August 19, 2023

How to Heal Peeling Skin From Sunburn

Peeling skin is a telltale sign that you’ve suffered some serious sun damage, and it’s the body's natural defense mechanism. It usually starts a few days into your burn, and can last up to two weeks. But you can heal it faster with these simple home remedies.

Avoid picking or pulling at the flaky skin, and don’t try to exfoliate it with scrubs or loofahs. Doing so disrupts the outer layer of skin and exposes raw, open tissue to bacteria, which could cause an infection.

You can also help speed up healing by applying a thick, fragrance-free moisturizer, such as aloe vera. And make sure to moisturize after bathing, while the skin is still damp.

Apply a cold compress or cool shower/bath to relieve discomfort from the sunburn, but be careful not to use ice directly on your skin. Severe cold can damage the skin, and may worsen peeling and delay recovery.

Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water (but not too much—dehydration can slow healing). It’s also recommended to try over-the-counter pain relief medications like ibuprofen, and to avoid smoking, which can dry out your skin and cause further redness and swelling. Finally, you can prevent further sunburn by seeking shade when outside, avoiding peak sun hours (10 AM to 4 PM), and wearing clothes that cover the skin. And remember to reapply sunscreen often, especially when swimming or sweating. If your skin is blistered, you should skip the shower and stick with cool baths. You should also avoid popping post-sunburn blisters, as it can lead to infections.


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