Oh no! Did you stay out a bit too long in sun without protection? Has your skin gone a bit red? Is it painful, warm, dry, itchy, peeling? It’s time to act fast to try and reverse the damage the sun’s pesky UV rays have caused.
What really happens when you’re burned though?
Well, your skin is actually undergoing a toxic reaction due to the sun’s radiation – yikes! Some of your skin cells have been damaged, and need to be replaced by new, healthy cells. Pain, swelling, and redness are all signs of the chemical processes your skin is undergoing as a result of the damage.
Meanwhile, underneath that toasty uncomfortable burn, new skin cells are hard at work getting ready to take over. The peeling a few days after is the body’s way to get rid of the old cells and to let the new, healthy cells finally take charge.
How can you treat a sunburn?
Luckily, there are measures you can take to speed up your skin’s recovery process and to reduce the pain and discomfort you experience.
The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends taking the following five steps to treat a sunburn:
- Cool it down as fast as possible using cool water (but not ice – never ice!)
- Regularly moisturize skin while it is damp using petroleum-free lotions
- Reduce swelling by taking an anti-inflammatory drug such as Ibuprofen, Naproxen, or Aspirin, and by avoiding further exposure to the sun
- Stay hydrated: drink lots of water and sports drinks to replenish electrolytes
- See a doctor if the sunburn covers a large part of the body, is blistering, or if it is accompanied by a fever, chills, or confusion.
Best Product for Sunburn
Now that you know about sunburns and how to treat them, SimplySunSafe recommends moisturizing it often with a good-quality product. But how to choose among the many options out there?
Well, you’ve come to the right place!
I’ve already done thorough research into which product is best for you and your skin. I recommend Solar Recover Save Your Skin Moisturizer lotion as one of the best sunburn relief products on the market today. Continue reading to find a detailed buyer’s guide, comparison chart, and in-depth reviews of the top 5 lotions to find the best lotion for sunburn to suit your needs.
To make sure that your after-sunburn product is going to provide your skin with moisture and the ingredients and vitamins it really needs, here are some factors you should take into consideration when shopping:
Long ingredient lists with long, hard-to-pronounce chemicals should be looked at with caution. You want to make sure that what you’re applying to that painful burn is actually good for your skin, and is not going to cause even more damage!
Of course, there are also many ingredients that are very beneficial to skin. Here is a list of some ingredients to love, and some to avoid.
Ingredients to love:
- Glycerin: This is the second most commonly used ingredient in cosmetic products after water! It occurs naturally but can also be synthetically derived. Either way, it works as a humectant that cools and moisturizes skin
- Allantoin: This is a very common ingredient you may have never heard of! It’s a chemical compound that can be found in the herb, comfrey. It’s an antioxidant and cell regenerator, and can actually protect against UV damage to skin cells!
- Aloe Vera (aloe barbadensis): Aloe vera is Earth’s most effective natural remedy for sunburn. It is a natural soothing agent that promotes healing.
- Other natural soothers and moisturizers: cucumber, oats, calendula, shea butter, marshmallow root, jojoba oil, and coconut oil are all among the ranks of great sunburn soothers.
Ingredients to avoid:
- Petrolatum, petroleum jelly, and mineral oils: although these ingredients moisturize, they also contain carcinogens. They block pores as well from both releasing toxins, and from absorbing moisture.
- Parabens: Methylparaben, propylparaben, or any other ingredient ending in -paraben are commonly used as preservatives, but according to the Organic Authority, they can cause allergic reactions, neurotoxicity, fetal impairment, and hormonal disruption.
- Linalool, Citral, Citronellol, Limonene: These are some of the most often found ingredients used to add fragrance. They are natural and extracted from various essential oils, however, they can also produce allergic reactions and irritate sensitive skin, so buyers must be cautious if this is a problem.
Any good after-sun product should also moisturize well. Look for a product that is rich in moisturizing ingredients such as those listed above to ensure that your sun-dried skin gets what it really needs.
This is one of those make-it-or-break-it factors in a good product. Of course, everyone has a different opinion on what smells good and what doesn’t, so make sure to look for a product that has a smell you think you would enjoy. Even if a lotion moisturizes really well, if you don’t like how you smell with it on, it won’t be of much use to you!
Or, if you don’t like scents at all or are sensitive to smells, you’ll want to look for a product that is a bit subtler or even fragrance-free.
So, while shopping for the best sunburn lotion to match your needs, remember to consider these factors. However, to save you time and energy searching for the best product, you can find SimplySunSafe’s top 5 picks for sunburn treatment lotions below, along with a comparison table and more in-depth analysis.
Best Lotion for Sunburn Comparison
|Solar Recover Save Your Skin||Sun Bum Cool Down||Weleda Replenishing Lotion||Burt’s Bees After Sun Soother||Honey Girl After Sun Lotion|
|Application||Spray / Lotion||Lotion / Gel / Spray||Lotion||Lotion||Lotion|
|Scent||Fresh, natural, subtle lavender scent||Subtle tropical scent||Fresh fruity scent||Very subtle coconut and aloe smell||Subtle smell of Olive Oil|
|Ethical Responsibility and Key Features||All natural; no animal testing||Cruelty-free, oxybenzone free, reef-friendly, 100% vegan, recyclable bottles||Free from chemicals and synthetic preservatives; NATRUE certified natural||No animal testing; free from parabens, phthalates, petrolatum, and SLS||Cruelty-free; free from parabens, chemicals, hormones, and unnatural additives|
5 Best Lotions for Sunburn
After reading reviews, analyzing manufacturing details and ingredients, and taking part in skin care forums, SimplySunSafe has determined the best sunburn relief lotion on the market.
I have also selected four more excellent options and offered a comparison between the five products, so continue reading below to find out which is the best lotion after sunburn for you.
SimplySunSafe considers that this product by Solar Recover is the best option for sunburn care. Created by a couple who were unsatisfied by the current after-sunburn products on the market, this product was conscientiously created as a result of their quest to create a natural and effective product for sun-exposed skin.
It’s a lotion delivered in water through a fine and refreshing mist. Not only is it great for sunburns, but it serves as an everyday moisturizer as well. Due to its light formula and all-natural ingredients, it is also our pick for the best cream for sunburn on the face.
Additionally, it has a subtle scent that is crisp and fresh, with subtle lavender undertones, and has a short list of moisturizing all-natural ingredients:
- Distilled Water
- Natural Vitamin E
- Lavender Oil
- Sesame Oil
- Geranium Oil
- Roman Chamomile Oil
- Sandalwood Oil
- French Seaweed Absolute
For these reasons, I have chosen Solar Recover Save Your Skin as the best sunburn spray and the best moisturizer for sunburn. Additionally, with the lowest price out of all five options, there’s no question that this is the best you can get for your skin!
- Lotion delivered through a refreshing spray
- Provides quick healing
- All-natural, light formula
- No animal testing
- Good for everyday and facial use
- Some may not enjoy the lavender scent or the watery texture
Another excellent option for treating sunburns and sun-exposed skin is Florida-based company Sun Bum’s Cool Down after-sun product line. I love Sun Bum products because they come in a variety of application types to meet the preferences of each individual: lotion, gel, or spray.
Not only that, but Sun Bum uses a light and non-greasy formula that nourishes skin after sun exposure, reduces peeling, and keeps tans fresh.
The moisturizing ingredients found in each bottle are the following:
- Aloe vera
- Tea tree oil
- Jojoba Oil
- Cocoa Butter
- Cucumber Extract
- Vitamin E
It’s also hypoallergenic, vegan, gluten-free, and is good for use on children and adults alike. Since it has been dermatologically tested, SimplySunSafe recommends it as the best cream for sunburn on the face as well.
The only potential downside is that while most buyers love the tropical scent of this formula, those with sensitivities to odours may find it a bit too strong.
- Choice of lotion, spray, or gel
- Environmentally friendly: cruelty-free, oxybenzone-free, reef-friendly, vegan
- Gluten Free
- Hypoallergenic, non-greasy formula
- The smell may be a bit too strong for those with sensitivities
This lotion is not specifically designed for after-sun use, but due to its antioxidant-rich formula which helps to repair skin damage, SimplySunSafe happily recommends it as a great option for sunburns. The formula contains 97% organic ingredients, and is NATRUE-certified natural skincare. To find out more about NATRUE certifications, you can take a look at their website.
The most active natural ingredients you’ll find in this product are:
- Sea buckthorn berries, which are rich in essential fatty acids
- Mallow extract, which has soothing, anti-inflammatory effects
- Macadamia nut oil, which has anti-aging effects, and is soothing and moisturizing
- Shea butter, a moisturizing, anti-inflammatory, skin-smoothing ingredient
Buyers also love that Weleda can be used for many purposes. So, once that painful sunburn heals, you can keep on using it as a daily moisturizer to combat dry skin.
One thing some buyers may not enjoy is the scent – while the majority of users love the clean citrus smell, it may be too strong for some.
- NATRUE certified natural
- Non-greasy, quick-absorbing
- Great for use as a daily moisturizer
- Can leave a bit of a residue
- Citrus scent may be too strong for some
Just as the title states, this Burt’s Bees product is an excellent ‘soother’. The combination of aloe and coconut oil works wonderfully to soothe and hydrate at the same time. The formula is non-greasy and quickly-absorbed, and it helps reduce sun damage to promote soft, healthy, moisturized skin.
Additionally, it contains 99.6% natural ingredients, and is free from parabens, phthalates, petrolatum, and SLS (Sodium Laurel Sulfate).
It is a very gentle formula that has a light scent, but some complain of a slightly sticky residue and the added fragrances can irritate users who have very sensitive skin or delicate burns.
If either of these applies to you, remember to test out the product on a less delicate part of your skin before slathering it on.
- 99.6% Natural
- Non-greasy and quick-absorbing
- Hydrating and soothing
- Free from parabens, phthalates, petrolatum, and SLS
- Some buyers complain of a sticky residue
- Added fragrances can cause irritation in sensitive skin.
Our final top pick is another great option to consider for treating your sunburn. This Hawaii-based company knows sun, and with a formula that’s 100% natural and 70% organic, you can ensure you are giving your skin the best.
Not only is this a great all-purpose moisturizer, but I would recommend this as the best cream for sunburn if only it weren’t so expensive. However, if money is not an issue, this is a very high-quality and environmentally friendly product.
These are the ingredients:
- Organic extra virgin olive oil
- Purified water
- Organically grown aloe gel
- Beeswax and Organic Wilelaiki (Christmas Berry) Honey (naturally containing pollen, propolis, and royal jelly)
- Essential oils: Patchouli, Vanilla, Fir Balsam Needle, Lemongrass Oil, Clove, and Jasmine
Not only is the formula packed with moisture-rich ingredients for your skin, but it is also free from harmful ones. While the olive oil reduces the incidence of carcinoma from sun exposure and the aloe vera cools and heals, Honey Girl proudly boasts that their product is also free from parabens, chemicals, glycerin, fragrances, hormones, silicones, petroleum products, artificial preservatives, fillers, and unnatural additives.
- 100% Natural & 70% Organic
- Free from chemicals, parabens, fragrances, hormones, and artificial preservatives
- Non-GMO, cruelty-free, gluten-free
- Great for sensitive skin
- Small bottles
I created this guide for people looking for the best lotion for sunburn out there. I hope that you have learned a bit more about sunburns, how to treat them, and which product fits your needs best!
While all five listed products have a number of benefits and are all great for treating sunburns, SimplySunSafe recommends Solar Recover Save Your Skin lotion as the best cream for after sunburn on the market. Not only is it the most economical option listed, but it is all-natural, suitable for everyday use, quick healing, and while it is a lotion, it’s delivered as a refreshing spray.
If none of these products are for you though and you prefer a gel, you can read our article on the best after sun gel to find the most appropriate product for you.
Now, enjoy soothing that sunburn with one of these nice moisturizing lotions, remember to stay hydrated, and don’t forget to always protect yourself from harmful UV rays when going out in the sun!
I love hearing about new products so if you have anything you recommend or think I should add to the list, please comment below. I love to hear from you!