Always use sunscreen when you spend time outside. But if you fail to do so, you can take steps to help reduce the redness of sunburn, as well as decrease the chances of permanently damaging your skin. Skin that has already incurred damage from the sun may have hyperpigmentation or age spots, says More magazine. You can fade these with the right products, and you can help prevent them in the future by taking precautionary measures.
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As soon as you feel a sunburn coming on, take an anti-inflammatory medication like aspirin or ibuprofen, says dermatologist and surgeon Ellen Marmur, M.D. She states that these medications can lessen the redness that sunburn will cause, as well as help prevent permanent damage. However, you must take these pills within 24 hours of getting burned.
Place ice packs or cold compresses onto sunburned skin to cool it and ease the pain, says dermatologist Jeanine Downie, M.D.
Apply a lotion that contains calming ingredients like aloe vera to keep your skin moisturized and help lessen the chances of flaking and peeling. Gently massage the lotion into your skin and reapply it as often as needed.
Exfoliate your skin once your sunburn has healed, but not before, as it can cause irritation and make your skin feel worse. Exfoliators get rid of dead skin and help speed up the production of new, healthier skin. This can help even out your skin tone. Wet and wash your skin, then gently rub an exfoliating cream over it and rinse thoroughly.
Apply a fading cream to any sunspots or areas of hyperpigmentation. More magazine suggests Wei East Bright Lights Rice Milk Essence, a cream that promises to lighten dark spots and even out your complexion. It contains rice milk and other herbal ingredients designed to gently brighten and smooth your skin while also keeping it nourished. Rub the cream on any areas you want to even out, or apply it directly to dark spots and blend outward.
Avoid future sunburn and apply a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher, at least 20 minutes before you go outside. Reapply it every few hours or more if you have been swimming. This is especially important if your sunburn is still healing, says dermatologist and surgeon David J. Lefell, M.D. Sunscreen will block UV rays and allow your skin to heal without incurring further damage.