9 Easy Ways You Can Soothe Sunburn
A dermatologist's tips and tricks for soothing sunburned skin
Anyone who’s ever suffered sunburn (whether mild or severe) knows that the fiery feeling of inflamed skin is one we’d all rather avoid. Your skin is irritated and itchy, it hurts to take a hot shower and wearing clothes feels like a curse.
And aside from the pain, another (hugely) negative side effect (that we hardly ever think about) is the irreversible, permanent damage done to our skin.
“You can’t reverse the skin DNA damage that resulted from excessive sun exposure,” says Dr. Cynthia Bailey, a board-certified dermatologist and the President and CEO of Advanced Skin Care and Dermatology Physicians. “Sunburns increase your risk of getting melanoma, the potentially deadly type of skin cancer.”
Bailey says that even just one “blistering” sunburn before the age of 18 can double your risk for melanoma, which is why her top treatment tips always first emphasize prevention.
“Prevention is really important,” she says. “The best treatment is prevention.”
Of course, sometimes even your best efforts at protecting your skin from the sun fall short; maybe you missed a few hard-to-reach spots, forgot to reapply or simply dismissed the need for sunscreen altogether (which you should never do, because everyone always needs sunscreen).
When the uncomfortable effects of these slip ups start to show up in the form of red, irritated skin there’s almost nothing you wouldn’t do to make it go away immediately.
Unfortunately, there’s no quick “cure” for sunburn. There are things you can do (and habits you can avoid) to help soothe the pain, but for the most part, you just have to grin and bear it until your skin heals itself.
However, while you’re slathering up with aloe on an hourly basis and waiting for the redness to dull down, you can use the following tips to help aid the healing process and soothe the pain.