We’ve warned you time and again not to venture out into the sun without proper protection. Moisturizer, sunscreen, and carefully tailored foundation are all easy ways to fend off the sun so you don’t return from the beach fried to a crisp. However, if you’re reading this, you probably didn’t listen to our frequent advice. More than likely, you’re sitting there gingerly trying not to bruise your tender, lobster-red skin as you begrudgingly admit you’ve learned your lesson about safe sunning. Don’t worry. We’re not going to gloat over your misfortunate or respond with the classic, “We told you so!” though it is tempting. Instead, we’ve compiled a list of things you can do to avoid upsetting your overbaked spots any further. Take these steps to heart and your plodding journey to recovery will be more pleasurable. No one should have to waste their summer on a sunburn.
LET YOUR SKIN BREATHE
If you’re suffering from a painful sunburn, do not turn right around and pull on skinny short shorts or a tightly fitted bikini. Give your skin some personal space to recover from what you put it through. To help you steer clear of clingy summer attire, think boho chic when you’re deciding what to wear post-sunburn. A loose-fitting dress or tunic-like blouse will keep you properly trendy without causing further burn-related inflammation.
DOWN A FEW PILLS
Sunburns bring on redness and swelling. That’s just the nature of the beast. If your skin is flaring up and you can’t stand the sensation, head to the drugstore and get an anti-inflammatory. Supplements like Ibuprofen and aspirin will ease the pain and keep you level-headed while your skin starts to heal. Obviously, keep your medicating to a minimum. No one lies a pill-popper.
KEEP IT COOL
After you’ve suffered the wrath of the sun, you need to chill out. Yes, this means resting up instead of running around like nothing happened. It also means taking a cool bath and letting your body cool off to a lower temperature. If you look at bathing as an art, soak your burning skin in a milk-based mixture for optimal results.
Sunburns often leave you covered with unappetizing blisters and peeling skin. Resist the temptation to burst these translucent domes. While human curiosity will work hard to convince you a blister needs to be popped, the reality is these liquid bubbles contain healing chemicals gathered by your body for such a time as this. Keep away from your body’s battle of recovery. It may be hard to accept, but it’s got things under control.
SMEAR ON SKIN CREAM
Soak in the tub all you like, but sooner or later you’ll have to get out and face the day standing. You’ll also get super wrinkly if you lounge in the bath for hours on end. If your skin is still feeling parched and irritated after a milk bath, cover it in a healing cream to help extra moisture sink deep down into your pores. Remember, you’re moisturizing not exfoliating. As frustrating as those peeling flakes are, they’re nothing compared to the pain you’ll feel if you try to scrub them off with an exfoliant. Trust us.
THE STRONG STUFF
If everything you try still leaves you wanting more, it’s alright to pull out the big guns. Instance over-the-counter products like hydrocortisone cream help reduce inflammation and pain with more gusto than traditional ointments. Just make sure you use them sparingly. They’re so powerful they can numb down your burn so much you forget it’s there. Let nature run its course. Avoiding pain may sound incredible, but ultimately that pain is meant to keep you from making foolish decisions while you heal. Like it or not, you need your sunburn to remain properly sore.
Soothing your sunburn doesn’t take much doing. Armed with a few creams and loose-fitting clothes, you can speed up the recovery process and be good as new in no time. Just remember the pain next time you’re tempted to brave the beach without any sunscreen. Burn once, you live and learn. Burn twice, shame on you.
— Julie Grossman