How to treat sunburn

Photograph: / Martin Benik


Beach holidays are great fun, but not when your skin turns as red as a lobster from frolicking in the sun. If you think packing a tube of aloe vera gel will help, bad news. It may feel cool, but does little else to relieve the sting.

Here are four top tips on how to go about soothing that nasty sunburn instead.

1. How to ease sunburn: Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise

Do so as often as you need to in order to keep skin moist, which lessens the appearance of flaking and peeling. Choose a moisturiser with vitamin E as it can help repair skin and protect it from free radical damage, recommends Dr Cheong Wai Kwong, senior consultant dermatologist from Specialist Skin Clinic.


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2. How to ease sunburn: Avoid makeup

Wait for at least three days, or until the redness improves, before applying cosmetics, says Dr Cheong. Otherwise, you could make matters worse.

3. How to ease sunburn: Use a cream containing cortisone

A cream with a steroid like cortisone will help reduce the inflammation caused by a bad sunburn. It will also limit the damage of UV radiation, explains Dr Cheong. An over-the-counter cortisone cream (one per cent hydrocortisone) may help but one that’s prescription-strength might work better.


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4. How to ease sunburn: Skip brightening skin care products

The active ingredients in these type of products may aggravate and sensitise sunburnt skin, and in turn, cause more peeling, says Dr Low Chai Ling, medical director of The Sloane Clinic Singapore.

It goes without saying that prevention is better than cure, so always slap on sunscreen when heading outdoors. Take it from Hugh Jackman, who was diagnosed with skin cancer in 2013.

The Aussie actor recently underwent his fifth basal cell removal within two years, earlier in February, and urged his 4.9 million followers to “PLEASE USE SUNSCREEN and get regular check-ups.” You heard the man!


This story was originally published in SHAPE