How should I treat my sunburn?

So, winter’s out and summer’s in! You’re beach-ready and can’t wait to get a gorgeous sun-kissed tan. However, first-day fever gets the best of you and instead of sun-kissed you get sun-scorched! We’re sharing the best ways to treat sunburn and showing you how to turn a sunburn into a tan.

Summer is a glorious time! It’s boat rides, beach days, outdoor sports, and barbecues. It’s also when you forget that you need to reapply sunscreen often, and so you end up with a “tan” gone too far. Spending more time in the sun is always great to get rid of those winter blues, but unfortunately, it also comes with the risk of getting a sunburn.

In theory, scorching your skin is completely preventable. Sun protection warnings and product advancements mean that if you follow the rules and reapply sunscreen regularly, you should be able to get that sun-kissed tan without burning. However, despite the number of times you’ve been warned, chances are that you’ve experienced sunburn in one way or another. Whether you’ve been for a swim and your sunscreen has washed off, or you simply forgot to apply it while gardening, you’ve likely experienced the searing pain and redness from overexposure to the sun.

Luckily, there are sunburn remedies that can help with sunburn relief if you apply them straight after being in the sun. Remember that although bad sunburn can be treated fairly quickly, any kind of overexposure to the sun can have a lasting effect on the skin and damage it in the long term.

1. What causes sunburn?

While we all know that sunburn is when your skin turns red and itchy due to too much sun exposure, not everyone knows the intricacies of the process that causes sunburn, what happens to your skin, what makes you more vulnerable to sunburn, and how to heal.

The sun produces three different ultraviolet light wavelengths: UVA, UVB, and UVC. UVC doesn’t make it all the way through the ozone and is the only wavelength that doesn’t affect your skin. UVA and UVB don’t just make it down to the earth, they are able to penetrate deep into your skin too.

Although sunburn is the most obvious indicator that you’ve overexposed yourself to the sun, there are other, less visible signs too. UV rays penetrate the skin and can damage your cells and DNA, which will cause sun damage and premature aging in your skin. It can also be a contributor to skin cancers.

How quickly you get sunburnt and how severe the burn depends on a few factors:

  • What type of skin you have
  • The intensity/heat of the sun
  • How long you spend being exposed to the sun

2. Sunburn symptoms

When you get sunburnt, you’ll know all about it. The first level of sunburn is called mild erythema. This is equivalent to a first-degree burn, and it’s the easiest type to treat. This kind of sunburn usually results in red skin that is painful to the touch. If you were quick to use the best sunburn relief you have in your repertoire, chances are that it will disappear in two to three days.

The second level of sunburn is known as intense erythema. This is a more severe sunburn which is identified by inflamed skin, painful blisters and peeling, and may be accompanied by other symptoms including fever, fatigue, headaches or nausea. It’s the equivalent of a second-degree burn and is incredibly damaging to your skin. How long does severe sunburn last? Up to a week! This makes treating sunburn of this kind a lot harder and means that proper sunburn recovery is incredibly important.

3. How to relieve sunburn

So you’ve spent the day in the sun and while you were busy, you didn’t notice that your skin was beginning to sizzle a little. You didn’t think it was that bad, but when it’s time to shower, you realize that you are actually lobster red and even taking your clothes off is a painful process. Or, you’re still at the beach and after a swim and a little tan session, you’ve noticed that wiping the sand off your body is sore. These are both cases of sunburn.

Knowing how to relieve sunburn and how to stop sunburn peeling is only useful if you apply after-sun lotion as soon as you realize that your skin has been burnt. The sooner you start using sunburn remedies the better the results will be. Here are some of the things that you can do to relieve sunburn.

Get out of the sun

One of the most obvious things to do when you are feeling the effects of sunburn is to get out of the sun, yet you’d be surprised at how many people think that the damage has been done so elongated sun exposure won’t make a difference. It’s essential to get out of the sun as soon as you notice that your skin is a little tender.

This doesn’t just mean for a few hours either! Try and stay in the shade, or at least wear clothing or accessories that cover up your body for the entire time it takes for your sunburn to heal.


Although you may want to immediately tend to your painful skin, it’s important to remember that the best thing that you can do for your body is hydrate it. So while you get out of the sun, and make a plan to find sunburn relief products, you should drink as much water as you can. This will help get some moisture back into your body and assist your cells in their recovery.

Take painkillers or anti-inflammatories

If your sunburn isn’t extreme enough to go to the ER, then you should simply take something to deal with the pain. Try and take an over the counter painkiller or anti-inflammatory to deal with the pain, while you try to sort out your skin.

Get under some cold water

After being sunburnt, your skin will be painful and hot to the touch. Cold water is a great sunburn itch relief and once you’re out of the sun, you must pop into a cold bath or shower for around 5 minutes to simply offer your skin some relief.

Use after sun lotion

Now it’s time to give your skin the pampering that it deserves. Get your hands on some Clarins’ After Sun Care to revive and replenish your sunburnt skin. Each product in our range is rich in plant extracts like Aloe Vera, which have been specifically chosen for their ability to soothe and hydrate damaged skin.

Remember to reapply after sun lotion frequently, while continuing to drink lots of water to ensure that your body has maximum hydration.

4. Consider self tanning lotion

Before heading back out into the sun to work on your tan, consider sunless tanning lotion. The best remedy for sunburn is simply avoiding getting sunburnt in the first place. Self-tanning lotion will allow you to get the exact shade of tan that you want, from the comfort of your own home. Our Sun Self Tanning Lotions aren’t just great at giving you that sun kissed tan, but are also packed full of hydrating properties so that they actually nourish your skin while doing so.

5. Protect your skin

Remember that sunscreen is an absolute must every time you are exposed to the sun. For daily UV protection, try our UV PLUS Anti-Pollution Sunscreen Multi-Protection Broad Spectrum SPF 50.

Ready to get that sun kissed tan without the skin damage?

Got more questions about Clarins products? Find all the answers you need here.

Did you get the answers you were looking for? Share the love with your friends!

You May Also Like

Related Questions

Why are after sun products important?

You can’t undo skin damage caused by the sun – but read on to learn how to minimize its effects and get sunburn relief with Clarins best After Sun Lotion.

How do I choose the best sun protection level for me?

Sun damage is one of the primary causes of premature skin aging. Here’s how to find the best sun protection for your skin.

What kind of sun protection should I use for my child?

Finding the best sunscreen for toddlers and babies can be hard given their delicate skin. Here’s how to find the best sun protection for your child.

How do I achieve a sun kissed complexion?

Did you know that you can get that sun kissed tan even when the sun isn’t shining? Here’s how Clarins’ self tanner can give you radiant skin throughout the year.

How do I get a quick tan?

A Clarins self-tanner can help you get tanned without the sun. How does self tanner work? Read on to understand how self-tanning lotion works, and how to apply it for the best results.

How do I choose the right foundation?

Choosing the right foundation can be difficult. Take some tips from Clarins on how to find the right foundation for your skin type.