Sun vs Skin: Sunburn Remedies

It’s that time of year when the sun beckons us outdoors for eating, relaxing, drinking, and all other basic living things. It is also the time that we have to wear specific clothing, sit funny, or sleep a certain way as to not the disturb the sunburn sprawled across our backs, shoulders, backs of knees, or anywhere else we didn’t slather sunblock. Handling a sunburn is much like dealing with a hangover: Everyone has a remedy they swear by. While we’re normally game for testing DIY beauty secrets (like foodie face masks), causing intentional damage to our skin didn’t seem like a worthwhile risk. Instead, we’ve done our research and compiled a list of our staffers’ best sunburn remedies.

Most popular is the Old Faithful of remedies, aloe straight from the plant, though the green goo in a bottle does the trick for a few staffers. Business manager Lauren Savit leaves a bottle of aloe in the fridge from June through August to ensure the ultimate cooling agent is at her fingertips at all times. Others, like senior editor Janelle Nanos, mix it up with cold showers and aloe, while Boston Weddings editor Anne Vickman also uses vitamin E oil to keep skin from blistering.

For the more intense burns, cold compresses are the way to go. Online ad coordinator Grace Hailer uses a cool washcloth. Sales rep Eliza Jones offers another practical idea: “Sometimes I will rest anything cold on a sunburns,” she says. “Like the beer or soda can in my hand — it makes it feel cooler and stops it from radiating heat — though you run the risk of creating warm beer, so weigh your options.” Ibufprofen also helps in the first day or so to take the edge off the searing pain.

Once the heat and pain subside, you have to deal with peeling and obsessive itching. Nanos uses her Moroccan Hammam mitt (an exfoliating glove) to slough off peeling skin. And if you have mental powers similar to senior editor Donna Garlough, you can always will the burn away by keeping in mind that it will fade to tan.

If you’re looking for something new because your routine isn’t hitting the spot like it used to, take a page from associate online editor Shannon Fischer. She likes to apply Bragg’s apple cider vinegar to her skin with a cotton ball. While she admits it smells funky, it works to soothe the burn and help the skin heal faster (for the scientists in the crowd, the malic acid in the vinegar reestablishes the skin’s pH level, which also subsides the pain).

The moral of the story is, of course, wear sunscreen.

So tell us, what are your skin-soothing routines?

Photo of Aloe plant by Amehare, via Flickr.