Cheap Beauty Tip of the Week: Cheap Sunburn Relief

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What could possibly be more 4th of July than a three-day weekend full of hot dogs and fireworks? How about the infamous, nasty sunburn? Sometimes no matter how you shake it, there’s just no getting around excessive sun exposure on a long summer, holiday weekend. You may have been religious about reapplying sunscreen every two hours, but when you’re hanging out in the water all day, all bets are off. There’s really no such thing as a “waterproof” sunscreen. Not only do you have to deal with sunscreen that becomes less effective when the skin is emerged in water, but also the sun reflection off of the water onto your skin amplifies your sun exposure.

So you screwed up. You didn’t apply enough sunscreen. You didn’t reapply sunscreen as often as you should of. You even missed some hard-to-reach spots. Now the only thing you have reminding you of your fun holiday weekend in the sun besides the pictures your friends tagged you on Facebook is the nasty sunburn all over your skin from head-to-toe.  What’s a broke-ass to do?

Drink Water

You need to hydrate your body from the inside out. One thing we don’t think of when we are out sweating in the sun is that our bodies are being depleted of the much needed water that our bodies need to function. Drink some water. Is your sunburn giving you a headache? Drink a lot of water and pop an aspirin or ibuprofen. These over-the-counter medications not only help squash headaches, but they help reduce inflammation in the body and on the skin.

Take a Cold Shower

Taking cold or lukewarm showers are one of the fastest ways to soothe and cool down hot skin. Hot showers and sunburns don’t mix. Not only are they extremely painful and uncomfortable when paired together, but hot water also dries out your skin. Turn a cool or lukewarm shower into a moisturizing haven for your skin. Add some oatmeal, whole milk and honey into the mix and you have a natural recipe for instant skin hydration. Trust me, your burnt skin will thank you.


Follow up your hydrating shower with some rest. Before you lay down in a cool, quiet room, soak up a cotton washcloth with cold skim milk and place it over the burnt area for up to twenty minutes. When time is up, rinse the area and repeat the process on another burnt area on the body. The milk creates a protein film on the skin that helps to ease some of the major discomfort that comes with suffering from sunburn.


Skin peeling after major sunburn is the body’s natural way of healing. Let the peeling happen naturally. Don’t itch or peel the skin. The skin being revealed underneath the burnt skin is new and will still be sensitive from the sunburn that was on top of it. Don’t be shy with the moisturizer. Slather your skin with a non-greasy, light moisturizer or aloe vera gel. Make sure the aloe vera gel you use is a 100% aloe vera and doesn’t contain drying ingredients like alcohol.

Be sure to stay out of the sun until your skin is fully healed from the sunburn. Most importantly, before you go back outside for another fun day in the sun, do yourself a favor. Read my Cheap Beauty Tip of the Week: Wear Sunscreen article so your broke-ass doesn’t have to suffer from another painful sunburn.

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Kathleen Neves - Beauty Babe on a Budget

Kathleen Neves - Beauty Babe on a Budget

Licensed esthetician by day and product junkie and writer by night. I love reading, writing and researching beauty and makeup topics such as education, new makeup/skin care product launches, product reviews, beauty advice, product ingredients, special/local beauty events, as well as documenting my own professional experience as an esthetician. Living in San Francisco is expensive so I am always on the hunt for cost effective beauty bargains.