How To Treat Sunburn

Why choose wikiHow?
When you see the green expert checkmark on a wikiHow article, you know that the article has received careful review by a qualified expert. If you are on a medical article, that means that an actual doctor, nurse or other medical professional from our medical review board reviewed and approved it. Similarly, veterinarians review our pet articles, lawyers review our legal articles, and other experts review articles based on their specific areas of expertise.

How to Get Rid of Sunburn Fast

Three Parts:

Treating sunburns is harder than preventing them. However, half of all U.S. adults aged 18 – 29 report experiencing at least one sunburn per year.To get rid of sunburn fast,immediately take a cool shower, treat the burn with aloe or a deep moisturizer, and keep your skin hydratedby drinking more water in the days that follow; use other home treatments, like cold compresses, moistened/cooled tea bags, and pain relievers, as needed to ease discomfort and promote healing. All sunburns cause damage to your skin, so you should also work on avoiding them in the future.


Immediate Treatments

  1. Upon realizing you are burned, get out of the sun immediately.Each second of additional sun exposure will worsen your burn. Going indoors is best. But if this is impossible move into the shadiest nearby spot.
    • Beach umbrellas provide little protection from UV rays unless they are very large and made of dense fabric.
    • Sun exposure to can occur even in the shade, as UV rays reflect off surfaces and penetrate through everything from clouds to leaves.
  2. Take a cool shower or bath.The water will cool your skin and may help reduce the severity of your burn. Avoid using soap because it will irritate and dry out your skin. Afterwards, let yourself air-dry. Using a towel may cause discomfort and chafing.
    • If you must use a towel, pat your skin lightly rather than rubbing it
  3. Apply an aloe vera gel or deep moisturizer.Spread it across your sunburn to moisturize and cool your skin. Repeat this step frequently, or at least twice daily, to reduce dryness and peeling.
    • Consider using a lotion or gel that contains Vitamin C and E, as this may reduce skin damage.
    • Avoid products that are oily or contain alcohol.
    • If you have access to an aloe vera plant, you can obtain gel straight from the leaves. Simply cut off a leaf, slice it length-wise with a knife, squeeze out the gel inside, and apply it to your burn.
    • Gel obtained directly from an aloe vera plant is extremely concentrated, natural, and effective.
  4. Drink plenty of water.Prolonged sun exposure and heat causes dehydration. A sunburn also draws water to your skin’s surface and away from the rest of your body.Remember to drink extra water for the next few days.
    • Go beyond the daily recommendation of eight glasses of water until your sunburn has healed, especially if you continue to be in hot weather or participate in sports or other activities that cause you to sweat.

Conventional At-Home Treatments

  1. Make a cold compress and apply it your sunburn.Wrap several ice cubes or a freezer pack in a wet cloth. Then lightly press the cloth against the sunburned area for 15 to 20 minutes multiple times a day.
    • Remember that ice or other frozen substances should not be pressed directly against your skin. Doing so may cause an ice-burn and only make matters worse.
  2. Consider taking an anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen (Advil).Ibuprofen will reduce pain, swelling, and redness, and may even prevent some long-term skin damage. Once started, continue taking this medication for 48 hours
    • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) may relieve the pain of a sunburn, but does not have the same anti-inflammatory effects as ibuprofen.
  3. Change into loose fitting clothing.Avoid fabrics that are rough or itchy. For most people, light cotton is best.
    • Protect your sunburn by keeping it covered when you go outside. Wear a hat, carry a parasol, and wear fabrics that are tightly woven.
    • In addition, make sure you wear broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and reapply ever two hours.
  4. Close your blinds and try to lower the temperature of your home.If you have air-conditioning, turn it on. Even without air-conditioning, fans can significantly reduce your body temperature, especially when they are blowing directly towards your sunburn.
    • Basements are the best places in a home to recover from sunburns, as they are generally cool and protected from sunlight.

Natural At-Home Treatments

  1. Steep several black tea bags in hot water.Allow the water to cool (add ice to speed up the process). Remove the tea bags from the water and place them directly on your sunburn. The tannins in the tea will help reduce inflammation. You can also apply the cool tea to the entire area of the burn.
    • Tannins are a natural astringent, and studies show that they help to heal burns and prevent infection.
  2. Pour 1 cup of plain yogurt into a bowl.Mix with 4 cups of water. Dip a wet cloth in the yogurt mixture, and apply it to your sunburn for 15 to 20 minutes. Repeat every 2 to 4 hours.
    • Plain yogurt contains many probiotics and enzymes that will help to heal sunburned skin.
    • Make sure the yogurt is truly plain rather than vanilla, which contains unwanted sugar and fewer probiotics.
  3. Generously sprinkle at least one cup of baking soda into a cool bath.Soak in the bath, and after exiting let the baking soda solution dry on your skin. It will soothe the pain and help heal your skin
    • Baking soda has both antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. This means that it will help reduce inflammation and prevent infection..
  4. Pass cold water through a sieve containing dry oatmeal, and collect the water in a bowl.Discard the oatmeal and soak up the solution with a cloth. Use the cloth to apply the solution to your sunburn every two to four hours.
    • Oatmeal contains chemicals known as saponins which will clean your skin while moisturizing it at the same time.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    Can I go back in the sun after having sunburn?

    Family Medicine Physician
    Dr. Matsko is a retired Physician in Pennsylvania. He received his M.D. from the Temple University School of Medicine in 2007.
    Family Medicine Physician
    Expert Answer
    No, I would not return to the sun. If you have to go outside again, wear a high SPF broad-spectrum sunscreen that covers both UVA and UVB sunlight. In addition, you will want to wear cotton clothing to cover the body, as well as a a hat.
  • Question
    What can I do to make the unbearable itching on my sunburn stop?

    Family Medicine Physician
    Dr. Matsko is a retired Physician in Pennsylvania. He received his M.D. from the Temple University School of Medicine in 2007.
    Family Medicine Physician
    Expert Answer
    You might want to take an antihistamine or cetirizine. Apply aloe liberally.
  • Question
    How do I know if my sunburn is healing?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    If your skin is no longer painful to the touch, and if the redness and flaking has lessened, then your sunburn is healing.
  • Question
    How do you know how bad it is?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    If it's really red, you've probably burned more than one layer. A lighter color such as pink is only a minor burn.
  • Question
    Will taking a cold bath help?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Yes. It will cool the burn and make it hurt less. If your skin feels tight after taking a cold bath, apply vitamin E or aloe vera.
  • Question
    Can I use these same techniques to treat sunburn on my face?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Yes, you can use these same techniques for your face. Just be sure to avoid your eyes with the Aloe Vera or any other lotions you might use.
  • Question
    Do I have to follow these steps the day I get burned, or can I do it the next day?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    You will see some success if you follow these steps a day or two after you get sunburned, but you will probably see better results if you do it the same day.
  • Question
    I have a sunburn on my face. What's the best way to make it at least look better?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Treat your skin with aloe and cold water every half hour until you notice an improvement.
  • Question
    How long does it usually take if my skin is very visibly red?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    It should take a week or two. If it takes longer while using these methods, consult a doctor.
  • Question
    I look like a tomato, and I can't get comfortable. What do I do?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Put on some lotion made for sensitive skin and sleep with sheets instead of regular blankets. These will be cooling and not irritate the skin. You may also want to wear loose clothing and take a cool shower.
Ask a Question
200 characters left
Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered.

Quick Summary

To get rid of a sunburn fast, take a cool shower or bath to cool your skin, but avoid using soap, which can dry out your sunburn. Afterward, let yourself air-dry, since using a towel may cause discomfort. Apply an aloe vera gel or a deep moisturizer at least twice daily to reduce dryness and peeling. In addition, drink more than the recommended 8 glasses of water daily to keep your skin hydrated until your burn heals.

Did this summary help you?
  • Stop using makeup, oily lotions, or fragrances for several days after getting sunburned.
  • Store aloe vera based lotions or gels in the fridge for extra comfort.
  • Avoid using acne medications, because they will further dry out your skin and make it redder.
  • Ensure that the lotions or gels you apply do not contain alcohol, which can dry out the skin.
  • Do not use butter, petroleum jelly (Vaseline), or other oil-based products to moisturize. They may block your pores, prevent heat from escaping, or cause infections.
  • Especially while sunburned, liberally apply sunscreen of at least 30 SPF any time you go outside. Also wear a hat and long sleeves.
  • If blisters form do not pick at them and clean the area around them with an antibacterial solution.
  • Coconut body lotion, which is not oily, helps as same as Aloe Vera body lotion!
  • Vinegar and cotton balls. Put vinegar in the cotton balls and apply to the burned area. This will remove the redness and sooth the sting.


  • In severe cases, you may need to seek medical attention. If you get fever or flu-like symptoms, you may have sunstroke — a potentially serious condition.
  • Taking hot showers may be painful with your sunburn.
  • Visit the doctor if sunburn blisters cover a large portion of your body or if a blister gets infected.

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

Article Info

Featured Article

Categories: |

In other languages:

Italiano: , 中文: , Español: , Français: , Deutsch: , Русский: , Nederlands: , Português: , Bahasa Indonesia: , Čeština: , العربية: , हिन्दी: , ไทย: , Tiếng Việt: , 日本語: , 한국어: 

Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 1,678,179 times.
Did this article help you?
Expert Review By:
Family Medicine Physician

of How to Get Rid of Sunburn Fast was reviewed by on August 24, 2019.

How helpful is this?
Views: 1,678,179


May 13

"I hot sunburned while having a yard sale, and I have school in less than two days."
Rated this article:

Angela Tolido

Mar 27

"This article was helpful because I was spending the day at the park with friends. I got sunburn pretty badly, and Ilooked up this article because I have a photo shoot tomorrow. This article was very helpful, and I will use the techniques. Thanks so much!"


Aug 1, 2019

"I enjoyed this article very much since I've gotten sunburned ever since I could remember. I once even had a thirddegree burn. What helped me through that painful experience was cold showers and the actual aloe vera plant."

Kira Oishi

Jun 27, 2019

"What helped me most on this article was something about going in my basement. I have my Xbox 1 down there, and I'malways cool no matter what. I go upstairs and my whole family is covered in sweat."

Bernard Jacobs

Dec 12, 2019

"This article helped me heal my sunburn and tell me what not to do. It also helped me by telling me how I cansleep better, and that using soap doesn't help, but rather makes it worse."

Kyan Bobby Chase

May 4, 2019

"This really helped me. I was outside for four hours without sunscreen and wanted to get rid of my sunburn as fastas I could. Thanks, wikiHow, for the help."

Derek Schoen

Jun 11, 2019

"Everything helped out greatly. All I could do was cool bath or shower, aloe vera, and damp cool rags. It's almostgone, it's been 2 days now."

Anna Mirzoyan

Jul 9, 2019

"It helped me most when I put some cream on my sunburn, and an ice pack. It only took me a couple of days for mysunburn to heal. Thanks!"

Seren M.

Jun 15, 2019

"The tips and steps helped me a great deal. The questions that were answered provided me with a lot of informationthat I needed."

Aaric Adam

Apr 24, 2019

"I have school tomorrow, which involves exercise. I want to get rid of it as much as I can. I have aloe on it and anice pack."

J. M.

Jul 5, 2019

"I had just came from the beach and noticed that I had a really bad sunburn on my face. Then I read this and ithelped."

alyssa koury

Jun 10, 2019

"Aloe vera was extremely helpful! I was wary whether I should spend money on a sunburn, but this really is helpful!"

Skye H.

May 4, 2019

"Home remedies work best for me. I like tea, so the black tea was calling my name. Now, back to watching MKR. ;)"

Abigail Klingaman

Apr 14, 2019

"Got a few bad sunburns on the first day of a family vacation to Florida. These tips really helped me!"

Ina G.

Aug 14, 2019

"I like the fact that it shows all the steps and pictures and also has a lot of different solutions."

Victoria Thompson

Jun 17, 2019

"Helped me know what to do and what not to do with my sunburn. Gave me tips on how to help it heal."

Suzanne Plavier

Apr 26, 2019

"I looked like a lobster, but it now does not hurt as much, as I used the aloe vera method."

Alyssa Long

Jun 27, 2019

"I have had sunburn and wanted to know how to get rid of it. Helped a lot, thanks!"

Melia Milhorat

Aug 6, 2019

"I have a sunburn on my neck, and it really hurts. Thank you, this will help!"

James Ayre

Apr 22, 2019

"Helped me heal my sunburn quicker than it usually heals. Thanks!"

Olivia Borg Muskat

Jul 22, 2019

"The tip about the cold shower helped me out. Thank you so much!"

Marbie Yusi

May 2, 2019

"My sunburn hurts so bad so I badly need this helpful article. "
Rated this article:

Sofie James

Jul 9, 2019

"It was very easy to follow and it helped me! Well done. "

Eilyn Pereira

Jul 9, 2019

"1st method or actually all the methods were helpful. "

Miranda Jarrells

Jul 23, 2019

"It was very helpful in making me heal quicker."

J. J. Mete

Dec 5, 2019

"The tea bag and cold shower helped the most."

Valcina Gregg

Nov 21, 2019

"The use of the Aloe Vera plant helped most."

Barry Higgins

Jul 25, 2019

"Great info. Off for a baking soda bath."


May 30, 2019

"I just got a sunburn so it really helps"
Rated this article:

Ray Tyson

Apr 23, 2019

"It worked.

Video: HOW TO: Get Rid of Sunburn FAST!

How to Get Rid of Sunburn Fast
How to Get Rid of Sunburn Fast images

2019 year
2019 year - How to Get Rid of Sunburn Fast pictures

How to Get Rid of Sunburn Fast forecast
How to Get Rid of Sunburn Fast advise photo

How to Get Rid of Sunburn Fast pictures
How to Get Rid of Sunburn Fast picture

How to Get Rid of Sunburn Fast How to Get Rid of Sunburn Fast new photo
How to Get Rid of Sunburn Fast new foto

pics How to Get Rid of Sunburn Fast
foto How to Get Rid of Sunburn Fast

Watch How to Get Rid of Sunburn Fast video
Watch How to Get Rid of Sunburn Fast video

Communication on this topic: How to Get Rid of Sunburn Fast, how-to-get-rid-of-sunburn-fast/
Discussion on this topic: How to Get Rid of Sunburn Fast, how-to-get-rid-of-sunburn-fast/ , how-to-get-rid-of-sunburn-fast/

Related News

How to Make Spaghetti Sauce from Fresh Tomatoes
Remicade Reviews
How tariffs will affect ecommerce in the US
Gwyneth Paltrow And Chris Martin Split After 10 Years Of Marriage
Fancy A Front Row Seat To A Fashion Show In The Skies
Bed at 10 for the perfect night’s sleep
How To Uncover Your Six-Pack In A Week. Seriously
Nonstress Test
Medium Hair Styles with Bangs 2014: Ombre Hairstyles
Coffee Lowers Diabetes Risk
WorkPlay Set by Hawthorne

Date: 16.12.2018, 09:44 / Views: 63575

Back to Top