How To Heal A Sunburn Quickly, So You Leave All Your SPF Mistakes Behind You

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Well you went and did it. Even after all that preparation of making sure to use the right SPF and all the other forms of sun protection, you ended up needing to know how to heal a sunburn — fast. Listen: I'm not mad, I'm just disappointed. But we can talk about that later, because I know you're probably in a lot of pain. I once made the mistake of thinking I could get away with a couple of hours on the beach sans sunscreen, and it was the worst physical pain I've ever experienced. I couldn't move an inch without my whole body screaming at me. But if I had known then what I know now about taking care of sunburn... well, I probably would still not have been much happier, but I sure as hell would have healed much faster.

Even though we might not always burn out of negligence (yes, sunscreen can randomly fail you), it doesn't make the burn any less red, or painful, or itchy. But there are ways to make sure it heals faster, and even prevent peeling. (It might be satisfying, but nobody really wants to molt, right??) So if you've found your skin is in need of a bit of TLC, here are six tips to heal that sunburn in a jiffy. And here's hoping you'll never need these tips again.

1. Apply a Topical Remedy

Although probably not the most attractive bath you've ever taken, dumping some tea bags or milk into your soak will help calm the skin and alleviate the pain of your burn. If a bath isn't your thing, try a tea compress, aloe straight from the plant, or even a (non-scented) moisturizer instead.

2. Drink Water

Sunburns dehydrate, so make sure to keep up your intake of H2O to help skin heal faster. Infused water is a great way to make sure you drink enough throughout the day (even if you're not burned).

3. Stay Away From Drying Or Exfoliating Products

When you're burned, it's important to not use any products that will further exfoliate, irritate, or dehydrate your skin. So if you can, try to skip washing with anything except water (even soap dries out skin). If you feel like you still need something though, just make sure to not use products with ingredients like alcohol, salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or really anything used to treat acne. This also means skip the perfume, which is alcohol-based.

4. Skip Hot Showers

Really hot water can actually make a sunburn worse. Try to keep water as lukewarm as possible, and the water pressure down to have a less-painful shower.

5. Wear Breathable Fabrics

If your skin is better able to breathe, it is better able to heal. So try to clad yourself in loose-fitting, breathable materials like cotton instead of synthetic or heavier fabrics that will only cause more suffering.

6. Eat Right

Vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids can help with collagen production and generally keeping skin healthy. So try to eat fruits and veggies (which will also keep you hydrated) and foods like salmon and nuts to make that burn disappear faster.

Image: Ivabellini/Flickr