There's no such thing as a safe sunburn. Any time your skin changes color because of exposure to sunlight, you're at increased risk for sun poisoning, first- and second-degree burns and skin cancer. If you've spent too much time unprotected in the sun, you may not spot the telltale flush on your skin for as long as 24 hours. Unfortunately, if you've gotten sunburned there are no quick fixes--it will take several days for your skin to heal. But you can speed the process along a bit.
Wet a clean cloth or washcloth in cool--not ice cold--water until the cloth is completely saturated. Apply the cloth as a compress to the affected areas of your body.
Soak once a day in a tub of cool water, completely submerging the areas of your body that have been sunburned.
Rub a moisturizing cream with aloe or aloe gel to the sunburned skin after every bath or shower or throughout the day. Keep your skin moist and hydrated to help it heal.
Cover any blisters that form with cloth bandages to keep you from picking at them and to prevent them from breaking when they rub against your clothes. Don't break any blisters that form or they could become infected.
Take an over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as ibuprofen, to help manage pain and inflammation caused by the sunburn.
Continue to apply moisturizing cream if skin peels.
- Always use sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher when you're spending time in the sun to protect against sunburn. It's also a good idea to wear a hat and lightweight, sun-protective clothing.
- Call your doctor if your sunburn is accompanied by large blisters, if you run a high fever or if your sunburn doesn't begin to improve after a few days.