Remedies for sunburn

CARNIVAL season has passed, but the effects of sun exposure during the outdoor activities might still be lingering.

Many revellers have been left with tan lines and flaking skin caused by sunburn, which have prompted them to seek quick fixes and remedies to expedite the healing process.

Here are some tips to alleviate the symptoms for faster and smoother recovery.

Tan lines

If the tan lines are uneven and unsightly, a quick fix would be to even everything out with a spray tan.

A traditional sun tan would not be recommended as this would only irritate the skin further, and also heighten the variation between tanned skin and untanned skin.

A professional spray tan can be customised and focused on the areas that are lighter — to have that area match its surrounding colour.

The use of skin brighteners containing Vitamin C, kojic acid, licorice, or arbutin, to name a few, can be implemented two weeks after the tan developed. This gives the skin time to heal and replenish itself from the sun exposure.

Please note that the use of skin brighteners can increase the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight. A broadband sunscreen with SPF50 and above should be used at all times.

Alpha hydroxy acid treatments are a great way to retain moisture in the skin as well as speed up desquamation, the skin’s natural way of shedding the outer layer of skin. The use of alpha hydroxy acids such as lactic acid is great to reduce the production of melanin as well as to increase the cell turnover rate for faster fading exfoliation.


Contrary to popular belief, ethnic skin is susceptible to sunburn; the only difference with ethnic skin is that the sunburn isn’t easily detected as in Caucasian skin. However, one thing is for sure is that the symptoms are the same, and the risk factors are just as equal.

So how do we prevent sunburn? For starters, limiting sun exposure and wearing high- protection broadband sunscreen. However, if we happen to forget to apply or to reapply sunscreen, here are a few helpful remedies to alleviate the symptoms.

If your skin is peeling after a bad sunburn, avoid picking at it or peeling it further. Use lotions that contain aloe vera to soothe and moisturise skin.

Some aloe products contain lidocaine, an anaesthetic that can help relieve sunburn pain. Aloe vera is also a good moisturiser for peeling skin.

Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water, juice or sport drinks. Your skin is dry and dehydrated. Replacing lost body fluids will help your skin heal from sunburn more quickly.

Moisturise with Vitamin E, which is an excellent antioxidant to help decrease inflammation caused by sunburn. Use Vitamin E oil on the skin or take a regular dose of the supplement. Vitamin E oil can also be rubbed onto peeling skin.

Soothe and calm the skin with cucumber, which has natural antioxidant and analgesic properties. Apply chilled cucumber to the sunburnt area for faster relief.

If you have blisters, this is a sign of severe sunburn. It is best to cover them to prevent tearing and leave them alone until they heal.

The best remedy for sunburn is prevention. Always use sunscreen with SPF50 or higher, wear protective clothing and sunglasses, and avoid direct sun exposure.

Michelle Vernon is a phlebotomist medical aesthetician who operates the Body Studio Skincare, located at 20 Constant Spring Road, Mall Plaza, Kingston 10, and Fairview Shopping Centre, Montego Bay. She may be reached at telephone 908-0438 and 684-9800; IG @ bodystudioskincare; e-mail:

%d bloggers like this: