Who hasn't suffered a nasty sunburn? Especially come summer, when there's beach-lounging and picnicking on the agenda, even those of us who practice sun safety and get burned. That's why we headed to the experts for advice on how to deal with the problem. Below, Dr. Panta Schaffer of Gramercy Park Dermatology in New York City and Jenny Smith, lead makeup stylist for NARS, offer tips on how to effectively treat and then cover a sunburn.
This seems like a no-brainer, but it's important. The first thing you should do when you realize you might be burned is to get out of the sun, says Dr. Schaffer. A chilly shower or bath can help cool down burned skin. You can also try milk compresses: Soak a washcloth in a bath of ice and whole milk and applying to the affected areas for 10-15 minutes. “The lactic acid in milk assists in naturally exfoliating damaged skin and the proteins, casein and whey, assist in healing,” says Schaffer.
Hydrate With a Light Hand
It’s important to continuously moisturize with either a soy- or aloe-based lotion, she says, like Aveeno Positively Radiant Moisturizer ($12, target.com). Schaffer emphasizes keeping moisturizers light and avoiding any thicker ointments, such as petroleum, that inhibit the skin’s ability to breathe. For persistent redness, applying an over-the-counter one-percent hydrocortisone cream twice daily can help topically soothe, says Schaffer. To ease the pain, she suggests staying hydrated and taking some ibuprofen, which can help with swelling and pain associated with the sunburn.
Your next instinct might be to slather on the concealer. But, makeup artist Jenny Smith agrees with Schaffer – you must let your skin breathe. “You don’t want to put a lot of heavy skincare or makeup on a burn,” she says. “It’s important to choose specific shades that will work to cover it up quickly and easily." First apply a yellow-based concealer or foundation before your regular concealer and foundation routine, Smith advises. “The yellow will help cancel the redness and your normal shade will even out the skin.”