How to care for a sunburn like a pro

Courtesy of Stanley Dai on Unsplash

Rachel Kleszyk

With warmer months approaching, it can be tempting to lather on the tanning oil and bask in the heat that’s been missing for what feels like forever. But as the temperature increases, so does the likelihood of finding yourself a little too red after a day of sun exposure. Here is a list of products to help treat the sunburn that feels so good at the moment but hurts so badly afterward. 

Water and Advil

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, keeping hydrated and taking an occasional Advil will help to reduce swelling and pain brought on by a sunburn. Cool showers or baths can also help to relieve any redness. 

Hydrocortisone Cream 

Hydrocortisone cream is known for its anti-itching properties and is commonly used to treat sunburns that leave the skin itchy and irritable. This Hydrocortisone Anti-Itch Cream by CeraVe will do just that. It includes ingredients like hyaluronic acid to help the skin’s barrier retain moisture and niacinamide to soothe the feeling of the burn. It is important, though, to never apply any hydrocortisone cream to open wounds or sores. 

After-Sun Lotion

An all-over lotion or gel can feel like a lifesaver when a sunburn starts setting in. Sun Bum Cool Down Hydrating After Sun Lotion will provide instant relief and start working to prevent the damaged skin from peeling. Cocoa butter and Vitamin E are two main ingredients in this lotion, which provide extra moisture and pain relief. 

Soothing Aloe Gel

Another essential ingredient to treat sunburn is aloe vera. Due to its antioxidant properties, this plant relieves redness, pain and swelling, as well as moisturizes the skin to prevent further damage. This Holika Holika Aloe 97% Soothing Lotion is made up of 97 percent aloe vera and 21 vegan ingredients to enhance its comforting effects. Safe to apply all over the body, aloe vera gel offers countless post-burn benefits. 

Skin Barrier Repair

According to Healthline, the skin naturally has a barrier that protects that body from everyday environmental toxins. When exposed to the sun for extended periods of time, it can weaken or be broken altogether. While there are many products and remedies that offer immediate burn relief, few work to repair the actual skin barrier. Great Barrier Relief by KraveBeauty is a nourishing serum that can effortlessly be added to any skincare routine. Packed with balancing oils and restoring ingredients, it helps to treat current and prevent future damage to the skin’s barrier. 

Moist Burn Pads

In the event of a large or blistering sunburn, cooling burn pads can both treat and protect the affected areas. These Spenco 2nd Skin Moist Burn Pads cushion the wound to relieve pain and prevent scarring. Also odorless and Latex-free, these pads should work on even the most sensitive skin.  

Aloe Vera To-Go

Because the pain of sunburns rarely subsides in just one day, a travel-size aloe vera treatment is something everyone should have at the ready. This After Sun Soothing Aloe Mist from Herbivore is ideal for just that. Applied in mist form, this product is efficient to use whenever and wherever cool comfort is needed. 


Lastly, apply SPF daily to prevent sunburn from worsening or happening again. Thinksport Mineral Sunscreen Lotion is free of biologically harmful chemicals, vegan and cruelty-free. Available in various levels of SPF, there is a sunscreen that will benefit every skin type.