We know, you forgot to reapply the sunblock, right? Or maybe you uttered the famous last words, “I never burn.” It happens to the best of us. The sun's warm embrace suddenly turns into a punishment. Instead of a golden tan, you were left with a tight, tender and lobster-red hide that makes wearing clothes nearly unbearable. Here's how to relieve the pain and keep your skin from getting crispy along with our team's recommendations for the best after-sun products. Stock up now so you don't have procure them once you're already feeling the burn.
Pop Some Pills
For the next 24 hours, take two anti-inflammatory pain relievers (ideally ibuprofen), every six hours to help alleviate the sting and keep the pain as mild as possible.
Take a Cool Shower or Bath
This will reduce the surface temperature of the skin and bring some instant relief to the burn. Use a gentle soap like Kiehl's Body Fuel wash which is packed with Vitamin E and cooling menthol.
Cetaphil knows skin. So this isn't the sexiest post-sun product (there's no tropical scent or exotic ingredients), but this works—and works fast. The hybrid gel/cream goes on easily and absorbs quickly to let the proprietary blend of aloe and moisturizers get to work. If you want to keep from peeling, this is your best bet.
Does this cooling gel really go from burn to brown? Maybe not. But does it allow you to retain much of the color while soothing redness and healing inflamed skin? Yes. A favorite of our fairest editor, he puts it on after a day in the sun even when he's not red just to help keep the skin healthy (and maybe hang onto any possible tan).
A quick-absorbing lotion that's been a regular in our beach bag for years. A combination of aloe and coconut oil works for both dry, tight skin and serious redness. The gentle formula can also go on your face without causing breakouts.
This easy spray is ideal when you don't want to touch a bad burn or simply don't want to be sticky or greasy with a gel or cream. Aloe relieves the burn while kukui nut oil hydrates skin with nourishing fatty acids that also reduce inflammation.
When you don't want something heavy on your burned face, this lightweight mist soothes with aloe juice and moisturizes dehydrated and overheated skin with a natural blend of hyaluronic acid and coconut water.
Not up for a drugstore run? “One of the best remedies is to soak a wash cloth in cold milk and apply it to the burn,” says dermatologist Dr. Craig Austin. “Lactic acid naturally soothes and moisturizes the skin, and helps to get rid of dead skin cells.”
The estimated new cases of melanoma reported in the United States this year.