5 Ways To Treat Even the Worst Sunburn This Summer

Picture this: It’s 90 degrees, the sun is blazing, you’re at the beach with your besties, and...you forgot to bring sunscreen and subsequently turn into a lobster. Or maybe, despite lathering up every hour, your skin still somehow ends up crispy AF. Or, our least favorite option, you just don’t really wear sunscreen. No matter which way you end up getting sunburnt this summer, you should really be doing more than praying it doesn’t peel. So we talked to wellness expert and natural beauty guru Peggy Hall of Living Swell to find out how to get our skin back to silky smooth (and keep it that way) after too much sun exposure.

1. Moisturize

It shouldn’t be a surprise to find out that the sun seriously dries out your skin––just think about what happens when you leave food out in sunlight. So when you find yourself with tomato-red skin, or even if you just have a touch of a burn, lather on your favorite moisturizer to soften up your skin. Some great moisturizers to try if you don’t have a favorite yet are Philosophy’s Renewed Hope in a Jar and Cloudberry & Lychee Blossom Body Lotion. Stepping up your moisturizing habits while you’re healing your sunburn is a must-do. Plus, a moisturizing mask may also be great if the burn is on your face. We’ll take any excuse to do a face mask!

2. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!

When you’re sunburnt, it’s not just your skin that’s being hurt. Odds are, your body itself is also dehydrated. Hall says that “because sunburns cause dehydration, it’s essential to drink electrolyte-balanced water. That means adding some slices of cucumber, oranges and other juicy fruits like watermelon or pineapple to your drinking water. Sip on the water frequently for continuous hydration, aiming for 10 ounces every hour.” Plus, there are tons of great recipes online for electrolyte-rich drinks if you’re looking for something other than water. In addition to water, smoothies and juices are incredible sources of hydration, especially if you try to make one with foods which are good for hydration

Related: 5 Ways to Adjust Your Skincare Routine for Summer

3. Treat the pain

We’ve all been there: trying to fall asleep, but struggling because of the chills and aches that often come along with sunburn. Marisa Pieper, a junior at Arizona State University says “Living in Arizona, the sun is way harsh, so when I get a sunburn it’s bad! So what I do is immediately lather on Aloe Vera..It’s my best friend for healing and cooling the skin.” Aloe Vera is a common burn treatment, and it provides relief to the pain of a burn. Hall reminds us it’s best to “take care that the aloe vera is natural, without added alcohol that dries the skin”. Try Lily of the Desert Aloe or any other natural Aloe Vera. Other things Hall suggests for pain include aspirin or other over-the-counter painkillers, a cold bath, or black tea cold compresses. Hall explains, “The tannins in the tea help to bring relief to the inflamed, burned tissues.” Try the options out yourself and see what works best for your burn. 

4. Wear sunscreen

After getting a burn, it’s important to get in the mindset that it can get worse. Even if you are burnt, you can make it more severe by continually going in the sun. Take it from us (and the experts): put on sunscreen whenever you go outside, whether you anticipate strong sun or not. Getting a face cream with SPF like Olay’s Complete All Day Moisturizer with Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 15 can be helpful in making sure at least your face is covered everyday. Since most daily sunscreens don’t last through swim and sweat, if you're getting extended sun exposure, remember to reapply. Probably try to apply more frequently than you were before, and consider using higher SPF. You did get burned, after all!

5. Work from the inside out

Sunburn doesn’t just hurt the outside of your body––there are internal effects too. Luckily, there are natural ways to prevent burns from the inside out. says,“Sunburns cause dehydration, swelling, electrolyte imbalance and even sun poisoning, which has symptoms of nausea, fever and chills,” says Hall. “In these severe cases, you should seek medical care.” Don’t worry though, because there are ways to avoid these symptoms. “You can create your own natural sun protection by nourishing your skin from the inside out. Vitamin A, vitamin C, and beta carotene are the superstars when it comes to boosting skin cell health.” Spend some time looking into what foods are best for skin, and test out which ones work best for you.


While there may be ways to heal your sunburn faster, the best practice, of course, is not to get burnt in the first place. If you can’t seem to avoid the sun’s wrath, you may want to consider wearing maxi dresses and big, floppy hats when headed out this summer (both options are super on-trend, so there’s no need to worry about looking weird). Lather up with sunscreen even if you’re not headed to the beach––you don’t have to be tanning to get burnt. Don’t let the sun stop you from having fun, but remember: you want your skin to stay lively far past your college years.