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After Sun Care Tips

by Staff Writer After a day of fun in the sun, you'll feel relaxed and at ease, but your skin may be showing signs of stress. The heat and intense ultraviolet radiation of the sun has a detrimental effect upon the skin and can leave it feeling dry and looking red, even if you used adequate sun protection while you were outside. Following these sun care tips will help you pamper your skin post-sun and have it feeling great in no time.

Soothing and Moisturizing After a Day in the Sun

If your skin isn't sunburned, you'll want to concentrate on soothing any irritation and replacing lost moisture.

- Take a short shower or bath to wash away your sunscreen. Use a gentle cleanser that is cream-based rather than a gel. Don't use products that foam, as they can dehydrate the skin.

- After bathing, apply a moisturizing product from head to toe. If your skin is normally on the dry side, an ointment or cream will provide the deepest level of hydration. For more oily skin, use an oil-free or noncomedogenic formula.

- Apply more moisturizer before you go to bed at night and use the moisturizer at least twice per day for the next few days.

- Using an after sun moisturizer can make your after sun skin care routine simpler. These products combine hydrating ingredients with skin soothers like aloe vera to help the skin recover from the sun.

Dealing with Sunburn

If you didn't use enough sunscreen, forgot to reapply or skipped it altogether and have a sunburn to show for it, your post-sun skin care routine should focus on soothing your discomfort and restoring moisture to your skin.

- Use cold compresses or take a cold shower or bath to alleviate the feeling of heat that can accompany sunburn.

- For swelling, you can use a hydrocortisone cream or take a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain reliever like ibuprofen. Be sure to consult with your doctor before using any oral or topical medication.

- Apply an aloe-based skin care formula to address redness and soothe inflammation. Aloe vera contains skin conditioners that calm the skin and is one of the most popular ingredients in after sun care formulas.

- Moisturize with an ointment or cream-based formula at least twice per day.

- Don't pick or peel any dry or flaky skin that develops after your sunburn. Instead, increase the frequency with which you apply sunscreen.

Keeping an Eye Out for Signs of Danger

In most cases, you can safely care for your skin after sun exposure on your own, but if you experience any of the following warning signs, you should call your doctor or seek emergency medical care:

- Large blisters forming on many places of your body or many developing in one area

- A high fever, a headache, confusion or nausea along with sunburn

- Drainage or pus from a sunburn blister

- A sunburn that doesn't show signs of improvement within 4 or 5 days

To reduce your risk of sunburn in the future, remember to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen 30 minutes before sun exposure and then every 2 hours while you're outdoors. If you swim or sweat profusely, reapply more frequently.