This Sunburn Relief Plan From Dermatologists Is Here To Save Your Skin
Sunburns are an absolute pain (literally). A sunburn is essentially unprotected skin that is injured by ultraviolet radiation. These are charged molecules that are physically injuring our cells, our proteins, and our fats. Too much UV exposure causes inflammation, redness, and sometimes a lot of discomfort (you know that itchy, tingling feeling you experience after a sunburn).
Of course, if you can prevent sunburns altogether, that's ideal - because a sunburn (even a suntan) increases your risk of developing skin cancer. But hey, sometimes you forget to reapply before - or maybe you've purposely skipped out on our SPF to ensure proof of a well-deserved holiday (tisk, tisk).
No matter the reason for the burn, you're going to want some quick and easy methods of relief, especially considering that a sunburn can last anywhere between a few days and several weeks. There are no magic overnight sunburn fixes (sorry!) - but there are a few things you can do to fast-track your healing. You want to focus on products that restore moisture back to your skin (think: lotions and creams) and relieve peeling or itching (think: ice packs or OTC pain relievers).
For legit recommendations, follow this dermatologist-recommended treatment plan for fast sunburn relief. Your skin will thank you.
1 Take a cold shower
When your skin is on fire, the last thing you want to do is expose it to hot water. Taking hot showers can strip your skin of essential oils, which can dry it out even further and make it more sensitive.
Rinsing off with cool water, on the other hand, provides immediate relief. If the direct stream of water feels too intense on your skin, try a bath at room temperature.
2 Avoid using soap on the affected area
The reason sunburned skin feels so tight is because it’s desecrated, dry, because you’re losing water from the skin so readily. That's why it's so important not to use soap on the sunburnt area. Soaps, even mild ones can be very drying —and you don't need any more of that.
3 Grab a moisturizer with colloidal oatmeal
What you really want to focus on is bringing moisture back to the skin. While your skin is still wet from the shower, apply a moisturizing lotion to provide instant sun relief.
A great product to use would be one that contains collodial oatmeal, and the ingredient is common in many topical products designed for helping with eczema. Collodial oatmeal has both inflammatory properties as well as barrier repair properties. Both of which are perfect for sunburns. You’re knocking down the inflammation and signaling to the skin to repair itself.
Aveeno, is recommended but any moisturizer with collodial oatmeal in the ingredients list will do the job.
4 Soothe with aloe vera
Aloe vera can help speed healing of first- and second-degree burns, research shows. Lotions with aloe vera in them will provide a soothing and cooling feeling to the affected area.
But make sure to apply this lotion when your skin is still wet from the shower to ensure moisture is locked in. Do this several times throughout the day, for several days, until your burn has healed.
5 Try some topical hydrocortisone
This is probably the only topical steroid you can get over the counter. So if you're looking for some itch relief ASAP, hydrocortisone 1 percent is what you want. The cream will reduce swelling, relieve pain, and help prevent you from scratching. Sounds perfect, right?
6Take a diluted bleach bath
This sunburn trick called the diluted bleach bath. All you need is a quarter cup of Clorox bleach in a 40 gallon tub of water. When you put bleach into water, especially normal water that’s a little on the acidic side, it forms hypochlorous acid (HOCl) acid, which actually our immune system uses to fight infections. But at very low concentrations it can be anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial. So not only will it soothe your sunburned skin, it will help protect you against developing a worse infection, too.