How to Properly Heal a Sunburn

It goes without saying that the best way to avoid a sunburn is by taking proper sun precautions, but most of us have been in the situation where we need to mitigate the redness, burning and stinging—stat. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), the first thing to do is get out of the sun (preferably by going indoors, as opposed to just hiding under some shade) as soon as you start to notice a sunburn; here are six other steps to take once you get there:

Turn Up the Cold
Cool baths and showers can help relieve the pain. As soon as you are out, gently pat yourself dry, but leave a bit of water on your skin. Then, apply a moisturizer, which will help trap in some of that water.

Go for the Aloe
Aloe is the de facto ingredient to turn to when treating a sunburn, but did you know soy can also help soothe skin? However, stay away from anything that ends in “caine.” According to the AAD, ingredients such as benzocaine can cause more irritation or even an allergic reaction. 

Reduce Swelling
Some sunburns come with swelling and serious discomfort. The AAD says to consider taking aspiring or ibuprofen to help.

Up Your Water Intake
A sunburn actually draws fluid to the skin’s surface and away from the rest of your body, so you really need to stay hydrated when dealing with a burn.

Let Any Blisters Heal
Blistering skin is a sign you actually have a second-degree burn—but a big-time no-no is popping the blisters. They are actually there to help heal and protect your skin.

Protect Your Skin
The biggest thing to keep in mind: Don’t let your sunburned skin face the elements unprotected—it will only get worse. The AAD recommends wearing tightly woven fabrics when going outdoors. If you aren’t sure whether or not your clothing is shielding the sun, hold it up to the light; if you see light coming through, it’s not protective enough.