Beauty 101

Sunburn Dos and Don'ts

Rachel Gibbons Beauty Expert
Sunburn Dos and Don'ts

Want to lose the lobster look? Threebs has got you! Sunburns are caused by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays when you stay out in the sun too long. The longer you’re exposed to UV rays, the increased likelihood of you burning. Symptoms of sunburns include red, hot, sore skin that may blister, flake or peel. People with darker skin don’t burn as quickly as people with paler skin because they produce more of the pigment melanin that protects skin from UV damage. The more severe the burn, the longer you have to wait for the sunburn to heal as it takes more time for your body to replace the damaged layer of skin. Depending on the severity it can take from a few days to a few weeks to heal.


  • get into shade or indoors as soon as possible
  • cool your skin with a cool shower, bath or damp towel 
  • apply aftersun cream or spray, like aloe vera or coconut oil
  • add oatmeal to your bath to reduce inflammation and itching
  • drink plenty of water to cool down and prevent dehydration
  • take painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen for any pain
  • cover sunburnt skin from direct sunlight until skin has fully healed
  • drink extra water


  • use petroleum jelly on your skin
  • rub your skin with a towel when drying yourself- pat instead
  • put ice or ice packs directly on sunburnt skin
  • pop any blisters
  • scratch or try to remove peeling skin
  • wear tight-fitting clothes or irritating materials sunburnt skin
  • use chemical peels (AHAs or BHAs) or retinol
  • continue going into the sun

Be careful as although sunburns seem temporary, too much exposure to UV rays can damage your skin in the long term by making you more susceptible to skin cancer as well as increasing the chances of premature ageing and wrinkles. To protect your skin, ensure you are applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30. Sunscreens which contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide offer more protection. Ensure you apply your sunscreen 30 minutes before heading outside so it has adequate time to sink into your skin. Reapply every 2-3 hours! Other ways to protect yourself include wearing lightweight, long-sleeved clothing and hats.

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