How to Soothe Sunburn – What Soothes, Best and Fast Ways

How to Soothe Sunburn – What Soothes, Best and Fast Ways


This is how it goes: you lie in the sun to catch a tan and before you know it you are looking to learn how to soothe sunburn. This article will highlight the numerous interventions available to help you get your normal-toned skin again fast. We’ll also explain the best way to go about treating bad sunburn cases.

What Soothes Sunburn That Is Itching

Sunburns are often accompanied by itching which can make you get the urge to scratch the affected area of skin, but according to the WebMD, you should not scratch the sunburned skin as this can lead to infection, more so if there are blisters.

Getting an oatmeal bath can instead help to relieve the itching and so can keeping the skin moisturized by applying a good moisturizing cream (or lotion for that matter) such as Cetaphil.  Applying 1% hydrocortisone creams can also help to reduce itching.

How to Soothe Sunburn – Soothing Sunburn

Sunburn can be psychologically distressing – I know – and can steal from your self-confidence and self-esteem albeit for a few days. Here is how to soothe sunburn at home:

Aloe vera: Aloe vera is one of my favorite remedies in as far as soothing sunburn is causes. The anti-inflammatory properties of this succulent African dryland plant helps to relieve a sunburned skin of inflammation and itching.

You can cut a fresh “leaf” from the plant and squeeze the sap directly onto the affected area of the skin or get an over-the-counter gel. You may as well consider looking for a lotion or cream with aloe vera as one of its ingredients.

Anti-inflammatory medicines: over-the-counter pain relievers such as Acetaminophen (sold as Tylenol), Naproxen (sold as Naprosyn or Aleve), and Ibuprofen (sold as Advil or Motrin) can help to relieve the pain and inflammation typically associated with sunburn.

Cool showers and compresses: Taking cool showers (or baths) and compressing a wet wash cloth on the affected area of the skin can also help to soothe sunburn. This is one of those very easy yet effective remedies that you can’t leave behind when explaining how to soothe sunburn.

Topical steroid creams: Topical steroid creams (for instance 1% hydrocortisone cream) are also usually effective in soothing sunburn pain and inflammation. The WebMD website however cautions against using such creams on children aged below 2 years without your doctor’s consent. You should also not apply hydrocortisone creams in the vaginal area for children aged below 12 years.

Moisturize: Using a good moisturizing cream (or lotion for that matter) such as Cetaphil also helps to soothe sunburned skin. This is particularly helpful in relieving of itching. You should however not use butter, Vaseline, or any other oil-based skin care product on sunburn as this can clog the pores, trapping in heat, which would then lead to further damage to the skin.

Black tea: cool freshly made tea also helps to soothe your sunburn. The positive benefit of tea to sunburn is often attributed to the tannin that is normally found in it. Tannin is claimed to draw heat from the area of skin affected by sunburn.

Milk: Who said that milk is only good for breakfast? According to the Medicinenet website, milk may help to soothe the sunburned skin by creating a thin film of protein.

Vitamin E: Vitamin E and skin care are arguably matches made in heaven. In addition to keeping the skin smooth and soft, vitamin E can soothe sunburn by reducing inflammation.

Cucumber: With analgesic as well as antioxidant properties, cucumber also holds a special place in as far as soothing of sunburns is concerned. To use cucumber, mash cucumbers into a fine paste and then slather it all over the sunburned area of skin. Leave it on for 15 minutes and then wash it off with cold water.

How to Soothe Sunburn Fast

Walking around with a sunburned skin is nobody’s idea of fun. It thus comes as a no surprise that “how to soothe sunburn fast” is a common concern. The good thing about most cases of sunburn – usually first degree sunburns – is that they will clear in between 3 and 7 days.

You can always help to fasten the healing process by using one or more of the numerous remedies ranging from cool compresses to milk, hydrocortisone creams, oatmeal soaks, aloe vera, moisturizing lotions, and anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen to name but  a few. We have discussed these remedies in more details in the previous section.

Best Ways to Soothe a Sunburn

The other day one of our esteemed readers asked us to highlight some of the best ways to soothe sunburn.

Well, answering the question is a rather tricky affair because the appropriateness and effectiveness of a treatment options will vary depending on the prevailing circumstances, particularly the extent of the sunburn and the nature of the affliction, for example, does the sunburn itch or not? Is it inflamed or not.

That said, milk, anti-inflammatory drugs, aloe vera gels and lotions, normal moisturizing lotions and creams, cool compresses, black tea, cucumber, and steroid creams are all possible options that you may want to consider. We have looked at them in more details in another section of this guide.

How to Soothe Bad Sunburn and How to Soothe Itchy Sunburn

For the sake of this article, we’ll consider bad sunburn to be one that is blistering and is itchy. Blistering sunburn – which is essentially second degree sunburn – is more prone to infection and requires more care.

One important point to note at this point that regardless of how itchy the blisters are, you should never scratch them as this can increase the chances of infection. You should also never use Vaseline or other oil-based products on the sunburn as this can trap in heat leading to further heat damage.

Instead you should use apply an antibiotic cream such as Polysporin or Bacitracin and then dress the blisters using a nonstick dressing.

Taking OTC analgesics such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen can also help to relieve pain.