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How to Remove Peeling Skin From a Sunburn

author image Laurel Brown
Laurel Brown has several years experience as an educator and a writer. She won the 2008 Reingold Prize for writing in the history of science. Brown has a Ph.D. and Master of Arts in the history of science and Middle Eastern studies from Columbia University, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in astrophysics from Colgate University.
How to Remove Peeling Skin From a Sunburn
A woman has a sunburned back. Photo Credit: 07photo/iStock/Getty Images

Most people will experience mild sunburn at least once during the course of a lifetime. Even a short exposure to the sun while skin is unprotected can lead to a painful and irritated burn. Usually within a few days, your sunburn will begin to fade and peel. You may be tempted to quickly pull off the loose and unsightly skin, but you need to be careful. Improperly removed sunburned skin can lead to further irritation, scarring and infection. You can properly remove peeling skin from a sunburn if you take it slow and follow certain steps.

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Steps to Remove Peeling Skin

Step 1

Take a lukewarm bath. Avoid hot water, as that can irritate your peeling skin further. In contrast, a lukewarm bath will soothe sunburned skin and can loosen the peeling skin for easy removal. Try to bathe once or twice per day.

Step 2

Use either a soft washcloth or a disposable cleansing cloth to gently wipe the peeling skin. This will remove any very loose pieces without harming the healthy skin underneath.

Step 3

Pat yourself dry with a soft towel after the bath. Avoid rough fabrics or rubbing the skin.

Step 4

Cut any hanging pieces of peeled skin with scissors. Do not pull the skin, as this can remove attached areas not yet ready to come off.

Step 5

Apply antibiotic ointment to the edges of the peeled skin. You can avoid infection and continued irritation if you treat the areas where you have removed skin.

Step 6

Moisturize the peeling skin. You need to restore the strength and flexibility of your damaged skin, so apply a lotion containing aloe vera to the peeling area. This will also minimize the total amount of skin that will peel.

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