How to Care for Sunburned Skin

posted on June 25, 2015 | by Amanda Holstein

How to Care for Sunburned Skin


As you may have noticed from my last few beauty posts, I got quite a lot (a little bit too much) color on my trip to the Dominican Republic. I’m typically very good about applying sunscreen, especially to my face. On this past trip, I bought a spray sunscreen from the gift shop and for some reason thought that would be enough for my face. Well, I was very wrong. I came back to my hotel room at the end of the day only to find that my face was bright red. I was smart enough to buy a stronger sunscreen for the rest of the trip, but that didn’t change the fact that my face felt raw. It quickly started to peel, especially when I got back home to New York.

So since I’ve recently had to deal with this not-so-fun vacation aftermath, I thought I’d share my tips on how to care for sunburned skin. I did these four steps for a few days and my skin quickly came back to its normal texture (and color!). Take a look below!

Step 1: Exfoliate with a towel

Because of the immediate peeling on my nose and cheeks, I knew I had to exfoliate in order to remove all that dead skin. I started with a towel that had a bit of texture to it (a washcloth is good too). Dip it in a little bit of warm water and gently swirl the towel on your face to remove the dead skin. If you use warm water and rub gently enough, it doesn’t hurt too bad. If it feels really irritated, wait to do this step until a couple days have passed.


Step 2: Exfoliate with product

The next step is to use an exfoliating treatment that also hydrates your skin. I’ve been a huge fan of boscia Tsubaki Oil-Infused Exfoliating Powder! Pour a bit of the powder into your hand, add a touch of warm water to create a paste, and gently massage this onto your (clean) skin. Apply in a circular motion all over your face for about a minute. Your face may start to tingle or get a bit hot, but that’s okay. Rinse off and your skin should feel super smooth.


Step 3: Moisturize

When your skin is sunburned, you may notice it alternate between feeling extremely dry and then extremely oily. Basically, it’s super dehydrated so it makes sense for it to be dry. If you don’t moisturize it sufficiently, it can overproduce oil to compensate for being dry. So make sure to use something extra hydrating, like Shiseido Ibuki Refined Moisturizer Enriched. Let it really soak into your skin before applying your makeup.

Step 4: Apply tinted moisturizer

Applying makeup can be difficult when your skin is super dry and sunburned. I found that after exfoliating, the best thing to use is a tinted moisturizer or hydrating BB cream (I use bareMinerals Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream). These provide the coverage you want while being gentle on the skin. Instead of using a brush, apply the product with your hands. Add just a touch of bronzer to help the product set. Skip the blush (since your skin is probably red enough), and you’re set.