Ask the Esthetician – Tips for a Sunburn

I have clients who apply sunscreen regularly, wear a sun hat and protective clothing and still get the occasional sunburn. In fact, a client came for an appointment this week, the last of a five -peel series. His acne had steadily improved over the last two months and he was pleased with the results of a combined treatment plan.

We had to postpone the peel, however, because he arrived with a sunburned face after golfing. I choose a hydrating facial treatment instead of the peel as the best course of action for his parched and sensitive skin.

Please, do your best to stay protected from the sun. However, if for some reason you do get a sunburn,  here are a few tips to help your skin recover.

  • Apply cool water compresses or washcloth to the face every couple of hours helps with the redness and heat and provide comfort.
  • After the cool compresses, keep applying a light moisturizer or aloe vera gel to help the surface stay hydrated. 
  • Avoid heavy creams or moisturizing products that are also anti-aging or acne formulas as they may contain retinol or acids that can further irritate sensitive sunburned skin.
  • Postpone using any exfoliation beads or cleansing brushes like the Clarisonic, until the skin is no longer pink or tender to touch.
  • If the skin begins to peel, refrain from pulling on the peeling tissue. This could cause more wounding and even potentially create scarring.
  • Drink plenty of water to help with dehydration from overexposure to the sun.

Hydrating skin care treatments like the one used on the client described above can also be helpful in returning the skin to normal, healthy moisture levels. Remember, a sunburn increases your chances of skin cancer greatly so the best remedy is to avoid getting one at all!




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