21 answers

How Do I Keep My Sunburn from Peeling?

Hi Ladies!
I was at a water park yesterday (it was over 100 here in TX yesterday! ouch!) ALL day, and of course I got me a good burn on my shoulders, chest and face. I've been putting aloe vera gel on it and taking ibuprofen for the pain, but I want to know... how do I keep it from peeling so that I don't burn AGAIN in the Texas sun? I always burn, peel, burn peel... repeat, repeat... I don't ever go tanning and I'm not trying to get a tan (I watched my brother battle cancer... not something I'd set myself up for), and I apply sunscreen often, but when you're out in the Texas sun ALL day, it's pretty inevitable that you'll get a burn. So now, how do I keep it from peeling?
Thanks ahead of time!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Hourly reapplications? Really? I had no idea- but it was evident that I wasn't reapplying often enough when I went home looking like a lobster. Luckily, my kids avoided the burn but got great tans, lol.

Ina- right- I'm going to float down the lazy river with my shade umbrella. That's practical. I knew I'd get some critics even on a harmless post like this, but goodnight!

More Answers

I have been a fair-skinned person in California all my life, including several years as a lifeguard in 100+ degree temperatures... so I know a thing or two about sunburns! ;) If you are burned, chances are you will peel. That is because the skin is dead and your body needs to slough it off so new skin can come to the surface.

The way I avoid sunburn is to apply a high SPF sunscreen (50+) and LOTS of it. Think of it this way - you should apply a shot glass of sunscreen (that much! really!) at a time. If you are using less than that, it's not enough. Really slather it on. And then, depending upon how quickly you burn, apply it as often as necessary. For me, it's every hour. For my kids (who are blessed with their father's ability to tan), it's every 2 hours. Wear a hat if you can to protect the top of your head, ears, nose, etc, since those areas burn the fastest.

Also, I read an article recently about different brands of sunscreen - it was from Consumer Reports, I believe - anyhow, they found that some of the higher-end brands don't provide the sun protection that they state on the label. The report found that the best brands were Up-and-Up (the Target brand), No Ad, and CVS' store brand. They all provided the SPF that was stated on the label, AND they stayed on the stated amount of time in the water. Good to know you don't have to spend a ton of $$ to get good sunscreen! :)

3 moms found this helpful

Unfortunately you can't prevent peeling. That skin is dead and it will come off. Period. What you can do is minimize the blistery appearance by exfoliating gently once your skin has healed.

I'm also sorry to be harsh, but a sunburn is not inevitable. You simply have to be smart in the sun and use some common sense.
Stay out of the sun during the mid-day. Go inside or hang out in the shade. If you want to be outside and there are no shaded areas, bring your own shade, they come in all forms and sizes.
Reapply sunscreen frequently and use a reasonable SPF (30 is good, anything over 50 is not worth the money). Wear UV blocking clothes and a hat to minimize your exposure.

It is not inevitable that you burn, so be smart and don't become a melanoma statistic.
Good luck

3 moms found this helpful

The lavender oil suggestion is great! It really works! You can also use raw coconut oil and you WILL NOT PEEL. The coconut oil will heal your skin and not hold any heat from the burn in.

2 moms found this helpful

I don't think you can, but you can minimize the appearance by moisturizing.

2 moms found this helpful

N., get one of those swim shirts! You still have to put sunscreen on under it, but it will protect your shoulders and chest. I promise you, your chest will look much better when you are 60 if you haven't gotten sun on it.

Here's something I read that might help you:
"recent research at the University of California, Riverside, indicates that sunscreen needs to be reapplied within 2 hours in order to remain effective. Not reapplying could even cause more cell damage than not using sunscreen at all, due to the release of extra free radicals from those sunscreen chemicals which were absorbed into the skin.[6] Some studies have shown that people commonly apply only 1/2 to 1/4 of the amount recommended to achieve the rated sun protection factor (SPF), and in consequence the effective SPF should be downgraded to a square or 4th root of the advertised value."

(I don't have a clue about the square or 4th root - LOL! But I'd wear a swim shirt! They dry very quickly when you swim, and you can wear it all day!)

D.

Updated

N., get one of those swim shirts! You still have to put sunscreen on under it, but it will protect your shoulders and chest. I promise you, your chest will look much better when you are 60 if you haven't gotten sun on it.

Here's something I read that might help you:
"recent research at the University of California, Riverside, indicates that sunscreen needs to be reapplied within 2 hours in order to remain effective. Not reapplying could even cause more cell damage than not using sunscreen at all, due to the release of extra free radicals from those sunscreen chemicals which were absorbed into the skin.[6] Some studies have shown that people commonly apply only 1/2 to 1/4 of the amount recommended to achieve the rated sun protection factor (SPF), and in consequence the effective SPF should be downgraded to a square or 4th root of the advertised value."

(I don't have a clue about the square or 4th root - LOL! But I'd wear a swim shirt! They dry very quickly when you swim, and you can wear it all day!)

D.

2 moms found this helpful

Lavender essential oil works tremendously on sunburns. My children have had a couple of sunburns already this year, and we applied the lavender oil. The burns faded pretty much overnight, and they are tanned instead. I am amazed at how well it has worked. We don't really use anything else.

2 moms found this helpful

You should be slathering on antioxidants as well to try to combat some of the free radicals and oxidative damage that the sun has done to your skin. You should also be eating as much of the really strong antioxidant foods as you can if you are going to let yourself burn so much. Try to have things like blueberries, strawberries, pomegranate juice, green vegetables, green tea an dark chocolate.

Ans seriously think about wearing a hat. Unless you are meditierranean (Italian or Greek) you are most definitely going to age muc much faster-each burn counts.

2 moms found this helpful

Hourly, most defintiely, yes... especially at a water park! Sunscreen washes off even faster when get in the pool or sweat, not to mention water reflects the sun's rays and increases your burn potential.

Growing up blonde and fair-skinned in TX and spending my summers boating on the lake, it is totally possible to not burn. Reapply sunscreen often, wear a hat, invest in a UV-protectant rash guard, look into zinc oxide facial sunscreen, and did I say, reapply your sunscreen?

In the meantime, there's no way to avoid peeling (sorry) but you can ease the pain with cool compresses, Solar-caine, drink tons of water, and apply aloe vera like it's going out of style!

2 moms found this helpful

I agree with the others about reapplying and using a lot when you do. Also aim for a very high SPF. They say it doesn't matter much after SPF 50, but it truly does. I'm a redhead with ghost white skin and I will burn through SPF 50 but not as easily through the higher SPFs. I stick with the very high (75+) SPFs now.

Do your best not to burn anymore. Every sunburn greatly increases the risk of skin cancer. I have had a lot of family members and a friend of mine end up with skin cancer and you really don't want to deal with that.

2 moms found this helpful

Funny, I just watched a thing on the news yesterday about sunscreen. You're supposed to apply it hourly in direct sun - which is something I didn't know.

I don't know if you can keep your burn from peeling - other than to keep lotioning it constantly all day.
But keep from burning, regular hourly applications of sunblock should apparently do the trick.

1 mom found this helpful

The best thing to use is Aloe Vera, it's like a gel and it will sooth and moisturize your skin, just apply it after you have showered or whenever your skin is irratated. It also help's with insect bite's too! Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I think you will peel no matter what. Best advice is keeping the skin hydrated, lots of aloe vera ( they make an aloe vera lotion now as well as the gel)
Get a big floppy hat= )
Also I know it sounds strange but a bath in some apple cider vinegar will take the sting out. I have not had a bad burn since I was a child, but we would even use cotton balls with a mixture of water and apple cider vinegar to dab on the bad spots...strangely soothing!

1 mom found this helpful

Don't know how to stop the peeling, but I swear by Bullfrog gel sunscreen. Not the spray, but the gel in the bottle. I use this when tubing down the river or at the water park, and if I reapply often, I don't burn. I am a fair, redhead, blue eyes w/ freckles, so it is quite a feat to not get sunburned. And I wear a hat to protect my face.

1 mom found this helpful

I am not sure if you can avoid the peeling. The skin is dead and needs to come off. But do apply lots of lotion and aloe vera gel for sure for comfort.

The best way to avoid burns on your shoulders is to wear a white/light colored T-shirt until at least your current burns are healed. A wide-brimmed hat will be useful too.

Try to avoid the sun during the worst hours (11 am to 2-3 pm).

Make sure you use a sunscreen with SPF greater than 50, and apply it liberally about half an hour BEFORE you go out.

1 mom found this helpful

Perhaps you can try one of those aqua shirts that have sun protection? At least during peak hours??

For peeling - lotion, lotion, lotion!!

1 mom found this helpful

You have skin like mine. Start wearing hats in summer. I have tons of wide brimmed colorful hats I wear in the summer. Think the big beautiful hat Rose wore as she got out of the car in Titanic. Well not that big bit that shape. I don't care what anyone else thinks of my summer hats. I just cock them over one eye and strutt my stuff.
My Mom has had a couple of small spots of skin cancer, I have vertiglio (auto immune disease I am losing all the pigment in my skin) and I burn easy. I use a 50 spf and will still burn sometimes. Apply sunscreen at least a half hour before going out and apply many times during the day.
Put a couple of tea bags in water and ring out a wash cloth in the tea and apply to sunburn, the tanic acid in the tea helps to relieve sunburn.
Dollar General has a product called "Nadinola Shea Butter" it is in a white tub with turquoise and navy blue writing. It has helped me with sunburn, helps take out the sting and keeps the skin moisturized to keep the peeling to a minumum.
FYI: even though someone tans they still need sunscreen--skin cancer happens to those who tan too.

1 mom found this helpful

last time I got a burn I had 3 random strangers tell me to put vinegar on it. That if you put vinegar on it, it will keep it from peeling (if you do it right away) and take away the sting. So after the 3rd person told me I figured I would try it. This was 2 days later. It DID take the sting away, but I did peel, not as bad as I thought I would though. I am not sure if it was because I didn't do it right away like they said, but it actually did help with the uncomfortableness of the burn.....LOL

1 mom found this helpful

Hi N.

There is a brand of SPF 30 from that will give you protection against the sun plus a pm treatment I use that is for your face but i use it on neck, chest and arms as well on occasion; it helps repair damage to skin. The whole system is available; just send a personal message and I will get you more information.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi N.,

Sunscreen is very important when you are out in the TX sun. I use a microfine zinc oxide formula that stays on better than most. It still needs to be reapplied but the regular burning has stopped. Hydration is ALSO terribly important to keep from burning. If your skin has the proper moisture it won't burn. The problem with the TX sun is it dehydrates faster than most people can hydrate.

You can hydrate your skin after the sunburn and it, in theory, will keep it from peeling. I hve never had a burn bad enough to test that out since I've learned it but that would be where I would start.

God bless,
M.

1 mom found this helpful

Once you are burnt like that, it's inevitable you'll start to peel. The best way not to peel, is to gradually build up your tan (a tan acts as a natural sun block) so you can start to stay out in the sun w/o burning. You do not want to burn, that is what causes cancer, not the tan. Be careful getting burnt so much!

1 mom found this helpful

Cocoa butter or banana boat green gel. That has always worked for me.

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