Skin SOS: Sunburn Recovery Tips

31/08/2010 19:19 | Updated 22 May 2015

Flickr: Lloydcrew

Burned, baby, burned? You know all the rules, have a cupboard full of SPF, and can put on fake tan like a pro – but somehow when the sun comes out, you forget the sun protection advice and end up looking pinker than an embarrassed lobster.

One consolation is that you're not alone. A quarter of us have been sunburnt by not applying sunscreen properly, and 63 of us underestimate how much sunscreen we need as well!

"As well as helping keep skin hydrated, aftersun products can help soothe any redness – consider one with aloe vera or calamine, but don't use these on broken skin," adds Angela.

Make sure you pick a product which will treat the damaged skin, rather than simply making it feel better though. "Many aftersun creams contain Menthol which do little other than feel cool and tingly on the skin," explains Sally.

"A good aftersun will reduce erythema or redness and soothe any inflammation that may lead to further cell damage and ageing. It's best to choose gel-based formulas as they will cool the skin and look for active ingredients to repair skin damage such as Japanese Alder which will assist in neutralising free radicals and repairing UV induced DNA damage.

"Algae extracts, hyaluronic acid and glycolipids restore lost moisture and rebuild the skin's barrier. Soothing anti-inflammatories such as clove oil, liquorice, mugwort, lavender, chamomile and cucumber will help reduce redness and pain caused by over exposure."

One of the most effective aftersuns around – and my own personal favourite – is AfterBURN Sunburn Rescue Gel, £9.99, available from Boots and pharmacies nationwide.

As well as being instantly soothing on tender skin, the gel is easily absorbed and actually helps repair the cells by drawing water from within the skin – the dermis – to the damaged surface, or epidermis, to help it heal naturally. There's now also a new product in the range, AfterSun/Sea/Sport, £5.99, designed to be used daily to help repair skin exposed to the sun and wind.

Or check out Boots Soltan range. The Aftersun Gel with Aloe Vera, £9.49, will help soothe and moisturise, and there's also a shimmer version, £7.25, which is perfect for helping your skin look better at the same time.

If your skin's too sore to even think about rubbing anything in, a spray version will help soothe you enough to try the more hydrating lotions or balms. Try Nivea Sun Cooling After Sun Spray, £8.05, with aloe vera, restoring provitamin B5 and moisturising Vitamin E, then follow up with the range's Regenerating After Sun Balm, £8.79, an extra rich product with lotus extract to soothe and repair.

The state of your tan might not be top of your mind if you're burned to a crisp, but for a safer solution to keeping a golden glow, Simple Sun Sensitive Enhancing Tan Intensifier, £6.75, has calming aloe vera and chamomile as well as provitamin B5 and vitamin E, while helping prolong your tan.

And don't forget your face – multitasker Korres Yoghurt Cooling Gel, £15, contains yoghurt to help increase the water content in the top layers of your skin, as well as fennel extract to calm swelling and irritation, while soothing redness.

Lastly, Clinique's new All About Eyes Serum De-puffing Eye Massage, £20, may not be designed specifically for sunburned skin, but the roller-ball is addictively cooling, while soothing Amentoflavone and Humulus Lupulus extract calm the delicate skin, and caffeine reduces irritation and puffiness.

Next time? Check out our tips on the top SPFs to protect you against burning – as well as wrinkles, pigmentation and skin cancer.

"Remember, skin is an excellent record keeper," says Sally. "Every moment of exposure to daylight adds up like money in the bank."


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