Oops! What to Do When You’ve Had Too Much Sun

Here at MDC, we would love to think that we have all the answers for you. However, there are certain issues that require the insight of a pro. Today we asked Boston-based dermatologist Emmy Graber to fill us in on what we should do when we get a little too much sun!

What to Do When You Had Too Much Sun!

As a dermatologist, I’d like to think that you’ve never been in the situation where you’ve had too much sun! Unfortunately, nobody’s perfect, and sometimes we let the rays beam down on us, damaging our precious skin. So, what do we do now? Let me tell you how to take care of that burn and how to prevent it from happening again!

Immediately After

First and foremost, if you see your skin starting to burn, get out of the sun — ASAP. People often think, “Well it’s too late now, I’m already burnt, I might as well stay in the sun!” This is wrong. If you stay in the sun, it will get worse. 

Hours After

Since a sunburn can cause a lot of inflammation in the skin, there is a common belief that taking anti-inflammatory medication can help ease the burn. Such over-the-counter medications are those containing ibuprofen. Popping a few of these might make your skin feel better. 

Aloe vera is another common remedy for sunburn, typically in gel- or cream-form and applied topically. However, there is conflicting scientific evidence as to whether aloe vera actually helps burnt skin. At the very least, this soothing agent provides temporary relief and makes the skin feel better, even if isn’t actually healing the damage.  For added benefit, try putting the aloe vera in the refrigerator. Cooled aloe vera feels great on skin that’s on fire! Placing ice packs on the burnt area may also help to alleviate some of the pain.

If you start vomiting, contract a fever or become disoriented after a sunburn, these are signs that you have heat stroke and you should go to the emergency room immediately.

Days After

To heal a sunburn, you have to just give it time. However, you should treat you skin delicately as it will be pretty sensitive in the days to follow. Wear loose-fitting clothing that won’t rub against the skin and irritate the already-inflamed area.

Most importantly, after getting a sunburn, vow never ever to do this again! Keep sunscreen handy at all times (an SPF of 30 or higher is best). Always, keep a small bottle in your purse, as well in your car.

Product Recommendation: La Roche-Posay Anthelios 45 Face and Body, Kiehl’s Super Fluid UV Defense SPF 50+, SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50

Need more skin advice? Check out our latest skincare tips and tricks!

Photo: thinkstock



    About the Author: Dr. Graber is a Boston-based dermatologist specializing in acne, acne scars and cosmetic dermatology.