How to Get Sunburn Relief

woman shielding the sun from her face


If you spent too much time outdoors without enough sunscreen or other means of proper protection like a wide brimmed hat or sun protection clothing, you can easily get sunburned. Sunburn is a very painful problem that needs proper treatment immediately. By following these suggestions, you can make the healing process a bit easier.

How to Treat A Sunburn

To treat your sunburn, you'll need the following:

  • Cool shower or bath
  • Aloe
  • Moisturizer
  • Pain reliever

Follow These Steps

  1. Get out of the sun. This may sound like a no-brainer, but as a boat owner, I've heard many people say, "I already am burned; what's the big deal if I stay out another couple of hours?" The big deal is the fact that your mild sunburn could easily turn into a blistering second-degree sunburn which would need medical attention. If you think your mild sunburn hurts, you don't want to experience a second-degree burn. Get out of the sun immediately.
  2. Take a cool shower or bath. Sunburn is very similar to other types of burns, and your skin will feel very hot to the touch. You will feel instant (but temporary) relief from a cool shower or bath. Add in oatmeal or a product like Aveeno Soothing Bath Treatment ($6) which has colloidal oatmeal for extra soothing relief.
  3. Soothe your skin with Aloe Vera. This is something you've probably heard before, but it really is an easy way to get relief. A great idea would be to purchase an aloe houseplant so that you can easily snap off a stem when needed. If you don't have a green thumb, you can easily purchase aloe. Apply multiple times a day for relief.
  4. Continue to moisturize. Your skin is parched from the burn, and if you don't moisturize it, you'll have a horrible itchy feeling until it is gone. Go with a natural based moisturizer like cocoa butter. Cocoa butter melts at skin temperature which allows it to sink right in. You can purchase raw cocoa butter ($11), make your own lotion, or purchase a lotion with cocoa butter in it like Jason Pure Natural Softening Cocoa Butter Hand & Body Lotion ($10). Think about putting your lotion in the fridge since cold lotion on your hot skin will feel great.
  5. Take a pain reliever. Sunburn can be quite painful, and a pain reliever like Tylenol ($2) or Advil ($17) will help reduce any pain and swelling. Continue to take it around the clock at least the first one to two days for consistent pain relief.
  6. Drink lots of water. Your body loses fluids when you get sunburned, so be sure to stay hydrated.
  7. Seek medical attention when necessary. Some sunburns are severe enough that they require professional medical attention. If you have multiple blisters or are in severe pain, see your doctor. He or she will help determine the best choice of action and prescribe stronger pain medication if necessary.
  8. Play it safe. Once you've experienced a painful sunburn, you never want to go through it again. Get a couple of bottles of sunscreen and keep them with you at home and in your bag. How many times do you unexpectedly go somewhere with your friends without thinking ahead to bring sunscreen? If you have a bottle in your bag, you'll be prepared no matter the situation. Cover up with protective clothing, wear a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses, and stay out of sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. (if at all possible). Just keep in mind that sunscreen should be stored in a cool, dry place to preserve effectiveness, so don't leave your bag in the sun.
  9. Don't pick! If your skin starts to peel when your burn is healing, do not peel or pick at your skin. If you pick or peel, you can cause scars.

Other Tips for Treating Sunburn

  1. Apply sunscreen 20-30 minutes before heading out. This will give the sunscreen a chance to start working before you start soaking up the rays.
  2. Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours, more if you're in the water or sweating a lot.
  3. Always wear a hat to protect your scalp and sunglasses to protect your eyes.
  4. Lips sunburn faster than your skin. Apply a SPF lip balm when applying your sunscreen.

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