Tips for Moisturizing after a Sunburn

There’s nothing better than the feeling of freedom that comes with the lazy days of summer. But along comes with a day under the sun, especially at the beach, is the horrible sunburn caused by being too lazy about reapplying sunscreen. The discomfort you feel in your skin may not cause you to think of moisturizing it, but believe us, moisturizing your skin after a sunburn will help with your recovery.

Why Moisturizing Sunburnt Skin is Important

When your skin is exposed to the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun, it absorbs the radiation that light carries with it. The sun’s rays can penetrate the protective epidermal layers to the dermis of the skin, which creates new skin cells. Once they penetrate the skin, both UVA and UVB radiation can alter the DNA of skin cells they touch, which can cause skin cancer in the long run.

Besides this, exposure to the sun’s rays can also increase the production of melanin, which is responsible for tanned skin. Actually, the tanning of the skin is just a beautiful (or unwanted by some) side-effect – the melanin’s main role is to absorb and diffuse UVA and UVB radiation on a cellular level. When melanin can’t absorb all radiation that can penetrate the skin, it causes sunburn. Within a few hours of overexposure, sunburnt skin can become painful, reddish, and swollen. Blisters can form if you developed second-degree burn, but’s is the skin’s way of protecting against infection. As blisters and sunburn heal, it produces a side effect: dry and flaky skin. Some of the best home remedies to treat it are moisturizers.

One of the effects of sunburn is the drying of the skin. It depletes the skin of antioxidants and destroys the lipids in the skin. Once lipids are destroyed, there comes a loss of moisture. It becomes all the more important to moisturize your skin to help counteract the drying effects of the skin.

Since your skin will be painful and inflamed, you may be thinking twice about applying moisturizer. While it’s a legitimate concern, the best thing you can do for your skin is to choose a non-comedogenic, sensitive-skin-friendly moisturizer. It’s best to pick a moisturizer that contains aloe vera or soy to help soothe sunburnt skin. You can also apply a hydrocortisone cream that you can buy without a prescription. Don’t treat sunburn with lidocaine, benzocaine, or other “-caine” products, as these may irritate skin and cause allergic reactions.

Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties that are good for your skin, and it has tons of uses you may not even know about. If you have an aloe vera plant in your home, it’s better to use it because it’s all-natural. Lotions that contain aloe vera can cool your skin, reduce inflammation, and slow down peeling.

While aloe vera is one of the best moisturizing agents for sunburnt skin, you can also use other humectants. They include alpha hydroxides like plant oils, animal oils, lactic acid, and even honey. Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) can hasten the process of recovery. Just be careful not to use too potent AHA, as it can exfoliate your skin too harshly.

Many humectant moisturizers may also contain emollients. You may want to avoid these when you have a sunburn, as one of the most common reactions to emollients is mild skin irritation. If you’re not familiar with humectants and emollients, you can learn about these terms here.

Vitamin A and E oils can also serve as excellent moisturizers, as they are packed with nutrients the skin needs to function healthily. But be careful about the ingredients this vitamin E and A moisturizers come with. It’s best to choose plant-derived oils like avocado, almond oil, and coconut.

Great Aloe Vera Moisturizers for Sunburn

Where to Buy
Burts Bees Aloe & Coconut Oil After Sun Soother
Sun Bum Cool Down Hydrating After Sun Lotion
Banana Boat Soothing Aloe After Sun Gel
Holika Holika Aloe 99% Soothing Gel
Maui Vera Organic Sunburn Relief & After Sun Moisturizer


Since aloe vera is the safest choice for sunburn relief, choose from one of these amazing aloe-based moisturizers.

Burt’s Bees Aloe & Coconut Oil After Sun Soother

This rich sun soother is basically just water, aloe, coconut oil, and glycerin. It’s perfect for soothing and rehydrating skin that needs some extra attention. It’s intensely hydrating and quick-absorbing and helps replenish skin’s natural moisture.

Sun Bum Cool Down Hydrating After Sun Lotion

This lotion is a great cool-down after sunburn. It feels oily upon application, but it’s absorbable by the skin as it’s massaged. It provides a cooling sensation afterward. These helped users relieve some of the pain and prevent further peeling. It also blends in quickly and smells great.

Banana Boat Soothing Aloe After Sun Gel

This after-sun gel is soothing and cooling for a badly burnt skin, and it moisturizes dry, rough, and chapped skin. It can also prevent peeling by replenishing it using aloe vera. Since it’s a cooling gel, you can feel relief right away.

Holika Holika Aloe 99% Soothing Gel

If you want instant relief, this soothing aloe gel absorbs easily and helps soothe your sunburns quickly. It’s hydrating and smells really nice. Plus, the cute aloe-shaped bottle is a nice bonus.

Maui Vera Organic Sunburn Relief & After Sun Moisturizer

If you prefer organic, this after sun moisturizer is a great sunburn relief. It offers a special formula of aloe, peppermint, and noni that soothes sunburnt skin and enables it to restore to its healthy and balanced state. It’s an excellent sunburn treatment as it cools the burning sensation and relieves itchy and irritable skin.

Tips on How to Moisturize Sunburnt Skin

To help soothe your stinging skin, it’s important to treat it as soon as you notice it. Besides applying moisturizer, here are some tips on how to relieve the discomfort:

1. Take frequent baths or showers

The cheapest way to relieve yourself from the pain you feel from sunburn is to take frequent baths and showers. Use cool water as it can help your skin cool down and slow the peeling process. Gently pat yourself dry but leave a little water on the skin. Apply moisturizer immediately to help trap water on the skin to help ease the dryness.

2. Keep yourself hydrated

When you have a sunburn, drink extra water. It draws fluid to the skin’s surface and away from the rest of the body. Drinking extra water when you are sunburned can help prevent dehydration. So, be sure to drink extra water for a couple of days, and keep out for any signs of dehydration.

3. Don’t peel skin

Flaky, peeling skin is unattractive, but peeling it can lead to infection. Resist the urge to peel the skin or scratch it forcefully. If there’s a segment of skin that’s hanging off and you want to remove it, don’t pull it, no matter how tempting it is to do. Instead, get a small pair of scissors and carefully remove the hanging portion of the skin.

4. Allow blisters to heal

Blistering skin can look unsightly and unwanted, but don’t be impatient about it – it’s what your skin does to prevent infection. It’s an extra bubble of skin that serves a very important role in protecting the wound. Similar to not peeling your skin, you must not also pop your blisters. If it hurts really bad, apply a cream-based unscented aloe vera. Let it heal naturally and resist the urge to pop them.

5. Take extra care to protect your skin while healing

When going outdoors, don’t let your skin burnt skin uncovered as much as possible. Wear tightly-woven fabrics that can don’t let light pass through. It may be hard to do if the sunburnt skin is on the face, but you can avoid further irritation by staying indoors or staying under shade.

6. Place a cool compress on the skin

For immediate pain relief for sunburn, use a cool compress to comfort and soothe your skin. Do it every time you feel the burning sensation.

7. Avoid soaps and perfumes

Chemicals on soaps and perfumes can be drying on already dry and sunburnt skin. They may also cause irritation. You may opt for a milder body wash that’s formulated for sensitive skin.