Skip to main content

How to Treat a Sunburn

Did all that fun in the sun end with a nasty burn? Let’s get you some relief.


  • Step 1: Cool off your skin Cool off your skin with a cool bath or cool, wet compresses. If you opt for the bath, add a half cup of baking soda or several cups of colloidal oatmeal (available at drugstores). Soak for 10 minutes. Repeat as often as needed.
  • Step 2: Apply something soothing Apply something soothing, like aloe vera from a plant or lotion, or 1% hydrocortisone cream.
  • TIP: Do not use petroleum-based products or products with benzocaine; they’ll just lock in the heat.
  • Step 3: Take an aspirin If you’re an adult, take an aspirin; its anti-inflammatory properties will help relieve the pain.
  • TIP: Never give aspirin to children under 16; give them acetaminophen or ibuprofen instead.
  • Step 4: Let your skin heal Let your skin heal. If blisters form, leave them alone; if they break, use an antibiotic ointment. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about peeling—but a moisturizing lotion can ease any itching.
  • Step 5: Buy a good sunscreen Buy a good sunscreen and a big sunhat so you don’t get burned again. And stay out of the sun until your burn has healed!
  • FACT: It’s easier to get sunburned at high altitudes because you’re less protected by the atmosphere—for every 1,000 feet you go up, your exposure to UV rays increases 4%.

You Will Need

  • A bathtub or cold
  • wet compresses
  • Aloe vera plant or lotion
  • or hydrocortisone cream
  • Aspirin
  • Sunblock
  • Baking soda or colloidal oatmeal
  • Acetaminophen or ibuprofen
  • An antibiotic ointment

Popular Categories