Sunburn Treatments For Gardeners

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Sunburn treatments for gardeners
Sunburn treatments for gardeners

It is officially summer time and that means our skin is exposed to the sunshine. Whether you have fair skin or the ability to tan it is important to protect your skin and eyes from the beautiful ball of fire in the sky. This article is the ideal sunburn treatments for gardeners. Let’s looks at the best way to protect your skin from the sun but also the best remedies for treating sun kissed skin. 

As a fair skinned redhead I am particularly good at hiding from the sun. This is the cause of many painful sunburns and one unfortunate trip to the emergency with blisters. I am about to give you my absolute favourite sun protection tips that most definitely will work. This article is sponsored by connected to the land, be sure to check them out for all your garden needs.


This is obvious, but did you know that reapplying sunscreen is important throughout the day. The reapplication should happen even on cloudy days where you are not sweating. I enjoy reapplying once every two hours and my initial application is done about 30 mins before going outdoors. I always go for something that covers both UVA & UVB with an SPF above 30.

When it comes to sunscreen for the face be sure to use a baby formula or a specially designed face sunscreen. This is because regular sunscreen can burn your eyes if sweat moves the sunscreen into that direction. When applying it to your face don’t forget to grab your ears and even your scalp if you are not using a hat. For your lips you can actually get lip balm with sunscreen included!

The volume of sunscreen needed for your face alone is surprisingly high. It is recommended by most skin care guides that you use an entire shot glass of sunscreen just on your hands, face and neck. This means when you apply you should be prepared to take your time with the application. 

Surface Choices

Oddly enough the surface you are near can actually increase your chances of getting a sunburn. This would include any surface that reflects the sunlight back into your face. For example sun, glass tables, sand, mirrors and even windows on a nearby building. The best way to eliminate the reflection of the sun is with the use of umbrellas or tents to shade a larger area. This means shading not only yourself but the area around you from reflecting rays.

Timing Out Your Day

As gardeners or outdoor people we know that there are peak times for doing physical labour outside in the heat of the sun. We do this mostly for heat protection and avoiding heat exhaustion. What you didn’t know is that you are also protecting your skin from the peak hours of sunshine. 

The worst time to be sitting in full sun is 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. If you don’t have a watch the next best metric is looking at your shadow. If your shadow is shorter than your height then the sun is at its peak and therefore its most dangerous. If you have no shadow at all, consider taking a break and sitting in the shade till the sun disappears a bit.

Clothing & Accessories

If you are outside and actively roaming around it is important to dress in a way that protects you from the sunshine. White clothing will keep you cooler but it is actually less effective in blocking the rays than black fabric. If you are wanting to go for different colours of clothing opt in for UV protective clothing that is tightly woven in a way that blocks out the sunshine.

After that the accessories can include a wide brim hat and sunglasses. The hat you choose should cast a shadow on your face, neck and even your upper chest if possible. For the sunglasses you can get lenses that provide 99% – 100% UV protection. This will not only prevent the crows feet wrinkles but also protect your vision from damage.

Watch What You Ingest

One year I was taking some medication during the summer season that caused my skin to burn quickly in the presence of sunshine. I did not realize this was a side effect until it was too late! Be sure to watch for any caution labels on medications that say sun sensitivity is a side effect. These medications can include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Antidepressants
  • Antihistamines 
  • Antifungal
  • Acne medications 
  • Some heart medications

Another fun fact is that there are foods you can ingest that will cause photosensitivity as well. The best way to counteract this is by drinking lots of water and ensuring you have a diverse diet. This is the ultimate sunburn treatments for gardeners since we love food. These food include:

  • Lime
  • Celery
  • Carrots and Parsnips
  • Figs (fresh and dried)
  • Parsley (fresh and dried)
  • Mango

Sunburn Treatments For Gardeners – After Math

If you have tried all of the above and still end up with a red spot it is time to pull out the sunburn cures! Instead of giving you different options for relief, I am going to walk you through the must have sunburn fix used by a ginger! This is the step by step process that I use every year without fail.

Water & Ice

The absolute most important step is removing the heat. Place a frozen bag of peas, or ice in a towel. A pro tip here is actually putting baby powder onto the towel side that is going to be placed on the burn. The powder will prevent the fabric from sticking to your skin, which can be VERY painful.

Place the frozen item on your sunburn for ten mins and move to the next area. If possible continue doing this until the burn stops giving off heat. While you’re lazing around and fixing your burn, drink nice cold water. Remember a litre a day is ideal for anyone doing outdoor activities.

If you are able to stomach it try sitting inside a cool bath tub for extended periods of time to help draw the heat out of your sunburn. Word of warning you will want the water to be cool, any warm water can and will cause the burn to tingle.

Aloe Vera (Not Just Any Kind)

This is a go too for everyone but did you know the best aloe vera for a sunburn is cold aloe vera. At my house there is a bottle of aloe vera hanging out inside the fridge at all times. This is the official sunburn aloe vera because it not only heals the burn but also provides relief.

You will want to apply the cold aloe vera after you have used an ice pack to remove as much heat from the burn as possible. If you apply the aloe vera before the ice pack and towel you will end up with sticky skin. As you can imagine the removal of a towel attached to your skin by dried aloe vera gel is an adventure on its own.

If you are going to bet and the aloe vera is tacky you will want to apply the baby powder to either your bed sheets or your skin. This will prevent you from waking up to the sudden sensation of Brazilian wax taking place without your approval. For more gardening info check out the gardening in Canada resources.

The main take away from sunburn remedies is cooling, hydrating internally/externally and lastly preventing stickiness. The best methods for preventing a sunburn are shade coverage, blocking with sunscreen and planning your day accordingly. Take if from your fellow ginger sunburn prevention should always be the number one priority.