What are Some Ways to get Sunburn Relief?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 30 January 2019
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Sunburn relief is often a pressing need in the hot summer months, when it is easy to get severely burned without noticing it. Fortunately, there are a lot of ways to deal with the pain, itching, and soreness of a sunburn, and many of these techniques will also speed the healing process. Sunburn relief can also help to recondition the skin, so that you will not develop leathery or papery skin in the wake of a sunburn. Ice packs or cold washcloths can help ease the heat, moisturizers can help with itching, and warm, gently exfoliating baths can help loosen and remove dead skin.

To ease the heat associated with a sunburn, ice packs and cold washcloths can be very helpful. If a sunburn has started to itch, a cold washcloth can be sprinkled with an astringent like tea tree oil or witch hazel and then used as a compress to bring down the level of itching. Cold compresses and ice packs can be used off and on throughout the day on a sunburn, and some people even find it helpful to stick a soft garment in the freezer for a few hours before bed so that the garment can be worn over the sunburned area to keep it cool.


Sunburns also tend to get extremely dry, which can make them even itchier. Relief from a moisturizer, calamine lotion, or aloe vera is often instantaneous, and it can be a good idea to carry around a container of lotion to periodically touch up a sunburn during the day. If the itching becomes unbearable, slapping the sunburn will help relieve the itching without scraping away at the tender skin. You can also find cooling sprays for sunburn relief at many drug stores.

When a sunburn starts to heal and peel, lukewarm baths with oatmeal, cornstarch, or baking soda can help ease the itching. The warm water will also loosen the dead skin on the top of the sunburn, making it easy to gently remove the flaky skin with an exfoliating cloth. Make sure not to scrub too deeply while exfoliating, as you do not want to damage the skin and cause scarring. A sunburn can also be dry brushed with boar-bristle skin brush to remove dead skin.

While a sunburn is healing, it is important to avoid additional sun exposure, which can increase the damage. Using a skin lotion for sunburn relief which includes SPF protection can be a good idea, and it is also smart to wear loose, long-sleeved garments and sunhats to protect the sunburned site. Once a sunburn has entirely healed, the skin is usually still very tender, and you may want to use extra-strong sunblock to prevent the burn from recurring.

Prevention for sunburns in general is also very advisable to people who are tired of looking for sunburn relief every summer. Strong sunscreen should be frequently applied to protect against sunburns, and accompanied with long, loose clothing and sun hats. Sunglasses to protect the eyes from the sun are also strongly recommended, especially for people with light eye colors like blue and green.


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Post 5

@anon332451: I am not a doctor, but I have had a sunburn or two, and know some people who have had severe ones.

First, try taking a couple of ibuprofen. This will help reduce the inflammation. Also, try using pure aloe vera gel, with nothing else in it. Put the bottle in the fridge for a couple of hours. It can help. You might also try putting cortisone cream on the burn. You can get it at Wal-Mart. Grab some Bactine spray while you're at it. It has something like lidocaine in it to help relieve the pain.

Again, I'm not a doctor, but the symptoms you're describing sound a little like you may have developed a sun allergy. If you're still having the intense itching and pain in a couple of days, you need to see a doctor.

Post 4

I'm super itchy. I'm peeling and burned, and my shoulder, arms and chest are super itchy and sore. I've tried taking a shower, but that only made the itching more intense. I also used the aloe vera gel that I bought, but only made it burn, sting and itch, but I'm not allergic to it. I used ice packs, but they only stopped the pain and itching for as long as they were on there.

Is there anything I can do to make it stop? I'm in tears and don't know what to do! I was in Florida, and I burned a little on Tuesday, and then burned really bad on Saturday! Now it's Monday and I woke up at

4 a.m. with a super itchy back and shoulders and scratched it so bad on my shoulders in one spot that there is going to be a scar and it is close to bleeding. Can someone with good, helpful advice please help me? I'm only 17 and my parents think it's nothing. Please help me!
Post 3

I use the old remedy of keeping a spray bottle of white vinegar handy and spray myself before going out in the sun and if I feel i am getting too much sun spray again as needed. I also use it for an after sun spray and it will relieve itching. For the face, just pour on your hands and apply. Spray children's legs and arms often. Your burn will turn to a tan. Old remedy from a trapper. Very good!

Post 2

Lying on newsprint is helpful at night. The black print pulls the heat, then dissipates it in the whitish paper.

Post 1

One of the best remedies I have found is the skin cream, Noxzema, in the blue container. Slathered (a heavy coating) on the sunburned area and left to dry, and reapplied each time the burned area of the skin starts to feel hot and dry, will not only give instant cooling relief, it will also keep the peeling to a minimum.

This is a time-tested remedy, by an easily burned individual: me.

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