Sunburn: Here's what you should never do after getting sunburnt

As the sunny days are approaching you may forget to apply suncream and get sunburnt. If you do, there are things you shouldn’t do as they can damage your skin.

We’ve all been there, forgotten to apply suncream before heading out on a sunny day and by the end of it, we’re pink and sore from the sunburn. Most sunburns go away on their own after a few days but there are ways to ease the discomfort and there are things definitely shouldn’t do.

What not to do when you get sunburnt

Sunburns can be very uncomfortable depending on how badly you got burnt. Your skin is itchy and hot and you need to find a way to ease your discomfort. There are two things you should never do when you get sunburnt:

1/ Apply petroleum jelly

As mentioned above, after a sunburn your skin feels itchy and you want to alleviate the feeling. You may be tempted to apply petroleum jelly as a moisturiser. However, this isn’t a good idea as petroleum jelly doesn’t act as a moisturiser.

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Don't apply petroleum jelly  Towfiqu barbhuiya/Unsplash

Instead, it is more like a barrier which traps heat and sweat making you feel even more uncomfortable. Applying petroleum jelly could potentially cause an infection.

2/ Apply ice or an ice pack directly to your skin

When your skin is burning, you may be tempted to put ice or an ice pack directly onto your skin. You should never do this—even when you don’t have a burn—as the ice can cause pain and damage.

If you want to apply ice or an ice pack, you should always wrap it in a towel before applying it to your skin.

What to do when you get sunburnt

If you do get sunburnt, there are some simple at-home remedies that you can do to ease your discomfort.

1/ Take a cool shower or bath

If your skin is very hot to the touch and you want to ease it, you could try taking a cool shower or bath. Don’t have a completely cold shower or bath as this will be extremely uncomfortable and the difference in temperature will do more harm than good.

2/ Apply a cool damp towel to the burnt area

If you don’t want to take a shower or bath, you can simply dampen a towel in cool water and apply it to the burnt area. This will help draw the heat out of the skin and allow you to cool down.

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Apply aftersun or moisturiser with aloe vera in it Nati Melnychuk/Unsplash

3/ Apply after or moisturiser

According to the NHS if you get sunburnt you should apply aftersun preferably with aloe vera in it. If you don’t have any, you can apply moisturiser to help the skin heal better. The moisturiser should also have aloe vera in it if possible. Both aftersun and moisturiser will soothe the burning itchy feeling.

4/ Drink plenty of water and stay out of the sun

If you have been sunburnt, there is a high chance that you are dehydrated so be sure to drink plenty of water. To avoid making your sunburn worse, it is best to avoid exposing the burnt areas to more sun. Also wearing baggy clothes is best as the loose fighting clothes won’t irritate the skin.

Most sunburns will heal after seven or so days but if you have swollen, blistered skin, a high temperature, a headache and feeling dizzy and sick you should consult your GP immediately.

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