Even in a perfect world, where you're putting on your SPF regularly and keeping your extremities covered, sunburns happen. It's normal. We're all human, and into each life a little redness and irritation may fall. The important thing, though, is what you do when you do wind up with burnt skin. Hopefully, you're reaching for one of the best after-sunburn lotions — and if not, it's advisable to pick up a bottle to have on-hand for the future.
These lotions work in a couple of different ways. Some of them instantly cool upon contact, providing chilly relief to your most irritated areas. Others help to heal your sunburn from the inside out by delivering nourishing ingredients to help repair sun damage. All of them work to keep your dry, peeling skin moisturized, and some can help extend your tan. All in all, using a lotion is much better than letting your skin heal on its own.
One thing to keep in mind, though, is that these lotions are not miracle workers. Any sunburn — or tan, for that matter — you get is actual sun damage and can lead to melanoma or skin cancer down the line. Keep an eye on the areas of your body where you get a sunburn, and look out for new or changing moles. Those can be signs of developing cancers.
But in the meantime, let's get your skin soothed. Ahead, four of the best after-sun lotions you can buy.
1. An After-Sun Lotion That Cools As It Heals
Sun Bum Cool Down Lotion
Based on reviews, size options, and formula, this is our top pick.
Sun Bum's Cool Down Lotion delivers a comforting sensation to irritated, sun-damaged skin. Not only will frequent reapplication help control peeling, but it'll actually make your sunburn feel less painful, too. And there's even more to this formula: Sun Bum's post-sun lotion moisturizes skin with ingredients like aloe vera, tea tree leaf oil, cocoa butter, jojoba oil, and vitamin E. It's light, non-greasy, and absorbs into skin instantly upon application. Because this lotion is hypoallergenic, vegan, gluten-free, and made with gentle, nourishing ingredients, it's perfect for just about anyone — including sensitive skin types. It's also reef-friendly, which makes this formula especially thoughtful. Choose from three sizes: 3-ounces, 6-ounces, and 8-ounces — and keep it in your fridge for an even more refreshing feel.
2. An After-Sun Lotion With A Multitude Of Other Uses
Sun Burnt Daily After-Sun Lotion
This is another great option and can be used to treat various skin issues, but it's only available in one size.
A multi-tasking product is always number one on my list, which is why I love Sun Burnt Daily After-Sun Lotion so much. This product is amazing at healing sunburns, of course. But because of its mix of ingredients, you can also use this formula to help soothe skin issues like eczema, insect bites, and other rashes. It can even be used to treat minor burns to your skin. That's all thanks to Sun Burnt's heady blend of cucumber, coconut oil, algae extract, and aloe vera, which work together to calm and heal irritated, burnt, or inflamed skin. Sun Burnt is great because of its lightweight, fast-absorbing consistency, too. Instead of being sticky and tacky, this stuff slides on easily with no mess. The formula is free of parabens, phthalates, dyes, and glycols, and the brand only uses fair-trade, certified-organic aloe vera, so you can feel good about slathering it all over your body.
3. A Pure Aloe Vera Gel For Traditionalists
Seven Minerals Aloe Vera Gel
If you're looking for a solid bottle of aloe vera, you can't go wrong with this pick.
If you're more of an aloe vera purist, then Seven Minerals Aloe Vera Gel is for you. This stuff is slightly thinner than your average aloe vera gel, making it much more comfortable to wear throughout the day. You can even use it on your face, since it's so thin. It's made from real aloe vera juice instead of powdered aloe vera, meaning you get a more concentrated dose of soothing power the second you apply. What's more? It absorbs quickly, leaving behind no sticky, slimy residue like other aloe vera gels. Though aloe vera is a powerhouse ingredient that's especially great at treating sunburns, this won't hydrate and moisturize your skin as well as the other options on this list. Minimalists, this bottle is definitely for you — and be sure to keep it in the fridge to enhance the cooling sensation.
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