When it comes to healing sunburns, the experts agree that aloe vera gel is the way to go. Cetaphil's Soothing Gel Cream with Aloe and Banana Boat's After-Sun Aloe Gel are both great options. For more intense relief, Spenco's 2nd Skin Wet Burn Pads can help. In addition to applying a moisturizer, taking cold baths or showers can help relieve pain.
When you get out of the tub or shower, gently pat yourself dry but leave some water on your skin. Then, apply a moisturizer that contains aloe vera or soy to soothe sunburned skin. If a particular area feels especially uncomfortable, you may want to apply a hydrocortisone cream that you can buy without a prescription. Avoid using “-caine” products (such as benzocaine) as they can irritate the skin or cause an allergic reaction.
St. John's Wort is an herb that can be taken orally for depression, but it is also considered an excellent topical treatment for sunburns (and other burns). After you retire to a cool place and drink plenty of water, it's time to soak it, cold compress it, and perform other treatments to help ease the pain. Aloe vera, coconut oil, shea butter and jojoba oil are all great ingredients for retaining moisture and promoting healing.
If you're having trouble applying a gel or lotion to hard-to-reach areas of the body that are suffering from the sun's wrath, try using a lotion specifically formulated for sunburns. Bhanasuli from Hudson Dermatology & Laser Surgery recommends using cortisone to “calm things down quickly after a burn”. Other home remedies include taking cold showers, wearing loose-fitting clothing that protects the skin, and using lotion with aloe vera or soy. Baking soda and cornstarch are both great for regulating and balancing the body's pH and relieving sunburns respectively.
Hydrocortisone creams with 1% concentration can also help relieve itching caused by sunburns. In addition to aloe vera, green tea contains tannic acid and theobromine which are known to heal damaged skin when applied topically. If you have naturally dry skin and need an extra boost of hydration, look for a non-greasy lotion that will help keep your skin moisturized while healing your sunburn. If your sunburn is severe or your healthcare provider sees unusual skin signs, you may be referred to a dermatologist.