What Is after Sun Gel?

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  • Written By: Kathleen Howard
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 16 September 2019
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After sun gel, also called after sun cream or after sun moisturizer, refers to a topical ointment designed to moisturize and protect the skin after sun exposure. Many after sun gels contain moisturizing agents, antioxidants and extracts to nourish the skin after being stripped of its natural oils. Soothing ingredients like aloe, lavender oil and chamomile are also frequently included in these gels. To help people who have suffered burns or irritation due to overexposure, after sun gel might even contain mild numbing agents. Practicing proper after sun care is essential in maintaining the health of the skin and reducing sun damage.

When exposed to the sun for long periods of time, many people notice that their skin is dry, tight and sometimes itchy. Overexposure to the sun will not only dehydrate the skin, but it will also decrease skin elasticity and cause premature wrinkles. After sun gel is designed to provide moisture to dehydrated skin. To accomplish this, many products contain glycerin, which locks moisture into the skin, as well as various moisturizing agents like vegetable oils and shea butter.


After sun gel is also designed to minimize free radical damage and nourish the skin. To protect against sun damage, many after sun products contain antioxidants like vitamin E to neutralize free radicals. This helps to minimize sun damage, prevent wrinkles, and protect against skin cancer. Still, after sun gel is not a replacement for protecting the skin with sunscreen. For optimal protection, it is important to care for the skin both during and after sun exposure.

The last goal of after sun gel is to soothe sunburned skin. One of the most popular soothing ingredients is aloe. Aloe is a safe and natural ingredient used to cool and soothe irritated, burnt or blistered skin. Other skin-soothing agents like lavender oil, chamomile, calamine and witch hazel are also commonly included in after-sun products. These substances draw heat from the skin and reduce any burning sensations one might be experiencing.

After sun gels designed to treat sunburn might also contain a topical anesthetic, which will numb the skin. One of the most commonly used numbing agents is lidocaine. If a person is dealing with a very painful sunburn, lidocaine will reduce the pain temporarily. While lidocaine should not be used on a regular basis, users who are not getting relief from other after sun products might want to try one that contains this anesthetic.


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