5 Ways to Relieve Skin After a Day in the Sun

by Melissa Chichester

We’ve all heard it before, but Mom was right: even on a cloudy day, the sun can affect your skin. Factor in other environmental elements like salt, chlorine, and wind, and that day at the beach can lead to days of skin discomfort. Here are 5 ways to relieve skin after a day of fun in the sun.

Wear Breathable Fabrics

Even mild sunburns can be painful, and the slightest brush against the skin can cause irritation and discomfort. Until your sunburn is healed, wear lightweight and breathable fabrics, like cotton, chambray, and especially linen. Linen is a natural fiber made from the flax plant and known for being especially cool in the hot summer months. Avoid heavy fabrics that are textured and rough to the touch, like denim.

Take Cool Showers and Baths

The body responds to sunburns by increasing blood flow to the exposed area, making it look red and feel warm to the touch. Bathing in hot or warm water can irritate the skin more, so opt for a cool shower instead to calm skin sensitivity and redness. When you get out of the shower, pat dry to avoid irritating sensitive skin or tearing any blisters that are present.

Drink More Water

Dermatologist Jeffrey Brackeen, MD, from the Skin Cancer Foundation, states that “Burns draw fluid to the skin’s surface and away from the rest of the body, so you may become dehydrated [1].” Even if we don’t have a sunburn, many of us forget to drink enough water when we are more active. Drink extra water to improve hydration and help relieve irritated skin from the inside out.

Replenish Moisture with Aloe

Have you ever come home from a day of swimming with hair that is impossible to comb? Chlorine is known for causing hair dehydration, as it strips away the protective layer of sebum on hair follicles. Opt for pure aloe vera to add extra moisture to the hair by mixing 2 tablespoons of aloe vera gel with 2 tablespoons of water, and use as a leave-in conditioner.

Don’t Scratch

Whether your skin is peeling from a sunburn or itchy from chlorine, avoid scratching or peeling skin if you can. This causes more irritation and prolongs the skin’s natural healing process by creating tears in the skin where bacteria can thrive. Itchy skin can be temporarily relieved with calamine lotion, anti-itch lotion, and cold compresses.