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9 Products to Buy Before Your Next Sunburn

Skin cream and sprays, next to some sunglasses and sea shells on a white counter.
279photo Studio/Shutterstock

The best time to buy a product designed to help you through the agony of a nasty sunburn is well before you have that sunburn. Stock up on these essentials so you can skip the trip to the store when you need them most.

Spending the day out in the sun during a beautiful summer day is great—until you get home and realize you have the beginnings of a raging sunburn. Aside from making you resemble a lobster, a bad sunburn can be incredibly painful, and in serious cases, can even lead to a fever.

It’s safe to say that no one wants that. If you do end up forgetting to reapply your sunscreen, it’s better to be prepared: You probably don’t want to run out to the store when you can barely manage to get out of bed. There are a bunch of helpful products to buy before your next sunburn, so that you can start the healing process ASAP. Here are a few that will soothe your skin and heal those burns.

Burt’s Bees Aloe and Coconut Oil After Sun Soother

You don’t need to have a sunburn in order to enjoy Burt’s Bees Aloe and Coconut Oil After Sun Soother. This cooling to lotion is great to use even if you’ve just gotten a lot of sun and are feeling a bit warm—but it’s also great to relieve a sunburn a bit.

This is a super-hydrating lotion that absorbs quickly into skin and never feels greasy or heavy. Made with coconut oil and aloe vera, it gives your skin some much needed moisture after a day in the heat. It’s also made with Linden extract, a natural ingredient packed with antioxidants that helps rejuvenate skin.

Sun Bum Cool Down Aloe Vera Gel

A bottle of Sun Bum "Cool Down" aloe vera gel, held up in front of beautiful blue ocean water.
Sun Bum

Aloe vera is incredibly soothing for a sunburn, and the best way to get it is to cut open an aloe plant leaf and use that. But when that’s not available, try Sun Bum Cool Down Aloe Vera Gel. It’s packed with hydrating and cooling ingredients that will immediately relieve that burning feeling and heal your skin at the same time.

Ingredients like vitamin E, cucumber extract, and tea tree oil will reduce inflammation and soothe the skin, while jojoba oil acts as a moisturizer. This doesn’t feel greasy or sticky, either. Pro tip: Keep it in the fridge to make it feel even better.

Aveeno Maximum Strength Hydrocortisone Anti-Itch Cream

A bad sunburn can leave you feeling super itchy, and the last thing you want to do with sensitive burned skin is scratch it. This Aveeno Maximum Strength Hydrocortisone Anti-Itch Cream is probably the best over-the-counter option you can find that will make your skin feel much better almost immediately.

Made with aloe, vitamin E, and a Triple Oat Complex, this is meant to relieve dry itchy skin with effects that really last. Aveeno generally works well with really sensitive skin, so this is perfect to use if your skin already demands a little more love even when it’s not burnt.

Korres Greek Yogurt Calming and Cooling Gel

It might sound weird, but a thick coat of Greek yogurt can be a great way to calm and soothe a sunburn. Instead of just using Greek yogurt, though, try Korres Greek Yogurt Calming and Cooling Gel. It has the same effect but will definitely feel better on your skin.

This is an ultra-cooling gel meant to hydrate and soothe your skin right away. It feels lightweight and moisturizing, and it instantly gets rid of that hot-all-over feeling.

Sun Bum Cool Down Aloe Vera Spray

One of my personal favorite after-sun products is Sun Bum’s Cool Down Aloe Spray. It’s really similar to their aloe gel, but it’s a spray, which makes it more portable and much more easy to use. I toss this in my beach bag and spray my body down before I leave the beach to immediately calm any redness or heat, and it works like a charm.

Made with aloe, cucumber extract, vitamin E, and tea tree oil, this will reduce inflammation and cool down a burn. It’s also made with cocoa butter for a nicely hydrating effect. I love the way it smells and how it never feels sticky.

Avéne Thermal Spring Water

Someone spraying Avene mineral water on their face to sooth skin irritaiton.

The thing about a sunburn is that that painful burning feeling can last days at a time—and when you’re out and about or at work, you can’t always slather yourself in gel or cream and wait for it to work. For quick relief when you feel heat coming off your skin, use Avéne Thermal Spring Water.

This is a spray, so it’s super easy to spritz your skin no matter where you are or what you’re doing. It will feel instantly cooling, and because it’s just spring water, it doesn’t leave behind any weird residue. It leaves your skin feeling softer and more hydrated, and it’s safe to use on your face as well.

Seven Minerals Organic Aloe Vera Gel

If you’re really looking for a product made with pure aloe vera, try Seven Minerals Organic Aloe Vera Gel. It’s made with high-quality freshly cut aloe leaves (many products use aloe powder, which isn’t as potent), so it feels really natural and cooling.

Pure aloe can feel very sticky, but this gel is made with seaweed extract to keep it from feeling that way and to also help it absorb quickly into your skin. It’s healing and hydrating and feels wonderful on a burn, and you can rest easy knowing the ingredients are natural.

Alocane Severe Sunburn Gel

When you have a really bad sunburn, you might need to reach for something that packs more of a punch like Alocane Severe Sunburn Gel. What makes this gel different from others is that it’s made with 4% Lidocaine, which is the maximum amount of Lidocaine allowed in the United States in over-the-counter products. Lidocaine helps get rid of quickly while soothing the skin and offering itching relief.

It’s also made with aloe gel and vitamin E to really speed up the healing process and to leave skin feeling hydrated and soft. While this can treat first-degree burns, but it’s also great for rashes, bug bites, shingles, and more. It’s great to have on hand!

Skinceuticals Phyto Corrective Gel

A sunburn on your face is less than ideal. If you want to soothe it and also try and undo some of the damage that’s been done, you might want to splurge on Skinceuticals Phyto Corrective Gel. Made with hyaluronic acid, cucumber, thyme, and other botanical ingredients, it’s super moisturizing and is especially great for sensitive skin.

It feels very soothing, and it may also help with discoloration to leave your skin looking fresh. It will help reduce redness and hydrate when you need it the most.

Jessica Booth Jessica Booth
Jessica Booth is a freelance writer for LifeSavvy. She has been working in the editorial world as a freelance writer for over two years and previously worked as an editor for over eight years.  Jessica writes about travel, beauty, wellness, health, food, home decor, and parenting, and has reviewed and tested out products for all of those verticals over the course of her career. Read Full Bio »
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