Got A Sunburn? We've Got Tips About How to Make It Better
Ah, summer—it’s right around the corner! There’s no better way to celebrate the return to warmth than heading out for a day at the beach, a nice stroll through a park, or hitting a sun-drenched patio with your besties.
But what happens when you lose track of time? When the sun is out in full force, blaring down on your head, face, limbs … it feels so good, and you’re having such a good time, that you think, well, I don’t look burnt yet—maybe just another hour or so and I’ll duck back indoors.
By then, of course, it can be too late.
The sun is glorious, but it’s also notorious for causing pretty serious damage to our skin—the dreaded sunburns, yes, but even prolonged exposure that doesn’t result in burning can cause negative longterm effects.
That’s why it’s so important to understand not only how you can prevent sun damage to your skin, but what you can do afterwards to mitigate damage and restore your skin’s health and vitality. We’ve got all the tips for after-sun care for your skin—from your hair, downwards.
What does the sun do to your skin?
That blazingly bright star in our skies is made out to be a bit of a bogeyman by the beauty industry—avoid at all costs, some experts proclaim! Drench yourself in sunscreen as though you’re going into battle every time you step outdoors!
The truth is a little more complex. Sun exposure actually carries a lot of benefits, a major one being stimulating vitamin D production. Vitamin D is crucial for immune system support, bone health, and a bunch of other super important bodily functions. And vitamin D deficiencies can actually be quite harmful to your health. So we don’t recommend totally shying away from the sun.
But, as is oft-repeated when it comes to things it’s easy to overindulge in, everything in moderation. About 15 minutes of direct sun exposure can be enough to stimulate vitamin D production in your body, especially when larger areas of skin are exposed.
Anything beyond this, and you’re getting into slightly dangerous territory, especially during summer months when the sun is at its strongest. Over time, sun exposure can pave the way towards serious conditions including skin cancer—things you’ll definitely want to avoid. This is why protection with a high SPF sunscreen is so crucial.
Prolonged exposure to UV radiation can generate an inflammatory response in the skin. This, friends, is what we lovingly call sunburn. Even mild cases of sunburn deserve aftercare treatment, although these treatments will only address signs of inflammation—the free radical damage wrought by the sun’s rays has, unfortunately, already been done. Need we mention preventative measures again?
Fortunately there are steps you can take, and products you can invest in, that will keep your skin in tip-top shape throughout the sunshiniest months of the year.
And of course, at Kinder Beauty, we always recommend vegan, cruelty-free, and clean skincare products since these are the best for your body, the animals, and the environment. Especially when your skin is trying to recover from an onslaught of UV radiation, it’s a good idea to keep things as clean as possible. Avoid harmful chemicals, additives, or other ingredients that might wind up making things worse.
Sun burn after care
One of the best ways to soothe a stingy sunburn comes from a little green spiky plant called aloe vera. You’ve probably seen this ingredient in plenty of different skincare products, and that’s because the plant can help to reduce fine lines, give skin a plumper appearance, address dandruff, minimize the appearance of scars, and a lot more.
Aloe vera’s juicy leaves also contain cooling properties that will feel like absolute heaven on heated, angry skin that’s been burned by the sun. Aloe vera after-sun products often come in gel forms and are perfect to use all over your body—so don’t be shy with slatering it on!
We love Alba Botanic’s After Sun Gel because it’s pretty much all aloe—around 98%, to be exact. With no dirty chemicals like oxybenzone or octinoxate, it can be used as an after-shave gel, and it’s vegan and cruelty-free (just like everything else we recommend here at Kinder!).
And if you’re into some serious free-radical fighting power, check out Earth Daughter’s cold-pressed and organic offering that includes vitamin C to help your skin recover. The spray bottle application can also make it a bit easier to widely and evenly distribute this powerhouse gel all over your (hopefully not too burnt) bod.
This Green People Hydrating Aftersun Mist contains, surprise surprise, aloe vera, but also chamomile—another after-sun all-star. Chamomile is a wonderfully cooling and calming ingredient that will soothe and smooth. Along with calendula, myrrh, and mint, this body lotion will even help your skin retain any golden tan you may have achieved by locking in moisture.
After sun care for face
Though you can certainly use pure aloe vera gel on your face, there are products tailored specifically to care for the delicate, and more frequently exposed skin of your face.
Coola’s Radical Recovery locks in crucial moisture with agave and aloe vera, plus delivers a smattering of antioxidants and vitamins through rosemary extract, lavender and sweet orange oils, and cedarwood for the ultimate in calming effects. An all-around good bet for recouping!
There’s probably nothing more refreshing than the feeling of a cool mist delicately spritzed onto your sun-warmed skin. Herbivore’s After Sun Soothing Aloe Mist contains aloe vera (obviously) plus a bunch of other reparative ingredients including mint and lavender to cool you down. Can be used after sun exposure or just any time your skin could use a little freshening up.
After sun hair care
Your hair might seem less delicate than your skin, but that doesn’t mean it is totally immune to UV rays. Hair can become dry and damaged, as can your scalp (remember, your scalp can burn just like any other part of your skin—sun-hats and umbrellas are therefore highly advisable!).
So, here’s some food for thought: you should feed your hair! This silky Sunstone Hair Revive Elixir from Earth Harbor delivers vital nutrients to your hair to overcome dulling damage. Superfoods including seaweed and coconut provide nutrition while jasmine and calendula flowers shield against pollution. Carrot seed oil completes the meal, leaving your hair ultra-rejuvenated.
Andalou Natural’s 1000 Roses Moroccan Beauty Oil is another option to have on hand when your hair’s feeling just a little crispy. This luxe oil will beautify your whole body—your hair, face, neck, elbows, hands … even your nails and cuticles! Alpine rose stem cells nourish and soothe while argan and pomegranate oils bring beneficial tannins and polyphenols to tone and deeply moisturize whatever part of you needs a little extra love.
After sun lip care
Our lips deserve a little extra love just like the rest of us—and like the rest of our face, they are exposed to a whole lotta UV light on a daily basis. Finding a lip balm with a good amount of SPF is super important, as is caring properly for your lips after a lot of sun.
The Pout Protector Moisturizing Lip Serum from Solara Suncare is perfect for both pre- and -post sun exposure. With an SPF of 15, this serum uses purslane, blackberry extract, ashwagandha, and Tahitian monoi to plump, hydrate, and protect the delicate skin of your lips.
To take extra special care of your lips, check out this exfoliator and lip mask duo from Three Ships, featured in our March beauty box! The vanilla-scented scrub gently lifts away dead skin while the delicious buttercream mask locks luscious moisture into your pucker. Right after sun exposure, layer on the mask and skip exfoliation for a couple days while your skin heals. Afterwards, you can use both daily and you’ll be giving smooches as soft as flower petals.
After sun care DIY
If you’ve been burned by the sun and don’t find yourself near a beauty retailer nor have time to wait for products to ship, then it’s time to turn to some do-it-yourself methods for addressing sunburn. Here are just a few, using household items you hopefully have lying around:
Cucumber: grab one of these lovely greenies from your fridge and pop it into the blender. Apply the cool, juicy paste to your skin for instant relief. If you don’t have a blender, cucumber slices will do the trick too.
Tea: black tea is good for all sorts of ailments, including sunburns, thanks to black tea’s high concentration of tannic acid and theobromine which will help reduce inflammation. Draw a lukewarm (not hot) bath, drop in three black tea bags, and soak up all the goodness.
Potatoes: the starch in these tubers can help soothe and reduce inflammation for your sunburned skin. Drop a potato in the blender with some ice and apply as a paste, before washing off in the shower.
It’s always a good idea to take preventative measures when it comes to sun exposure—get into the habit of applying sunscreen before you step out of the door. But if you’ve got a burn to attend to, never fear, because there are always things you can do to relieve discomfort. Caring for your skin after sun exposure is important, just as caring for your skin beforehand—so don’t skip out on either!
Please note: A product appearing in our blog is not an official Kinder Beauty endorsement. While every product we feature in an article is cruelty-free and vegan, these products do not necessarily meet all of our strict brand standards for curation in one of our boxes.
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