How To Safely Resume Your Skincare Routine After A Sunburn

It's fair to say that nobody enjoys getting a sunburn, especially if you're big into skincare. Not only does the feeling of getting a sunburn suck, but you find that your regular routine actually does more harm than good for its healing. Because the skin becomes so exposed and tender when sunburnt, the ingredients in your usually reliable products can cause irritation. These include vitamin C, retinoids, glycolic and salicylic acid, and exfoliating scrubs. Any products with fragrances in them should also be avoided for the time being.


Unfortunately, anyone with a set skincare routine knows that you can't step away from it for too long. If you do, then your face could begin breaking out or become dehydrated, and nobody wants that! You're likely then stuck between a rock and a hard place, but it's more important for you to forgo your usual routine to allow your burn to heal. That being said, making small but crucial changes to your routine is the best way to not only help heal your sunburn but to ensure your skin is as fresh as ever.

What types of products should you use on a sunburn?

While you should momentarily avoid certain products while recovering from a sunburn, there's one skincare aid in particular that can meet your sunburn-healing needs: aloe vera. This gel has anti-inflammatory and soothing properties, which is just what your inflamed and sensitive burn needs. Try to get an organic one or at least one with as few additional ingredients as possible.


Fragrance-free lotions are also key to ensuring your skin, burned or not, gets the moisture it needs. Try to look out for products with ceramides, as these can help build back your skin barrier. Lotions or moisturizers containing oat products can also be useful due to the ingredient's soothing abilities. If you're looking for a mist, there are also plenty of after-sun sprays on the market. Many of these products contain the aforementioned dream ingredient of aloe vera, but they will likely also contain vitamin E, which reduces the impact of UV radiation on the skin. To avoid making the sunburn worse, make sure to cover up when outside and use broad-spectrum sunscreen.

Cold is key

When there is a sunburn, chances are that peeling skin will follow — even after applying products like aloe or vitamin E. You can't just put on these products without giving your skin the proper care. It might sound uncomfortable, but a solid combination of water to cleanse and hydrate, followed by the aforementioned moisturizers, will do wonders for the healing of your sunburn. Not just any water will help your skin — cold water is best. This is because temperature is crucial in the healing process. The heat of hot water can actually do more damage, as it causes the burn to flare up, while colder water is more soothing to the exposed skin. However, make sure that it isn't too cold, as ice-cold water can deliver a similar inflaming effect as boiling hot water.


If you have the right products at your disposal, your sunburn should heal within a week. After your skin stops flaking and peeling, you should be able to go back to your regular skincare routine. However, it might not be a bad idea to keep these products and tips in your occasional rotation.