How To Treat Sunburn On Face Fast Naturally – Some of the best products for treating sunburn at home include moisturizers, aloe vera gel, hydrocortisone cream, and more. Getty Images
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, sunburns happen even when we wear sunscreen and UPF clothing—in fact, one in three Americans report a sunburn each year. Burns range from reddened to blistered skin, but even the mildest can be uncomfortable. To find out how to treat sunburn at home, we talked to dermatologists about which over-the-counter products they recommend and how to know when it’s time to see a doctor. .
How To Treat Sunburn On Face Fast Naturally
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Dermatologist Recommended Tips For Healing A Sunburn Fast
Based on advice from dermatologists, we’ve created over-the-counter products that you can use to treat sunburn at home. Staying hydrated while recovering from a sunburn is important, experts say, so make sure you’re drinking plenty of water (having the right water bottle can encourage you to do so). If your sunburn is severe or you feel nauseous, be sure to see a doctor for further treatment, such as prescription medication.
All the experts we spoke to recommend using products made from aloe vera, which is known for its cooling, soothing and moisturizing properties. Banana Boat’s Aloe After Sun Gel can be used on the body and face according to the brand and leaves the skin clear after massaging. Available in 8 ounce and 16 ounce bottles.
If you don’t like the sticky feeling of gel, some brands offer lotions and creams formulated with aloe vera. A board-certified dermatologist and Ronald O. Perelman Associate Professor of Dermatology, Dr. Mary Stevenson says it’s best to choose a cream over a lotion. Usually sold in a tub, creams are thicker and more moisturizing than lotions (usually sold in a pump bottle), she explained.
This cream from Cetaphil is formulated with Aloe Vera and Vitamin E to moisturize and soothe the skin. According to the brand, it does not leave a greasy feeling and absorbs quickly. The cream is also fragrance-free and non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog pores. You can buy the cream in 3 ounce, 8 ounce and 16 ounce containers.
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A board-certified dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group, Dr. Besides staying hydrated, the best thing you can do for sunburn is to use a plain, unscented moisturizer, says Michelle Farber. It’s important to help your skin repair itself, especially for sunburn peeling, and one way to do that is by using a moisturizer.
CeraVe’s moisturizer contains ceramides that renew and protect the skin barrier, as well as moisturizing hyaluronic acid. The fragrance-free, non-comedogenic cream has a rich texture and can be used on the face and body. You can buy CeraVe’s cream in a 19-ounce tub, 16-ounce tub, 16-ounce tub with pump, 12-ounce tub, 8-ounce bottle, or a travel-size 1.89-ounce bottle.
Moisturizers are also available in spray form, similar to spray sunscreens. Since spray moisturizers are usually lighter than a pot of cream, I find it easy to travel and keep a bottle in my beach bag in case my fair skin turns pink after a day out.
Vaseline makes a non-spray moisturizer with aloe vera that moisturizes and soothes sunburned skin. After application, the spray absorbs quickly into the skin, leaving a smooth, non-greasy, non-sticky feel, according to the brand. Vaseline’s Moisturizing Aloe Spray comes in a 6.5 ounce bottle.
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Hydrocortisone cream helps soothe itching and burning, and Farber says over-the-counter products are a good place to start when looking for sunburn treatments that target dry, itchy, flaky skin.
Cortisone 10 Cream is formulated with 1% hydrocortisone to reduce itching and aloe vera to moisturize the skin. The fragrance-free formula comes in a 2-ounce tube.
Farber says a cold compress can relieve inflammation from sunburn. This one from Ace is surrounded by a touchable material on the outside so you can apply it directly to your skin without wrapping in a towel first. The compact is designed to be flexible enough to shape multiple body parts as well. It is 7.75 inches long and 11.87 inches wide, about the size of printer paper.
If your sunburn has blisters, don’t poke or tear the skin — doing so could lead to infection or scaring in the future, experts tell us. Instead, experts recommend trying the following treatments.
Natural Ways To Soothe A Sunburn
If your rash is just red and itchy, avoid bandages and stick to moisturizer, says Farber. But if your sunburn worsens and blisters, moist dressings such as hydrocolloid strips can speed healing. According to the brand, these strips have a waterproof seal and can be used for up to seven days after application, which helps reduce scarring. You can buy strips in packs of three, six or 20.
Farber says that in addition to bandages, moist wraps like these burn pads can help soothe and cool the skin, as well as provide a barrier that keeps the area clean and moist. Other Spenco moist burn pads have a higher water content than the brand, and after placing them on the burn, you cover the pad with tape or stretchy gauze. Burning pads can be purchased in small, medium and large sizes.
Farber says petroleum jelly has sealing properties, meaning it helps trap water in the broken skin barrier. If blisters form in a skin eruption, you can apply Aquaphor or Vaseline (both mainly petroleum jelly) to the affected area to prevent secondary skin infection. Apart from the ointment, you can buy vaseline spray and Aquaphor spray.
D., is a board-certified dermatologist and clinical professor of clinical dermatology at the Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine. Michael C. Tanning is “a sign that your skin has too much UV,” says Cameron. Different degrees of sunburn are determined by the depth of damage to the skin. “First-degree burns affect the top layers of the skin and are usually red, hot, and swollen,” says Farber. “Second degree burns involve deeper layers of skin and blisters.”
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Stevenson explained that the inflammatory response to UV exposure occurs because UV radiation damages the DNA within skin cells, thereby causing sunburn and sometimes pigmentation (sunning). “It’s your body trying to protect itself,” he said. “Everyone’s skin type is different, but if you’re discolouring or burning, you’re getting UV damage.”
Board Certified Dermatologist at Aglow Dermatology, Dr. Deanna Strachan says the condition can range from mild redness, soreness and blistering of the skin to fever, chills or nausea. Because of these general symptoms, burns can be dangerous—for example, severe blistering and fluid loss can lead to dehydration and require IV hydration, Strachan says.
According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, five or more sunburns double the risk of developing potentially fatal melanoma, and UV damage can occur even without an obvious sunburn. Just one sunburn in childhood or adolescence doubles a person’s chance of developing melanoma later in life.
How you treat the rash depends on whether you have symptoms of secondary infection, such as blisters and pus, drainage, or a general reaction, such as fever or chills, Cameron says. For most mild sunburns, Farber says it’s best to apply a thick moisturizer to irritated areas and keep them hydrated. She recommends aloe vera and cold baths to soothe inflamed skin, while Cameron recommends ibuprofen to reduce swelling, redness and pain. However, deeper burns may require a doctor’s visit and more aggressive treatment. For example, patients with severe burns are often given a prescription silver sulfadiazine topical cream, Stevenson says.
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Farber doesn’t recommend treating sunburns with apple cider vinegar and witch hazel — two popular home remedies — because sunburns can irritate the skin. Also, every expert we spoke to said you shouldn’t pop bubbles or pull at flaky and cracked skin.
While the occasional mild sunburn isn’t much of a concern, research also shows that a history of sunburn — especially blister (also known as second-degree) sunburn — can increase your risk of skin cancer later in life. That’s why it’s important to focus on preventing them, especially in the warmer months when sunlight is more intense. The two best ways to avoid sunburn are to apply sunscreen to your face and body and use UPF hats to shade your face, as well as UPF clothing. Dermatologists recommend that sunscreen be part of your daily skin care routine, and if you sweat or are in the water, be sure to reapply SPF as directed on the product packaging.
At Select, we work with professionals with expertise and authority based on relevant education and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure that all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and free of undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.
Zoe Malin is Select’s co-updates editor and covers skin care products like spray sunscreen, color.
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