Fight the pain. Sunburns are “really a kind of injury,” so take an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen or aspirin to ease the ache. Also try applying hydrocortisone cream, which can help combat itchiness.
Hydrate. Your skin needs sufficient moisture to heal, so drink plenty of water. And eat fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants, which prevent further cell damage.
Cool off. A cool bath or cool compresses release heat trapped in the skin. A milk compress further soothes the pain. Milk, green tea, baking soda, or oatmeal—added to a bath—can reduce inflammation.
Prevent peeling. Use a light moisturizer to reduce flaking or peeling. Aloe vera can help too—“if you’re not allergic to it.” Avoid after-sun sprays that contain anesthetics such as benzocaine, which can cause allergic reactions too.