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How To Care For a Sunburn (It's Not How You'd Think)

When a beauty-related ailment potentially requires medical attention, I consult Jean Godfrey-June before I even pick up the phone to call my doctor. Luckily, I haven't been hit with a sunburn yet this summer, but now I—and you—will know exactly what to do when it happens. And it's not at all what the doctor ordered, so forget whatever you've been told and try these tips instead!

1. Take aspirin or ibuprofen immediately.

This is the most important step! Pain meds will relieve the pain of the burn, but it's also saving your skin from even further sun damage, since inflammation continues to spread to the areas around the initially inflamed area. 

2. Take a cool bath. Anything that you can do to keep the area cool and moist is a good.

3. Creme de la Mer. Everyone's favorite face cream was actually invented by a chemist whose daughter suffered from severe burns. True story. While it is an amazing moisturizer—it's also the VERY best way to treat a burn of any kind. Jean burned herself on the stove last week and it completely healed her. Also a true story.

4. Aloe really works. You can use bottled aloe or aloe straight from an aloe plant. It helps keep the area cool and moist, which are both good things.

5. Use extra sunblock after your burn heals. When your skin does heal, that new layer is even more sensitive than before. Be sure to load up on extra sunblock with a very high SPF. It's probably best to make that a habit all of the time, but it's even more imperative after a sunburn.

Things to avoid: Don't use any soap on the burn—it'll only dry out your skin. Do not use any burn-relief products other than Aloe or Creme de la Mer. Anything you use at that point will only further irritate your burn. You can better your relationship with the sun by wearing sunblock all of the time and avoiding prolonged periods outdoors, but don't avoid the sun completely. Everything in moderation is OK and your skin does require the Vitamin D.

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