There’s nothing like a fun day in the sun with friends and family. But the aftermath of those days can involve sunburns, inflammation, and even pain if you don’t take great care of your skin.
That’s why developing a healthy after-sun care routine is so important. With the right strategies, you can enjoy everything that long days in the sun have to offer without having to worry about dry or sunburnt skin.
We put together this article to help you do exactly that. Keep reading to find our top tips for after-sun care.
1. Take a cold shower or bath (but only with soft water)
There’s a bit of a debate online about whether or not you should take a cold shower or bath after getting a sunburn.
On the one hand, cold water can offer some instant cooling relief while also reducing some of your inflammation. On the other, the calcium and magnesium in our water supplies can dry out the skin, which may cause more damage than it fixes.
The answer lies in the type of water your home gets. If you have soft water (which is water that’s free of dissolved salts), then your skin won’t dry out very much, if at all. And you can take a shower after being out in the sun.
But if your home has hard water, you should skip the shower. Instead, you can wet a rag and place it over your skin to get some cooling relief without drying your skin out too much. Whether your water supply is soft or hard is highly location-dependent, and you can find out more online.
2. Pick up some aloe vera
Aloe vera is perhaps the most popular cure for sunburn – and for good reason. It’s a plant that’s naturally:
It’s everything you want in an ointment for sunburn, and it’s beautifully natural.
The only caveat is that the quality of aloe vera can vary greatly from one brand to another.
Australian Gold’s aloe vera includes green tea to neutralize free radicals while providing some extra calming for the skin. It’s also completely free of parabens, alcohol, fragrances, and other unwanted harsh ingredients.
3. Keep yourself hydrated
One of the reasons why sunburns can feel so bad is that they also tend to dehydrate us.
The American Academy of Dermatology says that sunburns pull our bodily fluids away from where they’re needed and towards the burn location. This can quickly lead to dehydration because your body may not have enough fluid available to both work on your sunburns and perform its normal functions.
That’s why it’s super important to make hydration a big part of your after-sun care routine.
Health experts commonly recommend drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. Bear in mind you may need even more than that if you spend a lot of time in the sun on a given day.
You should also keep in mind that everyone is different. If you’re a larger person, then you may need more water than that to keep yourself hydrated – especially after spending time in the sun.
4. Add lidocaine to your care kit for severe burns
If you’re not familiar with it, lidocaine is an over-the-counter anesthetic that can soothe the skin when it’s been burned.
It’s a smart thing to keep in your after-sun care kit because it can give you a bit of extra cooling power on those days when you experience your worst burns.
Lidocaine works similarly to aloe vera in that you apply it topically over the impacted area and receive near-immediate relief from your symptoms after doing so.
To start using lidocaine for your sunburn, you can pick it up at your local pharmacy or health store.
5. Take a few painkillers
You may also want to take a few painkillers after a long day in the sun. Products like Advil, Aleve, and Motrin are designed to help bring down inflammation, which is common when you get a sunburn.
When using these products, always be sure to read the label and take them only as directed.
6. Get lots of sleep
One of the most underrated strategies for recovering from a long day in the sun is also one of the easiest to do: sleeping.
When we sleep, the body gets a chance to rest and restore. The more of that time you get, the better it is for your skin’s healing process.
Additionally, when your sleep gets disrupted, the body’s production of certain cytokines, which help to fight inflammation, gets disrupted too.
The impact of this is that when you don’t allow yourself to get enough sleep, it takes your body longer to recover from a sunburn.
7. Grab an after-sun moisturizer
Finally, it’s worth acknowledging that every long day in the sun doesn’t end with a sunburn – especially if you use the proper amount of suncare while you’re out and about.
Even then, that doesn’t mean it’s wise to skip after-sun care entirely.
Instead, it’s a good idea to pick up an after-sun moisturizer that can soothe and replenish your skin even on the days that you don’t experience a sunburn.
Products like Australian Gold’s After-Sun Moisturizer with Hemp are rich in antioxidants and Vitamins A, E, and C. Our moisturizer even features a touch of caffeine to help you re-energize your skin after tiring it out in the sun.
Ingredients like these can do a lot to help you feel your best no matter what the sun throws at you on any given day.
The best after-sun plan starts before you go out
While keeping all of the tips we’ve discussed in mind, it’s important also to remember this point: If you want to feel your very best after being out in the sun, you need to take some action before going out.
Here are some top strategies to follow:
Use at least SPF 30
The American Dermatological Association recommends wearing at least SPF 30 sunscreen. At this SPF level, about 97% of the sun’s UV rays are blocked. You can compare that to 93% of UV rays when you use an SPF 15 product.
A 4% difference may not sound like a lot, but it can be the difference between feeling good when you get out of the sun or ending the day with an uncomfortable sunburn.
Reapply your sunscreen every two hours
The experts at John Hopkins say you should put sunscreen on every two hours – especially when you’re in the water or sweating.
If you don’t apply sunscreen as often as this, then you’re leaving your skin exposed to harsh UV rays. You could get sunburned even if you’re diligent about applying sunscreen before first going out for the day.
It’s also important to note that only some sunscreens are sweatproof and water-resistant and that these typically only offer a maximum of 80 minutes of protection.
That means you may need to apply sunscreen more often if you’re going in the water or sweating.
Don’t forget sunscreen when it’s cloudy outside
It’s natural to think that you don’t need sunscreen when you don’t see the sun outside – but that’s not actually the case.
Dermatologists at Yale Medicine state that UV rays can penetrate clouds. That means you could still end a day with a sunburn even if you never feel the sun at all.
It’s why experts say that you should wear sunscreen every day – regardless of the weather. Just getting into the habit of doing this every day will also help to make sure that you don’t inadvertently skip any days.
It could even be a good idea to keep a bottle of sunscreen in your bag or desk at work. That way, you’re never too far away from the sun protection that you want.
Don’t spend too long in the sun between 10am and 4pm
The intensity of UV rays varies based on where the sun is located in the sky. When it’s directly overhead, the rays are at their most intense and can cause the most damage to your skin.
This happens around noon. But the window of peak UV ray intensity expands a few hours on either side.
That’s why most experts will tell you to pay special attention to your skin when you’re out in the sun between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM.
Ideally, you should avoid being outdoors too long during this time. But you can also limit the damage by applying sunscreen a bit more often during this time window.
Australian Gold has everything you need for a healthy after-sun care routine
A big part of your after-sun care plan is having the right products to apply to your skin.
Australian Gold makes a wide variety of after-sun products, which can help you recover from sunburns, reduce your symptoms, and take care of your skin.
Take a look at our shop to see everything we have to offer. We’re sure you’ll find something that you like.