Even sunscreen devotees aren't immune to the sun's unrelenting wrath—especially in peak summer. If you've found yourself feeling a bit crispy after a day spent at the beach, we suggest heeding a dermatologist's professional advice. Enter New York City–based dermatologist Debra Jaliman, MD. She spoke with Elle about her foolproof routine for treating, relieving, and repairing a sunburn, including which common skincare ingredients to lather up and avoid. Considering the delicate state of your skin, even some of your favorite products will be irritating and can even make your sunburn worse. Read up on her sunburn skincare tips below.
Sunburns don't just damage your skin—they dehydrate your entire body. Jaliman recommends keeping fluid levels high and making sure your body is getting more than enough water in the hours and days following sun exposure. Keep a water bottle handy and load up on water-packed foods like fruits and veggies to supplement your rehydration efforts.
Avoid products containing these 3 ingredients
"The worst thing you can do for a sunburn is use any fragranced products on the area, or any products containing acids," says Jaliman, who adds that you should steer clear of any products with glycolic and lactic acids on the ingredients label, which are frequently found in acne products. What's more, "Any product that contains petrolatum will trap the heat in your skin and will not allow it to breathe," including Vaseline.
Lather up products containing these 5 ingredients
Jaliman recommends opting for a bland, scent-free moisturizer or something containing soy or aloe for extra healing power. Alternatively, pure aloe gel, fragrance-free coconut oil, or shea butter will also soothe irritated, sunburnt skin and jump-start the healing process.
Give your face some extra attention
"The face requires extra attention because you don't want to get scars or uneven pigmentation on your face," Jaliman explains. "Make certain to use a mild cleanser that is unfragranced and to avoid any retinols or other acids." Remember to skip exfoliation for a few days until your skin is back to its regular tone. Last but not least, "Really amp up your SPF usage," writes the publication, "not just to avoid a burn on your burn, but also to prevent any discoloration on your face, especially if there's peeling."
Head over to Elle for more.