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Sunburns ... well ... burn.
Try as we might to lather on sunscreen and keep our fun in the sun to a minimum, most people have experienced the painful, hot sensation of a sunburn at one point or another.
It can feel like there’s no end to the itching and burning, but relief does exist — and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune!
You may have seen the menthol shaving cream trick trending on Facebook, but the dermatologists we reached out to said that's probably not the best solution.
So, we consulted with the pros to find out what actually works.
Try one (or more) of these options and your skin just might find sweet relief in no time.
“This is a great product for relief of mild to moderate sunburns. It has a lightweight formulation and absorbs easily. It's formulated without added alcohol, color or fragrances, so it's especially helpful for those with sensitive skin,” said Dr. Bobby Y. Reddy, an instructor in dermatology at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital.
“When someone gets a bad sunburn, I usually recommend staying out of the sun completely to let it heal,” said board-certified dermatologist Rebecca Baxt, who runs BAXT CosMedical in Bergen County, New Jersey. “If you start to blister, Aquaphor is a great option.”
“The aloe in this after-sun lotion helps soothe and cool down the body. It also has shea butter to moisturize and hydrate the skin after you’ve been out in the sun for an extended period of time,” said Dr. Debra Jaliman, a board-certified New York City dermatologist and author of the book “Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist."
“The light, cool mist of Avène Thermal Spring Water soothes sunburned skin. It helps to ease the hot sensation that results from a burn, and contains trace minerals that can decrease irritation,” said Dr. Allison Arthur, board-certified dermatologist at the Sand Lake Dermatology Center in Orlando, Florida. “It can be used as often as needed, and should be followed by application of a moisturizer.”
“The Burt's Bees after-sun soother is fast to absorb and very hydrating, which is ideal for parched, burned skin,” said Dr. Ranella Hirsch, a dermatologist based in the Boston area.
"Aloe Vera and cucumber are great natural sunburn treatments, and this aloe gel is one of my favorites. It can be used on skin or hair, but must be refrigerated. Believe it or not, the aloe actually feels even more soothing when the gel is cool," said Edyta Jarosz, lead esthetician at PFRANKMD Skin Salon.
“This hand and body lotion has hydrocortisone, which decreases the inflammation associated with sunburn. I like it because the urea in it is intensely hydrating and it also contains antioxidants like Vitamin A and C, which help sunburned skin return to normal,” said Dr. Maral Skelsey, director of The Dermatologic Surgery Center of Washington and clinical associate professor of dermatology at Georgetown University.
“Sunburned skin, if not treated properly, can lead to dry skin and pronounced lines and wrinkles. Therefore, it’s important to treat the sunburn with products that have ingredients like vitamin E, which helps the skin heal and neutralize free radicals,” said Dr. Dendy Engelman, dermatologic surgeon at MDCS: Medical Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery in New York. “Bio-Oil Multiuse Skincare Oil is packed with vitamins A and E — which work with the skin to promote cell regeneration — and lavender oil, chamomile oil, calendula oil and rosemary oil, which invigorate and condition the skin.”
Skelsey also recommended this sensitive skin lotion. "This body lotion contains calendula, which is a healing ingredient that's great for superficial burns," Skelsey said.
Hirsch also recommended this soothing gel. "Aloe Vera is the OG after-sun ingredient. This inexpensive gel is a great one to keep around," Hirsch said.