe. Some companies, though, put “Aloe” in the brand name, or work “Aloe” into the advertising copy … but the truth is, their Aloe gel is normally mixed with preservatives in order to maintain a long shelf life. They may even contain high levels of aloin, the one part of the Aloe plant you don’t want to absorb into your body.
Aloin can be dangerous. The bottom line: don’t fall for the hype, and be careful about what you rub on your skin.
Natural ways to prevent sunburn
The very best way to keep from getting a sunburn is to avoid over exposing your skin during the high-risk period — roughly 10 am to 4 pm. That said, the human body manufactures vitamin D by interacting with the sun, so some exposure is necessary. Just don’t overdo it. Ten minutes of exposure, a few times per week, is generally considered sufficient.
The next best sunburn prevention technique is to cover your skin with clothing. Wear a wide-brimmed hat, a long-sleeved shirt, and long pants. The right clothing (organic cotton is a good choice) not only protects your skin, but actually keeps you cooler and better hydrated.
Remember, too, that some prescription drugs make you hypersensitive to the sun. NSAID’s and certain antibiotics, for instance. Even St. John’s wort — an herbal remedy, commonly used to help with depression, may exacerbate your skin’s reaction to sunlight.
Sunscreen guidelines call for a minimum SPF (sun protection factor) of 15, to be applied everywhere the sun shines (behind the ears, on the nose, on the neck …). Just remember: read the label to see exactly what will be going, not just on — but in your body.
Preventing sunburn from the inside out
If you’ve yet to read Dr. Haley’s article about the relationship between the skin and the gut, go read it now. To take the discussion further, and apply it to sunburn prevention and treatment, your diet affects your skin. By improving your overall nutritional status, you can improve your skin’s ability to tolerate sun and increase your natural defenses against sunburn.
Get all the probiotics, nutritionally dense foods, and organic foods you can. Shun foods laced with preservatives and sprayed with pesticides. Getting back to natural and organic foods used to be a radical idea, but it is becoming more and more mainstream as people realize how important nutrition is to overall health … and how poorly the corporate factory farms are doing at providing safe, nutritional food.
Nutritional foods may cost a little more, but you aren’t likely to find a more important place to invest money than in your health.
How to treat a sunburn
When you do get a sunburn (or any other radiation burn) we have two best-practice suggestions. In our experience, these are the primary ways to help stop the pain from sunburn and prompt the skin to begin healing.
1. Grow your own Aloe: When you suffer from a burn of any kind (we assume, here, that you will instinctively know when the burn is so bad you should see a doctor right away), harvest one of the Aloe leaves, fillet it to obtain the inner leaf gel (watch this brief film to find out how – it even points out how to avoid the aloin), then apply the Aloe gel to the burn, and reapply as often as needed for relief. We consistently hear amazing stories about the effectiveness of Aloe for burns. Try it … and send us your own story. To get an Aloe pup and start your own Aloe garden, go to the Stockton Aloe Shop.
2. Get a good Aloe cream: While there is no naturally occurring substance we know of that works better to treat radiation burns than Aloe vera gel, there are two creme formulations, developed by Stockton Aloe #1, that can provide even faster healing properties.
You see, Aloe gel, when used by itself, tends to exhibit a drying effect on skin. Our Youth-Derm Ultra Healing Aloe Cream and traditional Youth-Derm Aloe Cream combine the power of pure Aloe barbadensis miller-stockton with synergistic ingredients – organic shea butter and coconut oil, for instance – to provide relief from sunburn pain and help promote healing for sun-damaged skin.
There may be other natural healing Aloe products available. We sometimes hear of them, but seldom see something that meets our stringent requirements.
We recommend our own products because we are confident of their ingredients and quality. All of our formulations contain pure inner leaf, hand filleted Aloe vera. Moreover, they do not contain chemical additives or preservatives. Like Rodney Stockton, we initially tried to find effective sunburn remedies at the grocery store, but we were disappointed every time.
All Stockton Aloe #1 products are designed – not for maximum profit, but for maximum effectiveness. We use nothing else for our own burns, and we urge you to do the same.
[Photo of sunburned boy by Erin Stevenson O’Connor from San Diego, CA, USA (sunburned) via Wikimedia Commons]