With summer here, more and more people are spending time outside in the sun. Whether you’re gardening, taking a walk around the neighborhood, or spending the afternoon at the beach, protecting your skin is important but often overlooked. It’s vital that you use SPF on your face and your body before you head out into the sun but sometimes people forget to reapply. If you find yourself sunburned and want to know how to soothe it fast, keep reading.

The most important thing to do is to get inside and out of the sun as soon as you feel you might have a sunburn. Staying outside even longer will only make your sunburn worse than it already is. If you absolutely must stay outside, be sure that you cover up immediately to prevent further damage. And, drink plenty of water to re-hydrate your body and your skin. It’s important not to make it ice cold if you’re overheated but cool water is refreshing and won’t be a shock to your system.

Once you’re inside and out of the sun, take a cold, wet towel and lay it gently against the area that’s sunburned. That will take the heat out of the burn and help sooth some of the irritation you’re feeling. Once you’ve done that, you can apply an aloe vera gel to the affected skin to help soothe and heal. Be sure to use real 100% pure aloe vera gel and not a cream or lotion that is scented.

If you have a very bad sunburn, check with your doctor to see if an antibiotic steroid cream or ointment will help heal the burn more quickly. You can also take an over the counter pain reliever like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help reduce the pain.

Although it may be tempting, never pop sunburn blisters or peel away blistering skin. It’s important that you allow your skin to heal naturally and on it’s own. The skin will peel when the skin below it is ready to be exposed. Peeling it off more quickly can only aggravate an already damaged area of your skin.

So, there are lots of old wives tales about things you should try to do to heal sunburn quickly. Here are a few things you should NOT do.

  • Put ice on the burn
  • Cover it with makeup
  • Exfoliate the area
  • Use alcohol-based creams
  • Take a hot shower
  • Put butter on your burn

If you’ve ended up with a sunburn, I hope a few of these tips will help soothe the area. And, please remember to use an SPF sunscreen any time you will be out in the sun.