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Ask Dr. Schultz | Skin Care Guides | Feel the Burn: How to Heal a Sunburn

Feel the Burn: How to Heal a Sunburn

Accidents happen and so do sunburns. So here are some quick fixes to ease the burn.

Immediate Action

Sunburns are exhausting. Fortunately, there are steps that you can take immediately to relieve the pain. First, once you are safely out of the sun, you should take aspirin to help stop the burning sensation. If you cannot take aspirin, take Advil or Aleve; they will help, as well. Next, make a compress soaked in a mixture of milk and water and apply it to the skin. As the mixture evaporates, the skin is cooled. Also, the protein in the milk will help buffer the burnt skin. This is why it is best to use skim milk; it contains all the protein, but no fat, which doesn't help the healing process. Dr. Schultz explains milk and water compresses further in this DermTV episode:

Continue Healing

After taking those initial steps, be sure to apply cortisone ointment (ointment is better than cream in this situation) to your burn three to four times a day. Take a cool to lukewarm bath to help soothe a burn that covers your whole body. When you get out of the bath, pat your skin dry, rather than rubbing it. (This goes for drying your face after cleansing, as well!) Apply aloe vera to the burned areas to get further relief.

All these steps will help relieve the pain of a sunburn. And next time you are out in the sun, be sure to reapply your sunscreen every two-three hours so you don't go home looking like a lobster.

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