How To Soothe a Sunburn At Home
Simply put, sunburns are the worst. Bright red, painful to the touch, and sometimes even blistering, a sunburn can be enough to keep you up at night. And, even though we know the importance of wearing broad-spectrum SPF of 30 or more each and every day—because when it comes to the sun’s rays, prevention is by far the best defense against harm—alas, no one is perfect. Sunburns happen and if one happened to you, you're going to want to find a quick way to ease the pain and soothe the sunburn at home. Below, we share how you can help soothe a sunburn.
Cool Things Down
When you have a sunburn your skin can feel hot to the touch, so finding ways to cool things down is key in finding that sweet, sweet relief. Hop in a cold shower or bath to help soothe that sunburn fast. The cooling sensation of cold water can help to soothe the skin—especially if you’ve just been at the beach or pool—since the water will rinse away any irritating sand, chlorine, saltwater, and dirt. If your skin is still feeling hot to the touch, reach for a cooling face mask. SkinCeuticals' Phyto Corrective Masque offers a cooling sensation upon contact with the skin helping to neutralize the visible effects of temporary skin reactivity—the blotchiness, dullness, and dehydrated, tight feeling skin can experience due to any number of factors including sun exposure.
Reach For Aloe Vera
If the skin stays hydrated it will be less likely to peel and flake. Ingredients such as soy, aloe vera, and hydrocortisone are good bets, notes The American Academy of Dermatology. Of those, our favorite—especially for sunburns—is aloe. Aloe vera gel is a clear gel found inside the leaves of the similarly named succulent plant—packed with vitamins A, C, and E, enzymes, minerals, and amino acids—known to help soothe sunburnt skin. Store aloe vera gel products in your fridge for an extra cooling sensation and lather on frequently throughout the day for an optimal soothing effect.
Hydrate Inside, Out
Happy skin is hydrated skin and that hydration starts from within. The skin needs to stay nourished on the inside and out in order to repair itself after getting sunburned. According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, burns draw a lot of fluid from the body. Be sure to drink extra water and watch out for signs of dehydration in the initial days following the sunburn. Don't love plan old H2O? Whip up one of our favorite fruit and herb-infused water recipes.
It may seem obvious, but it’s vital to move out of the sun as soon as you notice any symptoms of sunburn. It takes the burn up to six hours to fully develop on the skin’s surface—which is why so often you don't notice your sunburned skin until after you've gone home to shower after a long day outdoors—making it impossible to fully assess damage before cooling down, according to The Skin Cancer Foundation. If you notice you're starting to burn, reach for sunscreen and seek shade under an UV-ray blocking umbrella or head indoors.
Get a Second Opinion
Is your sunburn particularly intense, with symptoms that still persist after trying these options? You may want to consider seeing a board-certified dermatologist. While sunburns may seem temporary, they can truly cause lifelong damage, so it’s important not to simply assume no lasting harm was done. Fact is, just one sunburn can create sun damage on the skin—everything from superficial effects like wrinkles and dark spots to more serious side effects including skin cancers like melanoma. This is why yearly full-body skin checks are so important. Your dermatologist will examine your skin from head to toe to assess each and every mark on your skin. Not sure what to expect from a full-body skin exam? We answer all of the most common skin check FAQs here!
While it may be too late if you're looking for ways to soothe a current sunburn. It's never too late to adopt safe sun habits. Starting now, wear broad-spectrum SPF sunscreen—meaning it filters out UVA and UVB rays—every day, rain or shine, even if you're just sitting in the office all day. Remember, when it comes to sun damage, it's better to be safe than sorry!