So having said I thought I was too old to sunbathe I rammed the point home by then spending a day on the beach and burning myself to a crisp. You see the problem is whilst I think that (and now know that if I am not too old I am just too stupid) you can’t really spend two weeks in the Caribbean and NOT spend a day on the beach. Well you can if you are Mr B because you discover there is a cricket match taking place down the hill that you HAVE to attend.
The beach that we use in Barbados (well there are several and when I get around to it I will write a post on which ones to go to for different levels of activity) for proving we are on holiday is the one above, called Mullins. The beach that we use for pretending to be a local is the one I blogged about last week, Gibbes, but for the purposes of this sunburning fiasco let’s stick to Mullins. They have a deal that allows people staying at Royal Westmoreland (as we were) to use the beach loungers, umbrellas and towels free of charge. Which is lovely (though I have to say that guy that mans it is possibly the most miserable Bajan I have ever met but that is a story for another day).
It also has a great beach bar that allows you to order drinks to your sun lounger, and even food. It even has free wifi. It’s all very civilised.
Which is how I managed to burn my legs, despite being under an umbrella all day and wearing Factor 6. Apparently umbrellas don’t really help shield you from the sun, and pina colada at 10am means you aren’t really paying attention at 2pm. So when you leave at 3pm and have to walk across the road back to your car it only then becomes clear what you have done.
The following morning it becomes even more abundantly clear when you can’t put your feet on the floor and find yourself Googling “why do my leg bones hurt when I am sunburnt?” (pooling of blood in the vessels and nowhere for them to expand, since you asked). And then you find yourself Googling “how do I get rid of the pain from sunburn” or “stuff I have in my kitchen that can help sunburn”.
Here are my favourites
This grows all over the island in Barbados, and some of the plants are huge! Guys also sell it on the beach, literally cutting open the leaf and applying the gel inside it directly onto the burn. It is super cooling and works brilliantly for taking away the heat, moisturising the skin, and stopping it tightening and peeling. Should be applied as often as you can, but it is sticky so be careful if you are then putting trousers on.
This was an eye opener for me, and really did work. Rather than mashing it we grated it (I say “we”, we didn’t at all. I was lying on the sofa in agony so Mr B did it) into a bowl and then put a handful on to each area of burn and left it for about an hour (do put a towel under your legs as the juice may run a little). The instant hit of cold was amazing and it took the heat out instantly. It was a bit of a mess to wash off where the odd bit had stuck but on the whole I loved this and would definitely do it again, especially if it was my face.
Boil and mash some peeled potatoes. Let them cool, and apply as a dressing to sunburnt areas. It is thought that the starch in the potatoes helps draw out the heat, which can reduce pain and speed the healing process. Sounds revolting but it also sounds like it might work.
This works for as long as the flannel is on the sunburn I found, but as soon as it comes off the pain comes back. And I also found the flannel absorbed the heat from the flannel quite quickly. But in the absence of anything else this really is better than nothing at all.
Dipping a flannel in freshly brewed and cooled tea is also good. The tannic acid in black tea reportedly helps draw heat from sunburnt skin, and also aids in restoring the pH balance. If you add mint to the tea it has an even greater cooling effect. I was too busy drinking it to try this, which is another important thing to remember that as the burn is drying out your skin it is really important to keep hydrated.
Apparently due to the direction of wind from Spain we are in for a heatwave in the next couple of days so these might come in useful. OF course it goes without saying that sun burn is not big and it isn’t clever and there is no real excuse for it so prevention really is better than cure, but if you do find yourself on holiday with an idiot like me you will know what to do now to stop them moaning. Thereby meaning you can get some peace and quiet
Photo of aloe vera courtesy of Shutterstock
Legs, model’s own