What You Can Do To Help Soothe Sunburn and Heal It Faster

What You Can Do To Help Soothe Sunburn and Heal It Faster

Even when you try to wear the right amount of sunscreen to avoid sunburn, some days, you just can’t overpower the sun’s rays. Other times, you’ve applied your sunscreen unevenly and end up with little patches of sunburn across your body. No matter how you got your sunburn, there’s absolutely no denying it—sunburn is the worst! 


Having sunburn might make you want to hide under the covers until it’s healed. Sunburn can also be very painful—ever gotten sunburn on your shoulders and then had to put a bra strap over it? We shudder just thinking about it. 


We’ve got the secret to the best way to soothe and heal your sunburn quickly, so you can eliminate discomfort and go about your everyday life. Plus, the best way to treat sunburn is to not get it in the first place, right? Let’s chat.  


How To Soothe and Heal Your Sunburn ASAP 


If you need some new ideas on how to relieve that sunburn pain and get your skin back to normal as quickly as possible, you’ve come to the right place! We’ve got a long list of treatment options for you: 



  • Apply aloe vera: Okay, we admit, aloe vera isn’t the most novel sunburn treatment options. But guess what? There’s a reason it’s so popular—aloe vera really works. For one, aloe vera is cooling, and nothing feels better on your sunburn than something cool. 

    Aloe vera also has anti-inflammatory properties, which will reduce redness, inflammation, and swelling caused by sunburn. For issues specifically with the skin on your face, we recommend our Vitamin C Clay Mask, which contains aloe vera and other anti-inflammatory ingredients.  

  • Take a cool shower: If your skin feels like it’s burning, why would you jump into a hot shower? Water from a cool bath or shower will calm down your aching skin and offer you some relief from the irritation. Avoid using soap on the burn regions and instead, just let the moisture seep into your skin. 

    Once out of the shower, apply a gentle, healing moisturizer to your skin to trap as much hydration as possible. Be careful with your first shower after getting sunburnt—usually you won’t realize the extent of your burns until afterwards. 

  • Drink lots of water: Have you ever noticed how dehydrated you feel when you have a sunburn? This is because sunburns are hydration-guzzlers, absolutely dry as a bone. Your skin has higher moisture needs than normal when it’s burnt, and so it drags water away from other parts of the body to feed its thirst. Compensate for this by drinking extra water and eating foods with high water contents, like many fruits and vegetables. 

  • Pop an NSAID: ‘NSAID’ stands for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, and common examples include Aspirin and Ibuprofen. Chances are, the skin where you are experiencing the sunburn is red, inflamed, and causing you at least a bit of pain. NSAIDs are commonly used to relieve pain and inflammation quickly, and they are safe to use for sunburns. Try taking 1-2 aspirin a day until your sunburn has healed. 

  • Don’t peel or pick at your burns: We get it; the temptation is real. You see that your skin is peeling, and it seems so natural to help the dry skin on its way off your body. Itchy blisters may appear on your skin, and you’ll want to scratch and pick at them. If you want your sunburn to heal quickly, however, don’t either of these things. Not only will it prolong the healing process, it may even cause the sunburn to leave scars. When in doubt, refrain from touching your skin when it’s in such a sensitive state. 

  • Try an oatmeal bath: Oats have anti-inflammatory properties and are effective in reducing inflammation and redness associated with sunburn. To make an oatmeal bath, simply add a cup of oats to cool water, and enjoy. 

  • Use a cold compress: Looking to instantly cool your sunburn down? Apply an ice pack or a cool cloth to your skin and take a deep breath of relief. You can even put cold milk on a washcloth and let its reparative properties soothe your skin. 

  • Avoid harsh skincare products and makeup: Sunburn makes your skin uber-sensitive, so it is best to avoid from any skin product that might irritate it further. When waiting for sunburn to heal, keep away from exfoliants and heavy concealers. 

  • Wear loose, breathable clothing: Tight clothing will not allow the sunburn to breathe and will add to its irritation and redness. Instead, wear clothes that are gentle on your skin, both for your comfort and for faster sunburn healing times. 

  • Stay away from the sun: Exposing your already-irritated skin to the sun risks making your sunburn worse, so stay indoors or in the shade as much as possible. 

  • Apply vaseline or xeroform petrolatum gauze to blisters: Sometimes, painful blisters will develop on top of your sunburn. Dabbing vaseline onto the blister soothes any inflammation, while xeroform petrolatum gauze protects the area and prevent you from picking at the blister. 

  • Try hydrocortisone cream: If you find yourself constantly itching your sunburn, some over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream relieves this urge and relax the irritated region of your skin. 

  • Call your dermatologist: Some sunburns are too severe for you to treat on your own, and you’ll need the assistance of a dermatologist. If home-care methods aren’t working or you see no improvement (or worsening!) in your sunburn after a couple of days, consult with your dermatologist on what your next steps should be.

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    How To Prevent Sunburn 


    Once you’ve recovered from an especially painful bout of sunburn, you may vow to never make the same mistakes again. While this is easier said than done, there are certain habits you can build that will minimize your risk of developing sunburn.


    Firstly, you already know what we are going to say. Wear. Sunscreen. Applying sunscreen in the morning at the tail end of your skincare routine, and before you leave the house should be an essential part of your day. It does not matter if you are going out for 10 minutes or for 10 hours. Sunscreen will protect your skin from harmful UV rays and prevent sunburn and other skin damage. 


    Look for sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. If you have trouble remembering to put on sunscreen or have limited time in the morning, there are plenty of high-quality moisturizers available that also contain at least SPF 30. 


    One application of sunscreen in the morning should be enough to last you through the day if you will only be outside sparingly. However, if you will be spending the day in the sun (say, a trip to the beach), make sure to pack your sunscreen and reapply every couple of hours. Have a friend or family member help you with the harder-to-reach areas of your skin.


    There’s a myth going around that people with dark skin are not capable of getting sunburn. And while having a higher amount of melanin in your skin does offer you added protection against the sun’s harmful rays, you can still experience sunburn, sun damage, and even skin cancer (albeit at lower rates). It’s better to be safe than sorry, and sun damage isn’t something you want to mess around with, so wear sunscreen regularly regardless of your skin color.


    Finally, protect the body from the sun as much as you can. This means wearing sunglasses, a sun hat, and light clothes that cover most of the body. When you have the opportunity, sit in the shade, or bring your own umbrella. 


    If you absolutely must tan, be especially stringent about reapplying sunscreen regularly. Stop tanning immediately and move into the shade if you notice any redness or feel any tingling on your skin. 


    The Takeaway 


    And, breathe. We just gave you, like, a ton of information and that list of treatment methods was pretty long. How do you know which option is best for you?


    The cool thing is, you don’t just have to choose one. No matter what, drink plenty of water, take cool showers, wear loose-fitting clothing, refrain from using harsh makeup and skincare products, and stay away from the sun whenever you have sunburn. This should be your baseline level of care.


    On top of that, get creative. Just because you took an Aspirin doesn’t mean you can’t also apply aloe vera to your burns. Play around with the treatment options that feel best on your skin, and do more of whatever helps you heal your sunburn in the safest and most efficient way possible. 


    Finally, a truly bad sunburn should be a lesson in practicing better skincare habits. Mainly, this means wearing sunscreen every day and staying out of direct sunlight when possible. By actively working to prevent sunburn, you will slow down the rate at which your skin ages, as well as your risk for potentially serious skin conditions later on in life. 




    How to treat sunburn (aad.org)


    14 Best Sunburn Relief Tips - How to Make Sunburn Heal Faster (womenshealthmag.com)


    Sunburn Remedies —17 Ways to Make a Sunburn Go Away ASAP (cosmopolitan.com)


    Sunburn - Diagnosis and treatment - Mayo Clinic

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