New York dermatologist Orit Markowitz suggests taking a relaxing bath or shower, followed by applying moisturizer containing aloe vera to soothe skin after sunburn, to provide temporary relief. She adds that using aloe vera-containing moisturizer will also help relieve symptoms associated with sunburns more quickly and reduce dryness and pain associated with sunburn.
Drinking extra water post-sunburn may help ease discomfort as sunburn draws moisture to the surface, and dehydration exacerbates your burn, according to AAD.
Let’s dive into how to make sun burn go away!
Take a Cold Compress
Cold compresses are one of the best ways to soothe sunburns. Be careful when applying directly; doing so causes severe vasoconstriction (where blood vessels constrict), making the condition even worse. Instead, wrap ice in a washcloth or piece of gauze and apply to affected area frequently during the day for maximum comfort, inflammation reduction, redness reduction and reduced swelling.
As another way of relieving sunburn symptoms, take a cold shower or bath – this helps hydrate sunburned skin and speed healing. Don’t forget to keep drinking enough water; sunburns actually dehydrate us by drawing fluid out from below our skin’s surface, according to dermatologist Deanne Mraz Robinson, MD.
Use a soothing lotion to relax and hydrate your skin, but avoid using products containing lidocaine or benzocaine as they can further irritate already sunburnt skin. Look for moisturizers containing aloe vera for best results in terms of decreasing itching and inflammation.
When applying moisturizer, opt for one with lightweight ingredients that won’t clog pores or cause irritation, while making sure it contains antioxidants to decrease free-radical damage and itchiness, suggests dermatologist Shari Lipner, MD.
Finally, avoid popping or picking at blisters as this may lead to infection. If your sunburn blisters or fever is severe enough for this step to become necessary, consult with a physician immediately.
Over-the-counter ibuprofen may provide relief from sunburn pain and swelling, however if you suffer from chronic conditions like diabetes or arterial disease it should be used with caution and with consultation of your physician prior to use. You should seek medical assistance immediately if the sunburn is very painful, has blisters, or appears pale and translucent on the skin surface.
As soon as you experience sunburn, it’s essential that you treat it right away in order to help your skin recover quickly and reduce inflammation. Doing this will enable it to heal quicker while also helping it avoid scarring and further inflammation.
First step to treat burns effectively is cooling them with either a shower, tub, or towel dampened with cool water. Avoid rubbing your burn as this can disrupt its barrier function and worsen it further, advises dermatologist Mona Gohara. Use cold compresses on affected area; but never apply an ice pack directly onto skin as this may lead to frostbite; Henry suggests wrapping an ice pack in towel or cloth so as not to come into direct contact with your skin.
Once your skin has been soothed and relaxed, it’s important to moisturise. But wait until your skin is completely dry; otherwise, slathering on oil can trap heat and increase discomfort and itching. While still wet, apply a thick moisturizing cream or lotion containing aloe vera for soothing relief while keeping skin hydrated; be sure to reapply this as often as needed in order to prevent peeling of skin.
At any point during the day, it’s also wise to drink lots of fluids to replenish lost moisture in your skin and soothe its discomfort, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Also wear loose clothing that won’t stick or rub against affected areas – like sweat-wicking tees worn at gym workouts – which won’t rub against affected spots and allow blood vessels to breath easier.
If you have been suffering from an extreme sunburn, visiting a physician and seeking prescription for hydrocortisone cream or spray may help relieve its effects and minimize itching, inflammation and redness and swelling, according to dermatologist Coyle S. Connolly. For best results start treatment as soon after being burned as possible since it could take multiple days before working; just apply small amounts at first as this product is widely available at pharmacies or drugstores like Cortizone 10, but read instructions carefully first!
Get Out of the Sun
Sunburns are injuries that cause inflammation in the skin. To promote healing and soothe discomfort, stay out of direct sunlight as much as possible; alternatively, shower instead of bathing to avoid applying drying soap (use mild, sensitive soaps such as Johnson’s Baby Head-to-Toe Wash for best results) before gently rinsing off with water afterwards.
Dr. Schreiber suggests soaking a damp cloth in ice water and placing it over your burn for 10 to 15 minutes as another means of cooling it off, or you could try applying cold compresses made from green or black tea that’s been allowed to cool; its tannins help draw heat out while catechins (an antioxidant found in green and black tea) reduce swelling and discomfort.
Apply a soothing cream or lotion that contains high percentages of shea butter or jojoba oil to soothe skin, or wear an SPF 30 sunscreen that offers ample moisture protection.
Connolly Dermatology in New Jersey recommends using topical lotion, spray or ointments containing 1% hydrocortisone as a steroid which will reduce redness and itching. Ointments available at drugstores or pharmacies offer additional UV protection that could come in handy when treating sunburns.
Home remedies: Dermatologist Dendy Engelman, MD recommends trying out several home remedies to ease itching: Calamine lotion helps soothe irritation while oatmeal baths contain colloidal oatmeal which has anti-inflammatory and itching-reducing properties, such as Aveeno’s soothing bath treatment or soothing bath treatment with colloidal oatmeal from Aveeno products such as their soothing bath treatment; additionally if the itching persists despite these efforts it’s best not to pop blisters as their skin needs time to recover on its own before doing anything further than these remedies is recommended by her.
Last but not least, drink plenty of water. Your body needs extra fluids in the form of hydration in order to speed the healing process, according to Engelman. Avoid products which can irritate burns like perfumed lotions and harsh soaps during this process and opt for products containing aloe vera during healing as much as possible, she advises.
Sunburns can be painful and itchy experiences that cause lasting damage to the skin – including wrinkles and cancer risk. Luckily, dermatologists offer multiple effective methods to quickly alleviate sunburn discomfort.
Beginning by taking a cool bath or shower and patting yourself dry (leaving some moisture on the skin), Dr. Gohara advises applying moisturizer containing aloe vera or soy to any burns before covering them with nonstick bandages for extra care.
Be wary of lotions or gels containing lidocaine or benzocaine–numbing agents can worsen sunburn pain. A hydrocortisone cream–an anti-itch ingredient commonly found in allergy medications–can help ease pain, swelling and redness by applying its soothing agents directly. You can purchase over-the-counter versions in 1% form; your physician may prescribe something stronger.
Protecting your eyes is of utmost importance; sunburned eyes can lead to photokeratitis and can eventually cause blindness over time. To protect them, use a clean towel dampened with cool water as protection and do not rub your eyes as this could aggravate an already sensitive condition and even lead to infection.
If you have blisters, rather than covering them with sticky bandages, try covering them with Vaseline as nature’s own band-aid. It will hold them securely without pulling off layers of skin that could result in peeling later.
After getting sunburnt, you may experience extreme thirst. Your body draws fluid away from other areas to replenish burned areas causing dehydration. Drink plenty of water as well as considering coconut water or other electrolyte-containing beverages to combat dehydration and stay hydrated.
Do not pick at or pop blisters as this could result in permanent scarring and using oil-based moisturizers may lead to burning sensations on sunburned areas.