Six steps for soothing sunburnt skin

We all know that prevention is better than cure, but unfortunately in our less than perfect world sunburn does happen.

If you’ve awoken from an extended nap on the beach feeling more than a little tender, get out of the sun and follow these tips to recovery.

Stop the pain

As anyone who’s fallen victim to Mr Sun’s charm will know, the first couple of days hurt! Thankfully, there are ways to minimise the pain. Try a cool bath or shower for immediate relief, before partially patting yourself dry and applying moisturiser generously. Lotions which contain aloe vera or soy are best, while products involving petroleum and oil should be avoided.

Decrease inflammation

At the first sign of sunburn, taking aspirin or ibuprofen can help reduce swelling, redness and discomfort. If an area feels particularly uncomfortable, try applying a 1% hydrocortisone cream. This can be purchased without a prescription.

Drink ALL the water

Sunburn draws fluid to the skin’s surface and away from the rest of the body, so consuming extra water when you are sunburned helps prevent dehydration.

Something not right?

Blistering skin signifies second-degree sunburn. As tempting as it may be, you should not pop the blisters as their purpose is to help the skin heal and prevent infection. Seek medical assistance if you have severe blisters over a large portion of your body.


Steer clear of the sun when recovering from sunburn. If you have to be outside, use a combination of sun protection methods to defend your skin, including wearing clothing over the damaged area. Tightly woven fabrics work best – when you hold the fabric up to a bright light, you shouldn’t see any coming through.

Learn from the burn

The bad news? While you won’t be red forever, once you’ve burnt your skin the damage is permanent. Avoid further issues by checking your skin regularly for any unexpected changes. Don’t beat yourself up about getting sunburned. Instead, make a commitment to protecting yourself every single day.