Question: What is the best way to treat a sunburn?
Answer: There’s really no excuse for getting a sunburn with all the knowledge we have, but that doesn’t mean we don’t slip up on occasion, unable to resist the pull of lounging beachside all day. We asked Dr. Karen Hammerman of Vanguard Dermatology to share her best burn remedies for those times we’re red, hurting and yes, a little embarrassed.
If you don’t have symptoms that require seeing a doctor immediately—such as blistering, a fever of 102 degrees or higher, chills, severe pain, dry mouth, excessive thirst—sunburn relief can be treated with at-home remedies, according to Hammerman. She recommends taking a cold bath and/or using cold compresses and drinking lots of water as soon as you feel the first hint of a burn to soothe the skin. “A cool compress is specifically great for the facial sunburns, where the burning sensation is typically the most severe and annoying.” Aloe vera and menthol creams also work immediately, but when your skin is in the peeling recovery process, switch to a vitamin-based lotion, like St. Ives Daily Hydrating Vitamin E Body Lotion, to help with the itch. (Expert tip: Keep it in the fridge for extra relief when you apply it.) Another proven sunburn remedy that’s not-so-expected: potatoes. “This technique has been used all over the world and is time-tested,” says Hammerman. “Take two washed potatoes, cut them into small chunks, then blend or process them until they are in liquid form. Pat the burned areas with the pulverized potatoes, wait for them to dry on your skin and then take a cool shower. Doing this will help minimize the pain and restore moisture balance to your skin.”