Skin Care, Sun, How To

How to Soothe Sunburn Symptoms and Hydrate After Sun Exposure

by Anubha Charan
September 13, 2023

Ultraviolet (UV) damage is infamous — it's a recipe for hyperpigmentation, fine lines, wrinkles, dryness, and skin cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it takes just 15 minutes of unprotected sun exposure to burn your skin, which makes sunscreen unskippable.

That said, sometimes your skin needs a little extra TLC after a day in the sun. That's because beyond causing sunburns, UV rays strip away your skin's moisture and leave it dry, irritated and inflamed. That's where after-sun products come in. Knowing how to soothe sunburn symptoms with nourishing and reparative ingredients can help restore a singed complexion to its former glory.

Does washing away a hot, sweaty day and slathering on soothing lotions sound like bliss? Turn to these products and practices to keep your skin cool, calm and collected after a day out in the sun.

What To Do When You First Notice a Sunburn

A sunburn isn't just uncomfortable — burns bring pain, sensitivity, redness and blisters in the short term, but they can also cause long-term damage in the form of hyperpigmentation, sagging, wrinkles and an increased cancer risk. Plus, sun exposure is cumulative.

So, what's your move when you notice that telltale redness? The first thing you need to do is get out of the sun. If heading indoors isn't an option, look for a shady spot.

How To Cool, Calm, & Soothe A Sunburn

Try to compensate for your skin's lost moisture. Dehydrated skin is a major cause of sensitivity, redness and inflammation. That's why after-sun formulations like Neutrogena's Sun Rescue After Sun Rehydrating Spray contain hyaluronic acid, which can hold more than 1,000 times its weight in water. It's akin to a tall glass of water that cools and rehydrates parched skin.

Follow with an after-sun gel such as Neutrogena's Sun Rescue After Sun Medicated Relief Gel, which features camphor for immediate relief from pain and itching.

Finally, give your skin time and space. Avoid popping blisters or scratching your skin — being too rough can lead to permanent damage, like scars. Wear loose clothes and avoid further sun exposure until your skin has healed completely.

4 Ways To Promote Skin Health & Hydrate Skin After Sun Exposure

In the immediate aftermath of a sunburn, your skin is in panic mode. In that moment, you need to understand how to soothe sunburn pain quickly. However, once you've calmed the worst of the irritation, you can focus on supporting your skin as it begins the healing process.

1. Take a Cold Shower

Not only will this refresh you after a hot day, but it will also cool down your hot skin and wash away all of the accumulated sweat, dirt and residue.

2. Moisturize & Prevent Peeling

Sun-damaged skin needs a hefty amount of moisturizer — preferably one with antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin E to restore your skin's natural luster and prevent peeling. Help prevent your skin from peeling after sun exposure with a rehydrating spray

3. Hydrate!

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, sunburn draws fluids from your body, so restore this water loss from both the outside and inside by stepping up your water intake.

4. Focus on Soothing Ingredients

Nourishing ingredients like aloe vera and vitamin E can help restore damaged skin. Case in point? Neutrogena's Sun Rescue After Sun Replenishing Lotion for Sensitive Skin is formulated with aloe vera, mint extract and vitamin E to cool and soothe the skin while replenishing the natural barrier.

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