Conquer the Burn: The Best Natural After-Sun Products
There's a running joke in my family that I'm not allowed to spend more than a day in the sun due to an odd affinity for tanning easily. And I do mean easily. We're talking, 30-minutes-in-the-sun-and-I-look-like-I've-been-on-a-week-long-cruise type of tan. Maybe it's the Italian blood in me (thanks, mom), but a short period of time in the sun has me looking burnt to a crisp, and quite tanned shortly thereafter. Because I'm one of the very few people in my family who has light hair and blue eyes, any sunburn or tan I get during the warmer, sunnier months is immediately more pronounced. I've tried just about everything to soothe my skin after a day spent outdoors, but I've found it's the natural stuff that works best for me.
And, though Summer has come to a close and we're beginning to experience the crisp, cool weather that accompanies Fall (hot chocolate season, people), the UV rays can be quite strong, and for those of us coming home from tropical vacations - or readying ourselves to embark on one - being equipped with effective after-sun care is a must. I'm asked quite often what I do to soothe my sunburn and maintain my tan, mostly by friends and family who are interested in using natural, green beauty in an effort to keep their summer glow (and nourish a nasty sunburn, to boot). My answer to such questions is always simple: use the natural stuff. I've had the most luck with the products you'll find below and tend to carry them with me anytime I travel to a destination where I know the weather will be warm and I'll be getting lots of sun exposure.
While tanning and being outdoors is awesome, we should always take into account the fact that we need to protect our skin from UV damage and nourish it afterward. It's actually quite shocking how easily our skin can become "tarnished" from sun exposure - burns, dryness, peeling, aging, sun spots and other side-effects of UV damage are prevalent if spending all day in the sun. I've put together a list of my favorite after-sun products that are natural and safe to use on our skin.
This lotion is one of those products we can't seem to keep around our house long enough. Everyone uses it, and before we know it, we're hopping back online to order another jar or two. This particular lotion utilizes aloe vera to help soothe burns whilst coconut oil locks in moisture, making it a wonderful solution to burnt, dry and/or peeling skin. Vitamins A, D and E further nourish and heal dry, damaged skin. A little dab or two of this lotion goes a long way in calming irritated skin thanks to too much UV exposure. The jar may look small, but this lotion puts up a huge fight against painful sunburns and chapped, dry skin.
The Sun Worshiper Repair Serum is likely about to become your face's best friend - especially during the Summer months. Featuring extracts such as calendula, immortelle, rosehip and ho wood, this serum helps to heal, repair and rejuvenate skin which may have spent a little too long in the sun. It smells faintly of green tea with honey, an added bonus for those who dislike wearing very earthy-smelling facial oils. And yet, this serum actually gets the job done. I gently massage 2-3 pumps of this serum into my skin after cleansing at night - about 20 minutes before I hit the hay - and wake up with skin that looks soothed, calmed and toned. I've found it's also helped maintain my tan and has kept my skin looking plump and hydrated.
The trick to soothing a sunburn is simple: use a hydrosol. Applying lotion to a sunburn too soon after the burn can trap in heat, which means the appearance of your sunburnt skin could look far more severe than it actually is. Instead, applying a hydrosol to the face and body can soothe the burn and calm the skin, which means less redness and irritation. Wildcare's Lavender hydrosol helps to soothe sunburns thanks to lavender's balancing properties. I keep one of these in my beach bag so I can be prepared if I get a particularly nasty burn throughout the Summer.
Earth tu Face's skin stick was first recommended to me by a friend and since my first use of this balm, I literally have not looked back. I'm sure you could use this for all sorts of skin conditions, but my main use of the Skin Stick is for chapped skin, which works perfectly when my nose begins to peel after being out in the sun. The olive oil works to hydrate the skin while geranium calms irritation - a pretty stellar combo if you find sun exposure dries out your hands, lips, and face. Sometimes my mother will use it as a cuticle cream, but we both love it for its travel-friendly size and its quick-absorbing properties.
Hey, your hair needs some after-sun care, too. Made by Canadian brand The Innate Life, this rose elixir is made with 15 hair-nourishing oils that do everything from tame frizziness to protect the hair from the damages of heat. Applying a drop or two of this elixir to my scalp after a long day in the sun helped to soothe and calm the irritation my scalp experienced from sun exposure. Yes, even your scalp can become sunburnt. You can massage a few drops of this stuff into your scalp or throughout your entire head of hair to protect your strands and help them heal from those harsh UV rays.
Just like the rest of your body, your lips can become dry, chapped and burnt during prolonged sun exposure. But not everyone wants to sacrifice looking good, which can mean ditching our nourishing lip balms for fun, bright and bold lipsticks. Rather than drying out your lips, try using a lip tint with nourishing ingredients that will lend a beautiful hue whilst simultaneously hydrating and moisturizing your lips. I like Fig & Moss' Hibiscus Petal Lip Tint, which gives a very delicate pink colour to your lips but manages to keep them smooth and moisturized for most of the day. Housed in a small tube, you can carry the tint with you wherever you go and still hydrate your lips for a pretty pout that's perfectly hydrated.
They say the best way to maintain a tan is to moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. And that's exactly what I do every time I get a burn that I know will turn into a pretty groovy tan. I wait about 2-3 days before I start moisturizing, using a hydrosol first in order to calm the burn - but when day 3 rolls around, I slather this body butter on from Harlow Skin Co. Not only does it smell amazing (seriously) but it's also richly hydrating and keeps my skin smooth for days. It helps me maintain my tan and soothe irritated skin thanks to those UV rays. A little scoop is all you need to moisturize most of your body, as a little of this butter goes a long way. But boy, does it work. And it doesn't hurt that you smell incredible after applying it. I chuck this in my bag and tote it around with me pretty much everywhere.
Hot Tip for Conquering the Burn
The best way to really conquer a sunburn is to do your utmost to prevent one! Though after-sun products can help nourish the skin and soothe sunburns, it's important to always use a sunscreen that will help protect your skin from harsh UV exposure. Keep in mind that sun exposure can lead to more serious conditions, such as skin cancer, and you should take the appropriate measures to care for yourself during the warmer months when you're outside soaking up those rays.
- Cover Image from Urb Apothecary
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