The most effective ways to treat sunburn

Bella Hadid Alberta Ferreti

Here’s what to do if you’ve caught a little too much sun

Sunscreen is without a doubt the most important skin care product you could ever use. Not only does it protect you from developing skin cancers later on in life, it also assists preventing premature ageing in the form of pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles. But despite the slip, slop, slap message being drilled into us since we were kids, sunburns still happen all too regularly. And although we strongly advise you take steps to avoid getting sunburn at all costs, we also think you need to know the best way to treat sunburn if and when it does occur.

Here, we spoke to La Roche-Posay’s Scientific Communications Manager, Rachel McAdam for the lowdown on how to care for sunburnt skin.

1

Hydrate

Because sunburn draws fluid towards the skin’s surface and away from the rest of your body, it’s vital you replenish lost water levels by drinking plenty of H2O both during and after prolonged sun exposure. Staying hydrated will also help you avoid the tell-tale signs of dehydration, which include fatigue, headaches and nausea.

2

Soothe the area

When treating sunburn, it’s important to hydrate the skin from the outside-in as well as the inside-out. McAdam recommends applying a moisturiser formulated with aloe vera to the entire burn area to help repair the skin barrier as quickly as possible. When selecting your moisturiser, she advises checking the ingredients list and choosing one with the highest percentage of aloe vera possible. 

Another top way to soothe the burn is to cool it down ASAP. While a cold shower is an effective way to do just that, McAdam also suggests frequently spraying the skin with La Roche-Posay’s Thermal Spring Water Spray.

with La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water Spray

3

Reduce inflammation

Taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory like Ibuprofen will help reduce any swelling and inflammation, plus it will ease any pain you may be experiencing. Also, if taken early enough, they may assist with taking away some of the redness from the burn.   

4

Consult a professional

If you’ve experienced second-degree sunburn and are suffering from blisters, a temperature and/or vomiting, McAdam’s notes it’s a good idea to seek medical advice. You can either head straight to your GP or book an appointment with a dermatologist who’ll be able to assess your burns and advise you of the best treatment plan.  

5

Prevent further damage

It may seem obvious but protecting your skin from further sun damage is essential if you want your skin to heal. Stay in the shade, wear SPF-protecting clothing and of course, wear sunscreen at all times. If you’re on the hunt for a lightweight sunscreen that won’t leave you feeling sticky, try Bondi Sands SPF 50+ Sunscreen Lotion.

Bondi Sands SPF 50+ Sunscreen Lotion
TOP TIP: The average adult needs to apply at least one teaspoon of sunscreen per limb or an entire shot glass’s worth over their whole body for maximum sun protection.

Want to know more about sunscreen? Then find out the difference between physical and chemical formulas and discover our top tip for choosing the right sunscreen for you.

What’s your favourite sunscreen product? Let us know in the comments below.   

Main image credit: Getty

Kate has worked for BEAUTYcrew since early 2016, first as a contributor, before being named Beauty Writer in 2017. She loves picking the brains of the industry's top experts to get to the bottom of beauty's toughest questions. Bronze eyeshadow palettes are her weakness and she's forever on the hunt for the perfect nude nail polish to suit her fair skin. Her words can also be found in Men's Health magazine.