We’ve all been there—you spend an amazing day in the sunshine by the pool or beach only to get out of the shower later and realize you’re as red as a tomato. What comes next usually involves burning, stinging, itching, and eventually, peeling. Obviously the best way to fix this feeling is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Most of us think about SPF for our face and neck by now, but we can’t forget the rest of our body when we’re heading out for a summer day with exposed skin. An SPF of 30 or higher needs to be applied before heading outside, and then reapplied again throughout the day to ensure you don’t get burned.

Sunburns can cause long-lasting damage to the skin and increase your risk for developing skin cancer down the road.

But we all make mistakes and an occasional overexposure to sun, and consequential sunburn, is inevitable so learning the best ways to treat one is key. Because not only are they dangerous for your health, they’re also extremely painful! There are plenty of products and natural remedies to soothe the skin after too many UV rays, but there are other steps that are just as helpful as slathering on aloe vera. Since summer is just getting started and the sun is stronger than ever, below are some of the most effective ways to treat a sunburn to minimize the pain, swelling, and long-term damage.

The Most Effective Ways to Treat a Sunburn Camila Coelho

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Hydrate: Hydrating from the inside out can actually help treat a sunburn, as the burn draws fluids to the skin’s surface and away from the rest of the body. This is why drinking plenty of water is so important as soon as you notice the burn start to make an appearance.

Take An Aspirin: Popping an aspirin or any other over-the-counter anti-inflammatory will help take the heat off your skin and alleviate some of the discomfort. It will also help reduce swelling, which will keep the pain levels lower.

Apply A Milk Compress: Soak a washcloth in cold whole milk and apply it the burn area. The fat and proteins in milk help soothe the irritation.

Moisturize: Hydrating the skin’s surface should also be one of your first moves, as you’ll want to repair the skin’s barrier as quickly as possible. A moisturizer containing aloe vera is ultra-soothing for burned skin. Antioxidants such as vitamin C and E also help counteract the damage caused by UV rays. Ceramides are another ingredient to look for in a moisturizer because they fight dehydration and repair the skin’s barrier.

Prevent Further Damage: While your burn is healing it’s more important than ever to prevent further sun exposure. Stay inside, or if you need to be outdoors then stick to the shade or wear SPF-protective clothing. Also be sure to apply SPF religiously (and re-apply!) to your entire body to prevent any additional sunburns.

The Most Effective Ways to Treat a Sunburn Camila Coelho

What’s your favorite sunburn remedy? Let us know in the comments below!