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One in three Americans report getting a sunburn each year, according to the Surgeon General, which makes it imperative to have sunburn relief on hand. Should you overdo it on the sun, “make sure to use a cool shower, hot water can sting or irritate your skin,” advises Dr. Samer Jaber, board certified dermatologist at Washington Square Dermatology. “Aloe vera can also help soothe skin and you can even try an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream to soothe inflammation,” he says, adding that Advil can reduce pain and swelling. Here are five products — including this $7 Burt’s Bees Aloe and Coconut After-Sun Soother — that dermatologists and skin care pros say you may want to take with you on vacation or keep at home to soothe a potential sunburn.
For big bang for your buck: Burt’s Bees Aloe and Coconut After-Sun Soother, $7.69 on Amazon
Dr. Debra Jaliman, a board certified dermatologist, notes that this cream is “very soothing because it contains aloe, which is anti-inflammatory.” It’s also got ultra-moisturizing coconut oil, and is made without harsh chemicals like parabens, phthalates, and petrolatum. It’s a popular choice on Amazon too, having garnered more than 4,400 reviews; one verified reviewer (who included photos of her sunburn) writes “best product ever for sunburns! No peeling or itching.”
– Buy on Amazon
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For an immediate cooling effect: Avene After-sun Repair Creamy Gel, $17.50 on eCosmetics (free shipping over $49)
“It’s not greasy and quickly absorbs into the skin. For those who overdid it in the sun, it has an immediate cooling effect and contains the brand’s signature thermal spring water,” says board certified Miami-based dermatologist Dr. Stacy Chimento. This post-sun gel also has ceramides and fatty acids, which companies add to cosmetics to help the skin hold in moisture better.
– Buy on eCosmetics (free shipping over $49)
For a soothing bath: Susanne Kaufmann St. John’s Wort Bath, $67 on Violet Grey
Though it’s pricey, Nicole Simpson, founder of Amethyst Skincare, says this product is one of the best kept secrets for soothing a sunburn. “It hydrates, soothes and calms and you can use it in the shower or bath,” says Simpson. The paraben-free product contains cocoa butter for nourishing your skin; you simply add 5-7 tablespoons to your bath to soothe skin.
– Buy on Violet Grey
For a product that does double duty: Aquaphor Healing Ointment, $13.74 on Amazon
Aquaphor has many uses (it’s great in winter for dry, cracked skin; and many parents know it is a great cure for diaper rash), and helping soothe a sunburn is one of them. “If you have a sunburn, make sure to use a thick, moisturizing cream to help restore the skin barrier,” advises Jaber. This thick gel nourishes the skin while also creating a protective barrier that still allows oxygen to flow through. It’s also available as a spray.
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For a refreshing mist: Fitish Tone Down Spray, $29
“Tone Down is a wonderful product to help with a sunburn because it’s light and refreshing with a soothing effect on the skin. It also has some amazing antiseptic and anti-inflammatory ingredients such as CBD, green tea and peppermint that helps alleviate any redness and inflammation,” says board certified dermatologist Dr. Aanand Geria. Plus, the peppermint instantly adds a cooling effect.