It’s a fact of life that even the most diligent sunscreen wearers can still end up with bad sunburns. Whether the burn is the product of missing a spot or forgetting to reapply sunscreen, getting too much sun isn’t just physically painful, but looks equally uncomfortable, too.
Using your go-to full-coverage foundation to cover up the burn like probably seems like an obvious solution to the problem. That’s exactly the route Reddit user Tammi Turner did after getting a severe facial sunburn during Soap Box Racing. Turner applied Too Faced’s Born This Way Foundation ($39; sephora.com) over her burn, and the before-and-after photo she shared last week went viral because of the unbelievable job the foundation did at making her redness disappear.
While we love Too Faced’s formula, along with our own favorite full-coverage foundation picks for their ability to blur all of our complexions’ imperfections, sunburns may be one situation where it’s better to step away from the foundation until your burn is fully healed. “Sunburned skin is inflamed with a disrupted skin barrier,” explains N.Y.C.-based dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner. “The skin needs to be soothed and hydrated, not cosmetically camouflaged with makeup.”
That being said, if you have an event to attend like one of the many weddings you’re going to this summer, where being photographed is inevitable, Dr. Zeichner says it is safe to wear foundation for the few hours you’ll be there.
If you are going to wear makeup, the dermatologist recommends opting for a formula that’s soothing and stocked with moisturizing ingredients. It’s also essential to remove it as soon as you get home using a gentle cleanser such as Simple’s Foaming Cleanser ($8; walgreens.com) that won’t exacerbate redness and irritation.
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But, most importantly instead of stressing over how to conceal the sunburn, be proactive with helping it heal by integrating products into your skincare routine that will aid in repairing the damaged skin barrier and reduce inflammation. Dr. Zeichner recommends using a petroleum-rich lotion like Vaseline’s Intensive Care Advanced Repair Lotion ($9; target.com), and an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream for two weeks to reduce redness, if necessary. “Ingredients like petrolatum create a protective seal over the skin to retain hydration and allow it to heal itself from the inside out.”