No matter how diligent you are with following sunscreen application rules, sometimes, you still end up sunburnt. This damage to the skin can’t be undone, but luckily there are things you can do to accelerate the healing process and soothe your red, inflamed skin.
Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in the department of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, advises on the best way to heal a sunburn fast.
Work from the inside out
As soon as possible, take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or aspirin. The meds will stop inflammation and also ease redness and pain.
Once you get to a shower, rinse off with cool water to soothe skin and remove any chlorine, salt water or sand that may be lingering and causing more irritation. It’s even better to have a bath with a cup of whole oats added to the cool bath water for extra calming power.
The skin loses its moisture to the sun, so make sure to replenish it regularly over the next few days with a rich moisturizer. Zeichner recommends looking for ones that contain aloe, glycerin or hyaluronic acid like Sun Bum Cool Down Aloe Spray ($12, nordstrom.com). If it’s a small area like your nose, neck or ears, try a 1 percent hydrocortisone ointment like Cortizone 10 Hydrocortisone Anti-Itch Cream Plus 10 Moisturizers ($9,walgreens.com) to reduce inflammation. Hot tip: Keep your moisturizers in the fridge for an extra refreshing treat.
Use a DIY compress
Try using a cool compress soaked in skim milk, egg whites or green tea. The proteins in milk and egg whites coat and calm the burn while green tea reduces inflammation.
Not only does the sun take away the moisture from your skin, it also dehydrates the rest of your body as well, which is why you may also feel extra tired after a long day in the sun. Counteract the sun’s damage by drinking lots of water and eating water filled fruit like watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe or grapes.