Skipped Sunscreen? Tips to Ease the Pain

So you’re headed home from a long, hot day at the beach, river, pool, lake, or waterpark and you start to feel that tingling, a stinging chafe where your bathing suit meets your back. Sunburn. As you mentally kick yourself for forgetting to reapply that sunscreen—or for skipping it entirely—it’s time for damage control. Here are some tips for managing the discomfort that sunburns can cause.

  • Start taking a mild pain relief medication like aspirin, ibuprofen, or Tylenol as soon as you begin to feel pain.
  • Try making a cool compress by soaking a washcloth in equal parts of water and milk. Cool compresses containing Burow solution are another option; you can buy Burow packets at the drugstore.
  • Aloe is a natural ingredient that has been used for years to help treat sunburns. It’s now available in a variety of lotions and gels, so you don’t have to suffer through both a sunburn and sticky, smelly natural aloe to benefit from it’s healing properties.
  • Soaking in a cool bath might also sooth your singed skin, but be sure to keep the water cool (not ice cold), and avoid anything that might irritate the skin further, such as bath salts, harsh soaps, or scrubbing the skin.

If your sunburn is more severe, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor. Symptoms like extreme blistering, nausea, dizziness, or fainting may require professional care or could indicate more severe problems related to sun exposure.

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