What to do if your sunburn starts to peel

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Common myths about sunscreen:, Debunked.Sunscreen is your best defenseagainst sun-damaged skin. .But there are plenty of misconceptionsabout the most effective way to use sunscreen. .Here are sixcommon mythsabout sunscreen.1. MYTH: You’re using enough sunscreen, Most people apply only 25-50% ofthe recommended amount of sunscreen.2. MYTH: Sunscreen can bewaterproof or sweat-proof, Although it may not wash off as easily, sunscreencan only be classified as water-resistant. .3. MYTH: Makeup with sunscreen is enough, The SPF in cosmetics may not be more than 30 or isbroad-spectrum, meaning it's not enough protection.4. MYTH: Sunblock andsunscreen are the same thing, Sunblock reflects the sun’s UV rayswhile sunscreen chemically filters them. .5. MYTH: Sunscreen never expires, Sunscreen bottles have a visible expiration datethat should be followed for maximum effectiveness.6. MYTH: You should wearsunscreen only in the summer, UVA and UVB rays are present wheneverthe sun is out, even in the winter.

The one thing you should not do is pull off the damaged skin

We’ve all been there. We didn’t think the sun was that hot. We didn’t think we needed sunscreen. And we ended up with a sunburn.

As painful as a sunburn can be, at least it will turn to a tan, right? Not necessarily. Chances are pretty good your skin is going to start peeling.

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According to the Mayo Clinic, your body may start to heal itself by peeling the top layer of damaged skin. This usually happens within a couple of days of being sunburned. Your first urge will be to pull at the peeling skin to speed up the process, but experts say that’s a bad idea.

“Do not pick peeling skin, because it can make you more prone to infection,” Shari Lipner, MD, PhD, a dermatology professor at Weill Cornell Medicine, told Insider. How? Pulling or scratching off peeling skin can expose unhealed skin and leave it vulnerable to bacteria.

Your skin will usually stop peeling on its own once the sunburn has healed. Until then, there are steps you can take to minimize damage.

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Cool down

It might not stop the peeling, but taking a cold shower or using a cool compress will help to take the sting out of a sunburn. Lipner cautions against exfoliating — using a loofah or scrubbing brush — while in the shower, however.

It’s important not to put ice directly on your sunburn, Insider cautions. Severe cold can cause more damage and can delay the healing process.


Look in a sun lover’s bathroom, and you’ll find a bottle of aloe vera gel.

Aloe vera “is rich in water and skin-soothing sugars that form a protective seal over the surface of the skin,” Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital, told Insider.

In addition to aloe, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends using soy-based moisturizers, which contain antioxidants that can help fight the free radicals caused by sun exposure.

Before buying a moisturizer, check to be sure it doesn’t contain petroleum or oil-based creams, which can trap heat and further irritate your sunburned skin.


Just like a cold shower, a cool soak can help reduce the pain of a sunburn. Throw some colloidal oatmeal in the mix, however, and you can also moisturize your injured skin and bring down any swelling.

Before you reach for that cylinder of Quaker oats, you should know colloidal oats aren’t the same thing. Insider says you can put some uncooked whole oats into a food processor or blender they become a fine powder. Then add about 1 cup to your bath and soak for 10-15 minutes.

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