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How to Reduce Sunburn Redness


You don't want to be THAT person. The person with the red sunburn line just where your t-shirt sleeve ended, we’ve been there and it's not the best look. Only 60% of UK adults who use sunscreen apply it before going out in the sun, and just 37% take it with them to apply throughout the day. While this can be seriously dangerous for the health of your skin, sometimes you can be caught out and if that happens, how can you reduce sunburn redness? And can you get rid of sunburn redness overnight? We investigated further…

What is sunburn?

Sunburn is your body’s inflammatory reaction to ultraviolet (UV) radiation damage to the skin. At the core of it all is melanin, this is a pigment that gives your skin its colour and defends against the sun’s rays. Melanin works by darkening your unprotected sun-exposed skin. The amount of melanin you produce is determined by genetics, which is why some people are more tanned than others. It’s important to remember that both sunburn and tan are signs of cellular damage to the skin. 

How do I reduce sunburn redness?

Not only can sunburn hurt when it blisters and feels hot, but it can also come at some pretty inconvenient times, those t-shirt lines may not look ideal on holiday! So, is there a quick fix? Unfortunately no, you may find yourself hot and bothered googling if you can get rid of sunburn overnight ready for that wedding in the morning. That is a resounding no, it may be time to find a different outfit. However, there are steps you should take in order to treat sunburn, although you won't see immediate results, following some of the tips below can help to speed up the process:

Take or go anti-inflammatory 

A potential quick, but not very organic, fix is using Ibuprofen it acts as a great anti-inflammatory for sunburn as it can make a difference in limiting the internal and external inflammation which is commonly associated with the redness of sunburn.

For those of you willing to do it the natural way, you can eat and drink anti-inflammatory foods. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, gluten, dairy and sugar. Eat lots of greens and grass-fed protein and your skin will be much more supported. Make sure you are taking an Omega 3 supplement and Vitamin C powder too.

Apply Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is a renowned calming ingredient, commonly used in after-sun lotions to help cool the burn immediately, if you can, you should be applying this every hour on the first day that you have been sunburned. A top tip is to also keep the aloe vera/after-sun in the fridge so that it creates a stronger soothing sensation when you apply it. The downside is it can sometimes feel a bit sticky.

Use gentle products

You should try and be as careful as possible when applying products to your sunburn that they are not going to cause irritation, steer clear of retinol/retinoids and any type of acids (AHA, BHA or peels etc). Hyaluronic acid is a great ingredient for sunburn and one you should think about applying to the affected skin, it is a super boost of hydration for the skin. A pro tip is to apply hyaluronic acid to the skin when it's wet as it allows the product to penetrate the skin more. Also, avoid highly fragranced or perfumed products. Look for after sunscreens with plant seed and butters such as shea, apricot oil, jojoba and argan. Anti-oxidants such as carrot oil, raspberry, pomegranate, acai and vitamin E are ideal.

Stay hydrated 

If you have been burnt, staying hydrated is key, drinking more water and having cooler baths should start to elevate the pain caused by the sunburn. It is worth noting that showers may not be the best idea if you have just been burnt, as the water pressure could make your skin feel sore and tingly. However, if you don't have the option of a bath, try having the shower at a cooler temperature and lower pressure.

Keep your hands off

The one thing you shouldn't do if you end up getting burnt is scratch or pick at your sunburn, the skin is delicate and trying to heal, you may resemble a snake shedding its skin for a few days, but this will pass. This is also relevant for any sort of exfoliation, just like how we advise avoiding acid exfoliation, physical exfoliation can cause just as much irritation. 

Apply gentle products and creams to the skin such as Green People Hydrating After Sun, Proverb Hydration Pro Moisturiser or Pinks Boutique After Wax Calming Lotion. Many people may suggest using brands such as CeraVe or Nivea, however, these are formulated with some ingredients that Proverb wouldn't encourage using. Organic and natural is best. With all of these tips hopefully, your sunburn will be a little less painful, but you should always be carrying around a minimum factor of 30 to reapply during the day in order to avoid the t-shirt tan! Be sure to follow us on social media @proverbskin for more tips on how to stay safe during the summer months.