The Right Way to Deal With That Terrible Sunburn You Got Yesterday


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You slathered on your go-to sunscreen, donned your fave wide-brim hat, and even made sure you reapplied throughout the day—yet somehow you were still left with a nasty burn. It happens to the best of us, even when we think we're being diligent. "Sunscreens wear off from both direct light and from oils produced on the skin," notes celebrity esthetician Renée Rouleau. "This is why many people experience sunburns on their nose. Of all the areas on the face, the nose has the largest pores due to oil production. When the nose becomes oily, sunscreens break down, and the oil attracts UV rays." This is why it's important to reapply every hour.

But while it can be frustrating, painful, and even a little scary to see your skin turn an angry shade of lobster before your eyes, try not to panic: There's a certain protocol you can (and should) follow to lessen the pain and damage of your sunburn and to prevent less-than-ideal side effects like peeling. On the flip side, there are products and steps that might seem like a good idea for relief but can worsen the burn. (Spoiler alert: Skip the petroleum jelly.)

Keep reading to see how to handle a sunburn (and what to avoid).

Want to prevent burns from happening in the first place? Make sure you're applying SPF to these oft-neglected spots.

This post was originally published on May 30, 2017.