The United States has experienced the hottest 12 months on record. Which is why—just about every week this summer—we’ve given you a reason to apply (and reapply) sunscreen. From preventing premature aging to safeguarding against skin cancer, SPF is pretty much nonnegotiable in our book. But sometimes we all make mistakes, and do things like fall asleep on the beach only to wake up with a red, itchy sunburn. Oops! For the next time you accidentally burn (because we hope you’re not doing it on purpose!), here’s how to heal faster.
Step 1: Take Anti-Inflammatory Medicine
Pop an ibuprofen the second you realize you have a sunburn, says Amy McMichael, a dermatologist and professor at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. “This can decrease the chemicals that are produced by the burned skin and slow some of the inflammatory response to the burn.”
Step 2: Slather On Aloe
Aloe vera gel applied topically constricts blood vessels, which can cut the sting and redness. Plus the natural moisturizer cools skin on contact. Try Australian Gold Soothing Aloe After Sun Gel, which also has acacia extract, green tea and vitamins C and E so you get added antioxidant benefits.
Step 3: Cover Up
"The most important part of covering a sunburn is to hydrate the skin first, then take out the red with a sheer application of Dermablend Leg and Body Cover SPF 15," says makeup artist Jose Parron. Apply a bit more of the allover concealer with your fingertip on the sun-tanned part of the bathing suit line to help blur the line of demarcation.