Best Ways to Soothe a Sunburn From an ‘Expert’ (A Kentucky Redhead)
OK, so I only claim to be an expert because I, unfortunately, have a LOT of experience with sunburns. Growing up fair-skinned and freckly has been a journey of learning how to take care of my skin in the sun. I love to be sunbathing on the beach or in a pool, but I have to be VERY careful. Let me tell you, prevention is KEY!
WEAR YOUR SUNSCREEN
I know it's a pain to have to put it on, especially if you are greasing up a wiggly kid, but this will save you from even worse pain in the future. Be sure to apply to dry skin and let it dry before you get in the water. I like to try to do this before even leaving the house or hotel room. Then remember to re-apply! According to John Hopkins, it should be applied every two hours you are out in the sun.
Don't worry though! If you get too much sun and your skin is tender as a Hillview Farms steak, there are tried true ways I have found over the past 30 years to survive that sunburn until your skin starts to heal.
Everyone should have an Aloe plant in their home. They are cheap and so easy to take care of. Plop her in the sun, neglect her, and she will love you. Of course, you can't take one on vacation, but any drugstore Aloe is a LIFESAVER. for sunburns! I stay coated if I have baked too long in the sun. Aloe contains a compound called Aloin that has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Hydration is Key
Your skin is the largest organ in/on your body. When you have a sunburn, your skin becomes dehydrated from the irritation. To help speed the healing process, drink lots of water, liquid IV, Gatorade, or whatever you want just NOT alcohol. Which may dampen that beach vacay, so refer to Rule #1!
This will also bring down your inflamed epidermis as well as relieve pain associated with the burn.
Take a Lukewarm Shower
Hot or cold water will not feel great, so try your best to adjust the temperature of the water somewhere in the middle. You can gradually cool the water as your skin adjusts. It will feel refreshing and soothe the irritation.
A minor to moderate sunburn will heal in about a week. So hang in there! Then comes the fun part of peeling like a shedding lizard!