We've all been there....
I’m from New Jersey (I know, hide your horrified gasps), which means I spent Memorial Day Weekend “down the shore.” In case you’re unaware, to inaugurate the start of summer, the entirety of the state flocks to the beaches to party the way Snooki intended. It’s every bit as lawless as you could imagine, but it’s tradition nonetheless.
And while your perception of New Jersey may be fake tans and tanning beds galore, my pasty pale skin begs to differ. Although I can develop a tan over the summer, those first few beach trips scorch my skin to no end. I can’t even imagine the deep fine lines and wrinkles I’ve accumulated from just this past weekend alone.
Even if I do have a small base tan from a short vacay during the winter, I need to remind myself that I’m not stronger than the literal Sun. I’m not “built differently” by any means and I can’t leave the house without sunscreen. It’s the epitome of laziness on my part, unable to take five minutes to slather some lotion onto my body.
So yes, I write this as I’m sunburnt and peeling. I’m regretting my actions, because they were totally preventable and wholly my fault. However, I’m now in stage two of sunburn grief: full determination to turn it into a lasting tan. If I can’t win in one way, I’ll win in another.
I’ve spent the past 20 or so summers of my life on the beach. I know how to transform a sunburn quickly from painful and scorching to a nice cocoa tan. And it’s honestly not as hard as you’d think.
How To Care For Your Sunburn, The Right Way
Let’s be real: your skin is literally screaming for help when you get sunburnt. Your skin has lost a lot of hydration, so the key is to look for ingredients that will remedy that. Just like your face, your skin barrier can be disrupted anywhere on your body. It’s why your skin can be dry year-round. Your entire body’s skin barrier is essentially broken when you get a sunburn.
@drclairewolinsky My top picks to heal a sunburn #sunburn #sunprotection #sunscreen #dermatologist #doctor #foryou #tips ♬ original sound - DrClaireWolinsky
You’ve depleted skin cells, which means you’re going to want to stay super hydrated. Regenerate those cells from the inside out.
But that’s not all. Getting a moisturizing cleanser for your body with good moisturizing ingredients like coconut oil or shea butter can help restore some of that lost moisture. A light moisturizer is recommended post-shower, like an aloe vera so you don’t trap in the heat from your skin.
If you’re in dire trouble, a hydrocortisone cream can reduce redness and inflammation. By acting quickly, you’re mitigating the chance of damaging your skin long-term.
Quick At-Home Sunburn Remedies
If you’re in a pinch and can’t make it to the store for your sunburn remedy needs, there are a few at-home sunburn cures that can help. By soaking paper towels in cold milk, you can pull the heat away from your body. If you apply yogurt to your skin, the vitamin E will help with inflammation.
@dermguru Or don’t burn in the first place 🤷♀️ #sunburn #skincarehack #learnontiktok #dermatologist #dermguru #fyp #foryoupagw ♬ Beggin' - Måneskin
The same goes for cucumbers, which are known for reducing inflammation in skin (it’s why you put them over your sleep-deprived eyes). You’ll also want to take ibuprofen to reduce your inflammation and frequent cold showers to keep your body temperature down.
Best Sunburn Remedies
However, there’s no easier way to cure a sunburn than keeping around a few clasic store-bought products. I’ve been impartial to a few after-sun care brands like Maui Babe and Hawaiian Tropic for years now…but thanks to TikTok, I’ve found so many different ways to cure my sunburn quickly. Here are my findings:
Best Aloe Face Serum:The Ordinary Aloe 2% + NAG 2% Serum
If you’re a skincare enthusiast like myself, you know The Ordinary has the best serums at affordable pricing. This aloe serum has it all: hydrating aloe vera to cool down that sunburn…plus it reduces the appearance of pores and scars, uneven skin tone, and strengthens your skin barrier all at once!
Best Classic Aloe:Banana Boat Soothing After Sun Gel
Growing up, I was confident that if I went into my bathroom cabinet, this Banana Boat After Sun Gel would be front and center. It was always on-hand for beach vacations when I would somehow scorch my baby skin after layers of SPF applied. It's a tried-and-true, pro tip: keep in the fridge to cool your body down even more.
Best Aloe + SPF:Cosrx Aloe Soothing Sun Cream SPF 50
Another skincare bestie is Cosrx, who is known for their Snail Mucin. The K-Beauty brand also has a very popular aloe face cream for those who battled the sun and lost. The best part about this cream? It also has SPF so you’re already prepared.
Best After Sun Lotion:Hawaiian Tropic Weightless Hydration After Sun Lotion
Dermatologist recommended, Hawaiian Tropic is one of the world’s favorite suncare companies. It contains moisturizing shea butter and aloe vera to make your skin feel rejuvenated and, more importantly, less burnt. It feels (and smells) like an everyday lotion, with extra moisturization to heal your burn fast.
@mauibabeinc Amazing Maui Babe Browning Lotion and After Browning Lotion for the win. Credit to @laurennlynn1 ✨ #tanning ♬ Aesthetic - Tollan Kim
Best For Developing Tan:Maui Babe After Browning Lotion Tan Enhancer & Healer
You’ve probably heard of the Maui Babe Browning Lotion from TikTok, but trust me…this After Browning Lotion is probably twice as good. It has super-hydrating ingredients like Glycerin, Macadamia Nut Oil, and Aloe Vera and gives me the healthiest, glowing tan I could want. It’s worth all the hype, I would know because I’ve been using it for years.
Best After Sun Spray: Sun Bum After Sun Cool Down Spray
If you’re anything like me, you prefer spray cans of SPF and aloe to lotion. My current fave is the Sun Bum Cool Down Spray, which goes on as a matte oil-consistency, and gets the job done quickly.