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By Luke Sholl

Sunburn is a common condition that affects everyone, regardless of skin tone or age. Given how easy it is to overdo sun exposure, having natural remedies to hand is a blessing, especially with symptoms that vary from mild redness to full-blown nausea and blistering.

Before we dive into the world of CBD, its influence on skin, and how it could help soothe sunburn symptoms, let's quickly run through how sunburn works and what it does to the skin.

How Sunburn Works

Sunburn is the skin's reaction to ultraviolet (UV) rays given off by the sun, and is not the same as burning yourself with something hot.

Both UVA and UVB rays cause damage to the skin, triggering the body's inflammatory response. UVA rays have a longer wavelength and penetrate the skin more deeply, while UVB rays have a shorter wavelength and only penetrate the skin superficially. UVB rays are what cause sunburns, though UVA rays contribute to skin ageing and cancer risk.

Fortunately, our skin can deal with mild cases of sunburn, correcting mutations and repairing damaged cells. However, overexposure causes more damage than the body can handle—ultimately killing skin cells.

How Sunburn Works

What Sunburn Does to Your Skin

Doctors classify burns as first, second, or third degree. Sunburn alone won't result in third-degree burns. Still, many of the symptoms below fall under the category of first or second-degree burn because of damage to the outer (epidermis) and underlayer of skin (dermis).

As our immune system attempts to repair the UV damage, it triggers several warning signs. Redness is the first sign, usually appearing 12–24 hours after exposure. You can spend several hours in the sun, only to feel nothing until you get home, so be careful!

Other sunburn symptoms include:

Peeling skin Pain
Nausea Vomiting
Fever Chills

Following a sunburn, if you find yourself fainting, experiencing low blood pressure, or becoming very weak, go to a hospital.

Will CBD Lotion Help Sunburn?

If you've spent too long in the sun, could CBD lotion offer a soothing remedy? Currently, preclinical studies[1] are looking into the effects of cannabinoids like CBD on dermatological inflammatory diseases. After all, our skin's delicate ecosystem is, in part, modulated by the endocannabinoid system, a vast regulatory network that responds to cannabinoids.

With cannabinoid receptors spread throughout our skin, it could give CBD a unique mechanism of action other compounds cannot match. 

For example, researchers are determining if CBD impacts our skin’s immune response, or if it has the ability to fend off detrimental bacteria—important factors considering the skin is our first line of defence against foreign bodies.

Studies are currently aiming to see if CBD could make a worthwhile addition to sunscreen formulas. Researchers are assessing:

  • If CBD soothes the skin
  • If it poses any toxic risk
  • How it impacts signs of ageing
  • How it works alongside other skincare products

There's also CBD's internal influence to consider. The cannabinoid may impact how we think and feel, making it a versatile aid to sunburn treatments. Sunburn isn't purely physical in nature, with the range and severity of symptoms often leading to mood-related conditions.

Will CBD Lotion Help Sunburn?

How To Use CBD on Your Skin for Sunburn

Topical CBD creams and lotions enable users to place CBD exactly where they want it. If you've never used CBD topicals before, consider applying a small amount to unaffected skin to see how you react.

If you have the physical symptoms of sunburn under control, but want to tackle its psychological impact, you'll need to try CBD tinctures, oil, capsules, or CBD vape, as these intake methods allow CBD to enter the bloodstream. Moreover, vaping takes effect in minutes for near-instant results when you need them most.

CBD's lack of toxicity also means you can experiment with multiple approaches to see what works for you. Applying CBD cream directly to sunburn, and taking several drops of CBD oil under the tongue, for example, is perfectly feasible.

Homemade CBD Creams for Sunburn

If you want to experiment with homemade CBD lotions, they're not only simple to make, but can be reapplied as often as needed. Because we're focusing exclusively on CBD, you'll want to pick a strain with high levels of the cannabinoid. Tatanka Pure CBD and Joanne's CBD are both excellent choices for cannabis-infused skincare.

Alternatively, you can try adding several drops of CBD oil to existing sunburn lotions to give them a boost. You'll need to experiment with the dose until you reach the desired effect, but it's a simple solution that helps when sunburn catches you unprepared.

CBD Oil 15% (1500mg)
THC: 0.2%
CBD: 15%
CBD per drop: 7.5 mg
Carrier: Olive Oil

Buy CBD Oil 15% (1500mg)

The Best Way To Treat Sunburn

It's important to highlight that sunburn can quickly damage skin cells beyond repair, so prevention is always the best approach. No amount of creams, CBD or otherwise, will undo the damage caused by UV exposure.

When choosing a sunscreen, make sure you pick one with broad-spectrum protection that guards against both UVA and UVB. You can burn even if the sun isn't shining, as up to 80% of UV rays penetrate clouds, so always err on the side of caution. However, if you do get sunburnt, remember:

  • Keep skin cool and moisturised
  • Reduce inflammation, either with medications or creams
  • Stay hydrated
  • If symptoms persist, see a doctor!

With significant interest from researchers, there's still a lot more to discover about the holistic potential of CBD. Fortunately, its lack of toxicity and synergy with ingredients like aloe vera mean using CBD lotion for sunburn is a viable choice.

External Resources:
  1. Cannabinoids in the Pathophysiology of Skin Inflammation https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
This content is for educational purposes only. The information provided is derived from research gathered from external sources.

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