How to Soothe a Sunburn

Looking for advice on how to soothe a sunburn? Read on to discover simple home remedies for easing sunburn, as well as advice on how to prevent sunburn.

Most of us enjoy relaxing on the beach on a hot summer’s day, but it’s important to take care in the sun. Sunburn is caused by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) light, which can damage the skin. UV radiation can damage molecules in the skin, leading to the body drawing more blood to the surface of the skin to help with the healing process. As a result, sunburned skin can appear red and swollen, and feel hot, itchy and sore. 
 
Furthermore, this damage results in an increased loss of moisture through the skin surface leading to dry, sunburned skin peeling after a few days. Small blisters might also form as the skin tries to heal itself and protect the affected area. These signs are an important part of the healing process, so it’s essential to care for your skin appropriately at this time. If your signs of sunburn are severe, or you have burned a large proportion of your skin you should consult your doctor. 
 
If you want to know how to help sunburn, we’ve gathered some useful information on caring for and soothing minor sunburned skin.
sunburn relief
  • 1
    Sunburn Relief on the Go
    It is important to take care of sunburned skin quickly. Some actions that may soothe your sunburn and protect your skin until you get home are:
     
    • Stay out of the sun/cover up 
    • Take care not to knock or touch the sunburned area
    • Have a bottle of water on hand. When you’ve been out in the hot sun all day you’re also more likely to get dehydrated
    • Reapply sunscreen. It’s not always possible to stay inside after you’ve been sunburned, so be sure to reapply sunscreen to prevent further damage
  • 2
    How to Soothe Sunburn
    When you’ve got minor sunburn you can expect to experience some, or all of the following signs. Here’s some ideas on things you can try to help relieve the symptoms of sunburn. Remember to always consult a doctor for severe sunburn.  
     
    Skin Redness – When your skin gets burned it becomes inflamed. Something you can try at home is using cold compresses to cool burned skin, which may help reduce inflammation and minimize skin redness. 
     
    Skin Dryness – When the skin is sunburned, it loses moisture. Keeping the skin moisturized helps you to maintain smoother looking skin during the healing process when skin can appear flaky. For a mild burn, apply a gentle moisturizer to your skin, such as Vaseline® Jelly to hydrate, soothe, and lock in moisture. Vaseline® Jelly is used to heal dry skin and protect minor sunburns as it creates a barrier that seals in moisture and helps keep out any impurities that could cause further irritation.  Remember to always consult a doctor if you have concerns about taking care of more severely sunburned skin. 
     
    Sunburn Itch – If your sunburned skin starts to peel, it can become very itchy due to the associated dryness. A soothing moisturizer, like Vaseline® Jelly may help but also, try to avoid picking or scratching your skin as it peels. We know it can be hard, but scratching could make it worse. Applying a cold compress to the affected area or taking a cool bath may also help provide sunburn itch relief. If you do take a cold bath, remember to gently dry off and moisturize to help lock in moisture.
  • 3
    How to Prevent Sunburn
    Now that you know how to relieve sunburn, it’s also a good idea to understand how to prevent your skin from burning in the future. 
     
    • Try to stay out of the sun when the rays are the strongest – typically between 10am - 4pm. 
    • Wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen of SPF 30 or more – always remember to reapply sunscreen regularly if you are in the sun for long periods of time. 
    • Cover up your skin with breathable fabrics so you stay cool and protected at the same time. You could also opt for High-UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) clothing. The fabrics these are made from are specifically designed to be more sun-protective than everyday clothing, yet still cool and lightweight. 
Remember, taking care in the sun and regular moisturization after being in the sun are two of the best ways to keep your skin looking healthy all year round.

Find more healthy skin tips and facts on the Skin Health page. >


The advice in this article does not constitute medical advice, it is solely available for information purposes.

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