Skip to content
Simple Sunburn Remedies with Dr. Jennifer Rullan

Simple Sunburn Remedies with Dr. Jennifer Rullan

In honor of Skin Cancer Awareness Month, we are collaborating with leaders in the sun safe community throughout the month to further our mission to prevent skin cancer & share the importance of sun safe habits.

Cabana Life is passionate about sun protection, & to give you the best information, we reached out to experts in the field, our favorite dermatologists! We are so excited to feature Dr. Jennier Rullan. She is a Board Certified Dermatologist at Dermatology Institute. You can find her practice @dermdocjen on Instagram & @DrJenniferRullan on Facebook. Read below how to soothe sunburns safely with Dr. Rullan.

What should I avoid after a sunburn?

It’s important to avoid topical products that are thick or increase heat (by trapping heat) such as petroleum jelly, ointments or coconut oil. Avoid putting ice or tight-fitting clothes over sunburnt skin. In addition, do not pop any blisters, scratch your skin, or try to remove peeling skin.

Do not treat a sunburn with “-caine” products (such as benzocaine) which are to help relieve pain, as these may irritate the skin or cause an allergic reaction. Avoid smoking, tobacco & dehydration. Alcohol & coffee are diuretics and remove water from the body, but after a sunburn the body needs extra hydration to heal & recover lost fluid, so try to avoid excess coffee or alcohol.

How should I treat a sunburn? Are baths, pain relievers, etc. okay?

Take frequent cool baths or showers to help relieve the pain. As soon as you get out of the bathtub or shower, gently pat yourself dry, but leave a little water on your skin. Then, apply a moisturizer with aloe vera or just aloe vera to the skin. If a particular area feels especially uncomfortable, you can apply a mild steroid like hydrocortisone 1% cream. Calamine lotion can also help itching.

It is often helpful to take ibuprofen or motrin or to help reduce any swelling, redness or discomfort. Drink extra water. A sunburn causes water loss & dehydration so drinking water helps prevent complications and speeds recovery. Finally, get lots of sleep & rest so the body can heal.

Is there a way I can make my sunburn go away quickly?

Oral antihistamines such as Benadryl, Claritin or Allegra with pain relievers such as Ibuprofen or Motrin can also help sunburns heal faster. For severe cases, seeing a doctor for a prescription for prednisone, an oral steroid, is often needed. Cold baths, eating protein & vegetables, sleeping and drinking lots of water also helps the body heal.

What are your favorite products (moisturizers, aloe, etc.) to help ease pain?

Aloe vera gel without alcohol or coloring/dyes, specifically Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera Cool Blue Gel & hydrocortisone 1% cream with aloe vera.

How long do I have to stay out of the sun after a sunburn?

Sunburnt skin (until it’s healed) should not be exposed to any further sun! If you have to go outside, wearing protective clothing that is loose fitting is ideal. There are oral supplements such as Heliocare that helps prevent further sun damage or sun burn & can be taken by mouth 15 minutes before going outdoors.

What kind of clothes should I wear so I’m not in pain?

Breathable & loose fitting clothing is ideal. The fabric of clothing also matters & cool clothing with UPF 50+ helps protect the skin so it can heal.

What should I look for to know if my sunburn is severe & if I should seek help from a doctor?

If you have extensive blisters, fevers, chills, headache, lip or facial swelling, nausea, confusion or other systemic symptoms.

What do you think people should know when it comes to sunburns?

The danger of sunburns goes far beyond any short-term pain, redness or discomfort, because after the sunburn fades, lasting damage remains. Mutations in the DNA of the skin are cumulative from the day we are born until the day we die. These mutations lead to skin cancers as well as skin aging such as wrinkles, brown spots, white spots & growths.

A sunburn accelerates skin aging & is a leading cause in the majority of cases of basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

Every sunburn doubles your risk of skin cancer & it’s important to become aware that pain on the skin is the body warning you of danger. It is important to prevent sunburns, if needed, manage sunburns & prevent any further sun exposure on a sunburn.

 We always trust the professionals when it comes to skin! We hope these tips help you easy any sunburns & encourage you to always follow sun protective routines. 

Look out for more Dermatologist Q&A's & follow our Skin Cancer Awareness Month campaign on Facebook & Instagram

Now that you are the expert on everything you need to know about sunburns, complete your new sun safety routine with stylish UPF 50+ clothing & swimwear for the whole family. Check out our new arrivals for dermatologist-approved sun protection you’ll love.