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How to heal sunburn quickly

Sunning at the beach
Sunning at the beach
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Even though we try to use sunscreen when exposed to the sun for an extended period of time, sometimes its rays get the best of us. Regardless of how our skin came to be red, dry and painful, we all want to know how to heal it as quickly and effectively as possible. So, here are a few key steps to make sure your sunburn doesn’t get the best of you:

1) Take a cold shower

As soon as you go indoors, hop in the shower and turn the water to cool. This will give your skin the opportunity to cool down while getting some much needed moisture. Be sure to pat yourself dry instead of rubbing yourself with a towel to lessen the irritation on your skin.

2) Apply aloe

Aloe is the sunburn sufferer’s best friend. Applying it amply and frequently can help ease the burn and keep you from peeling. Keep a bottle near you at all times to keep your skin refreshed.

3) Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

To keep a bad sunburn from peeling, the key is hydration. While applying moisture directly to your skin is great, hydrating internally is even better. Especially if you’re consuming alcohol, be sure you’re getting the appropriate amount of water your body needs. The Mayo Clinic suggests drinking more than 2 liters of water a day in a temperate climate, so when it’s hot and you’re in the sun, it’s best to drink even more than that.

Keeping these tips in mind, you should be able to ease the pain of a sunburn and enjoy the sun again. Remember: the best way to heal a sunburn is to not get one at all! So, be sure to reapply sunscreen frequently, especially if you're in water or sweating. The sun's hottest hours are between 11am and 3pm, so you'll want to reapply even more then.