If too much unprotected time in the sun has you feelin' the burn—and not in a political sense—rest assured that there is hope, and probably within the confines of your kitchen cabinets, at that. After being faced with a particularly aggressive sunburn, your initial reaction would probably be to reach for the aloe vera, which is a good move, provided that there isn't any alcohol in the mix. One of the biggest mistakes people tend to make when treating a sunburn is to use products that end up drying the skin, according to dermatologist Howard Sobel, M.D. "Do not use anything with alcohol or propylene glycol, which can be drying and irritating," he tells us. "Instead, reduce the inflammation by using a soak of equal parts whole milk and ice water for 10 minutes 3 to 4 times a day."
Dr. Sobel advises taking Advil every 4 to 6 hours to reduce the stinging feeling, and using hydrocortisone (1%) over the area 2 to 3 times a day to speed up the healing process. As long as the burn isn't irritated, you can use a tinted moisturizer to cover it up when donning a sun dress, and don't knock those DIY remedies your mother (lovingly) likes to suggest trying out. "There are many homemade remedies that work," Sobel adds. "One good example would be using a colloidal oatmeal compress or bath. It's a very soothing treatment."