How to Treat a Sunburn

Still getting sunburned?

First, get out of the sun or cover up with a thick shirt (a white tee shirt has an SPF of 3)! Here’s what to do next:

  • Start taking an anti-inflammatory like Advil/ibuprofen or Aleve/naproxyn for the next 2 or 3 days.
  • Get some non- prescription hydrocortisone 1% cream and apply it to the area 3 times a day for the next few days
  • Take a 10-15 minute cool or cold oatmeal bath daily (like Aveeno at the drugstore) and apply lightly a bland lotion (Cetaphil Lotion is fine) after each bath.

And wear more sunscreen next time!  Tan is a four-letter word, so get a spray tan or apply some self tanner if you want the bronzed look!

See Dr. Irwin’s sunscreen recommendations.

Check out this DermaQuest self-tanning lotion.

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

Ask me your skincare question!

Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skin care advocate.

  • All our content is written and researched by myself.
  • My medical office in Seattle has treated thousands of patients for 15+ years.
  • This site is not affiliated or financially tied to any product, treatment or device.
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