from the beauty closet

Too Much Sun

5 years ago by

Too Much Sun

Last Friday I got a bad sunburn. I know, I know. I tell you all the time how important sunscreen is and I got burnt.

Let me just say that we were out shooting at the beach and I slipped on a rock and fell into the water and afterwards I didn’t reapply sunscreen on my legs. Okay… you’re right… no excuses.

It was a bad burn. The kind that feels like you’re wearing tights made of lava. And because this burn happened while I was wearing shorts, I was left with a very aggressive line across the front and back of my legs. As you know my skin color resembles Snow White, so a burn on me is really freaking obvious (I would show you a photo, but it’s just too embarrassing).

What’s a girl to do? I’ll tell you…

I got home, took a cold shower and slathered on some aloe (which I always keep in my refrigerator, making it the best thing in the entire world). I took an Advil (anti-inflammatory) and went to bed (on top of my sheets because I couldn’t bear to have anything touching my lava tights). The next morning, I applied some witch hazel (a natural anti-inflammatory and surprisingly soothing– it was either this or an oatmeal bath, and I rather keep my oatmeal for eating). I repeated this routine for three days.

Here I am, four days post-burn and things have definitely improved. I don’t feel like I’m wearing lava tights anymore! I just feel like my legs are inside of sausage casings (my skin is tight and dry, so I’m still applying aloe constantly). Now, I’ve got to start thinking about what to do with this very serious tan line…we will talk more about that later.

How do you deal with your sunburn?


Add yours
  • I have the same problem, my skin is too white and I always get sunburnt even if I wear sunscreen.
    What I do is apply aloe directly on the skin, if the sunburnt is awful I just leave the aloe in place for 15 minutes. I also apply milk with a cotton before bedtime. The aloe does most of the healing and the milk moisturizes the skinl

  • when the sun starts heating up i start wearing sun screen on my exposed skin. that way, i’m a bit more prepared when i get to the beach :P

  • I’ve the same problem, actually I wear 100+ sunscreen on my face, and 50+ all over the body…twilight passed away, but I always tell that I love that pale style!!
    XOX, Gap.

  • J’hydrate…
    Mais ça m’arrive très rarement les coups de soleil parce que je suis très mate de peau… J’ai le souvenir d’un coup de soleil sur le pied, c’est tout…

    Le monde des petites

  • CELINE July, 1 2014, 1:51 / Reply

    De la crème Biafine que l’on trouve en pharmacie. En couche épaisse pour nourrir la peau et surtout l’apaiser. C’est vraiment mon produit fétiche de l’été!

  • Polinechocolat July, 1 2014, 1:52 / Reply

    Aloe Aloe Aloe. It’s the only good thing I’ve found when I was literally burn in Australia. So… Good reflex !

  • karacocoa July, 1 2014, 2:00 / Reply

    Aloe. The plant, not some aloe infused something. Tamanu oil works too.

  • coconut oil! did you know you can use raspberry seed oil (for face) and it has natural sunscreen properties? pretty cool right :)

  • I love coconut oil, I use it for everything! I would also have another glass of wine… make the sunburn feel better!

  • Oo, I use aloe too. Is perfect or a white cooold yogurt. xa

  • Giulia G July, 1 2014, 2:53 / Reply


  • Biafine!!!

  • I need to try this!!

  • Madeleine July, 1 2014, 3:10 / Reply

    ALOE. Then lavender oil.

  • Sun is so tricky … Sunscreen forever


  • Dear Alex,

    Ugh, I am so sorry to hear about this. Not good. My one suggestion is that you wear some light, linen pants for a while to give your legs a little extra protection.

    I hope the burn is soon a distant memory.

  • Big problem! Maybe Aloe can help??

    New OUTFIT for SUMMER on lb-lc Fashion blog

  • Les aléas des premières expositions au soleil…

  • I wonder if when people say aloe they mean the real plant or some aloe tube / paste / cream? I wonder, as I doubt many people can have fresh aloe in their gardens…

  • Hi Char!

    I use a cream, but I also have a small aloe plant (I got mine at Ikea) that I use for any smaller burns!

  • I always keep an aloe plant in the house, since there is no substitute for pure, fresh aloe. It’s the best treatment for sunburns and other minor burns. Just break off a leaf and apply. Oh, and time is of the essence. The quicker you can slap aloe on the burn, the better.

  • Me too! Just got sun burnt last Sunday and I know what you mean by lava tights… I am constantly applying Uriage after sun spray on my legs and shoulders. I should try the Aloe too. Thanks for the idea :)

  • Georgia Shockley July, 1 2014, 5:08 / Reply

    Aloe directly from aloe plants that I grow in my home, a wonderful lotion called Soothing Balm by Solaro Armour (NOTHING LIKE IT-absolutely NOTHING!), and if it is over the top bad- then I apply towels soaked in tea (my mother’s home remedy to take the fire out, and it works!!), and again the Soothing Balm.

  • Hi Garance,

    As a Frenchie leaving in Dubai for 7 years, I actually found the best product ever for sunburn (cause yes I have been there!). This amazing cream is called MEBO – as far as I know it is not available in France.
    It looks and smells like peanut butter. And probably stains just as much – I had to throw away some bed linen!
    And to be honest Biafine is rather overrated compared to this MEBO!

    Love your blog, illustrations and pictures.

    Emi x

  • Sans grande originalité, j’utilise la Biafine comme premier réflexe !
    Par ailleurs, il m’arrive d’utiliser de l’huile d’amande douce pour réparer la peau.

  • Oh Alex, you poor thing! Sunburn is the worst!
    Coconut oil can be used on sunburn (it’s amazing for everything – look it up!), it also has a natural, but very low, SPF so if you use it as a moisturiser and forget sunscreen/it washes off hopefully you will have a bit of protection at least
    I find that the Piz Buin One Day Long sunscreen is the best – I started using it when I first started surfing in Fuerteventura (it is HOT and super sunny there) – I would put it on once, and even though I was in and out of the water all day, I didn’t burn!
    I also discovered (while in Fuerteventura) the most amazing aloe vera cream by Babaria – I got so badly burnt once (no sunscreen), slathered this on nice and thick and let it soak in, and the next day my sunburn had gone! I swear by this stuff, it is amazing, lovely texture and smell too. It’s the only moisturiser I have ever liked!

  • carole July, 1 2014, 6:00 / Reply

    i get tan ….u need a base tan….put different # on different body part and keep adjusting as you tan

  • Caitlin July, 1 2014, 6:25 / Reply

    I’ve had a couple of bad sunburns (Australian – live in the bush – it will happen) and as much as everyone always says no oil on sunburn I found that rosehip oil always ALWAYS saved me from peeling, or at least dramatically reduced the amount of peeling.

    Depending on how bad your burn in, those sorts of tan lines are with you for years.

  • I was a life guard and wake board instructor for years, so while I’m a devout sunscreen practitioner, accidents happen, and at least once a year I’d get a serious burn. Here was my go to:

    – cold shower (you got that part right!)
    – moon screen! (that was my mom’s name for the bright green super aloe lotion you can get at pharmacies. You know, you put on your sun screen in the day, and your moon screen at night…) Slather that on super thick, and as soon as you feel it starting to dry out do another layer. I pretty much always looked like I was covered in a layer of aloe mucus.
    – wear the same bikini as underwear for the next couple of days (not applicable)
    – drink tons and tons of water

    That last one is absolutely key! You need to get moisture back in your body, and the best way to do that is by working both from the outside and from the inside! I would carry around a 1 litre container of ice water and as soon as it was empty refill it, making sure I was sipping all day. Plus, it has the added benefit of cooling you off, with your burn radiating heat.

    One final thing, and I know you’ll hate this one, but try and avoid standing directly in front of fans or under air conditioners–the air will dry out the burn more.

  • Hi Alex,

    Applying aloe vera is a very good reflex. But you should mix it with some vegetal oil (argan, coco or macadamia is well indicated for that skin issue) in order to fix the moisturizing, and it’s gonna nourish your skin, which i starving for it in that critical situation. You just mix aloe with oil in the palm of your hand and you apply it like your any body cream. It’s Easy and SUPER EFFECTIVE !

    Courage !

  • Hi Pia! Thank you for the tip– I’m trying it tonight!

  • I went on vacation last week to Mexico and wasn’t as liberal with the sunscreen as I should’ve been. I ended up with painful burns on my shoulders and upper back- wearing a bra was HELL for the first few days!! I also used aloe right away but stayed away from thick lotions because I didn’t want to trap the heat inside. Now my skin is shedding like I’m a snake and it’s really creepy but kind of cool how my skin is displaying some really cool patterns! :) My face stopped peeling and I’ve been slathering moisturizer on as well….. FUN TIMES! Ha!

  • A compress of very cold vinegar helps loads especially if applied as soon as you know you’ve burned.

  • Natalie July, 1 2014, 10:02 / Reply

    Oh man, I just got a bad one this afternoon at the beach. I was pretty good with reapplication, but the problem was that I sat back down on my towel before the sunscreen had completely dried… and now my very white backside is clearly outlined in lobster red. Wearing underwear is torture, so I may or may not be planning to go commando tomorrow. I think wearing a long flowy skirt will help.

  • I come from New Zealand home to the quickest burn time in the world so i totally feel you. I find aloe is good for that instant cooling feeling. I normally use it in combo with Dr Hauschka’s After Sun lotion, which I find is better at moisturising and minimising peeling. Zinc supplements also boost your skins ability to repair itself.

  • I’ve never gotten burned that bad before but when I do get my sunburns, aloe aloe aloe! aloe all the way until I’m healed. :)

  • Whether you have acsunburn or oven burn, Bach Rescue Remedy Cream works brilliantly. My lily white son once played tennis all day in son without hat or screen and was toasty burnt. He applied RR diligently over two days and didn’t even peel.

  • BIAFINE !!!
    Et en plus, ça sent trop bon
    (l’odeur de l’été)

  • Oh non :O. Tu as dû avoir tellement mal… En fait l’Aloe n’hydrate pas ta peau à proprement parler, donc ce qui faut c’est mettre de la crème pour le corps bien riche dessus :). Ou alors en France (je ne sais pas si c’est le cas aux US) on a une crème “spéciale coup de soleil” : la Biafine ! Ce truc est une tuerie et ça sent hyper beau (l’odeur est un peu étrange mais c’est agréable :p). Courage :)

  • Je ne connais pas mieux que la Biafine :)

  • Louise July, 2 2014, 4:06 / Reply

    Ahah the only thing you need is BIAFINE ! One of the most efficient and cheapest product you can find in a french pharmacy to heal a sunburn. I think all the french families have at least one Biafine at home… and always one on holidays! You should definitely try it ;)

  • This is gonna sound minging but I promise it works and not in 3 days, more like in 24 hours. Smother yourself in sour cream. Just the normal stuff you can get from a supermarket. It will smell a bit and I would recommend changing sheets the next morning but it works. And no dry skin either. It’s probably too late now but if you ever get burned again, try it.

  • Cucumber!
    Slice it up and cover your burned skin. It takes the burn out and adds moisture to the skin.
    Hope you won’t have to use it anymore though ;-)

  • De l’huile d’églantier, ça marcha a tous les coups!

  • Charlotte July, 2 2014, 6:42 / Reply

    According to my dermatologist, if you don’t have the appropriate cream at hand, the best thing to apply on a sunburn is yogurt.

  • Grosse brûlure /coup de soleil : BIAFINE. BIAFINE. BIAFINE.
    Petit coup de soleil : rondelles de tomate. Et oui.

  • Honestly – apple cider vinegar with the mother and coconut oil – took the red and sting of my sunburn out overnight. First I used a cotton ball soaked in the apple cider vinegar and mopped that over the sunburned area and then after it dried I slathered virgin coconut oil all over. Worked brilliantly!

  • just did a really helpful post on sunburn remedies -” Sunburn be Gone !”
    Good luck Alex!

  • Phyllisa July, 2 2014, 10:46 / Reply

    For all types of burns, including scalded oatmeal straight from the microwave that raised blisters it was so thermo-nuclear, I slather (and I mean SLATHER) Burt’s Bees After Sun Cream. Above mentioned blisters, after a day of slathering, totally gone!

  • virginie July, 2 2014, 1:15 / Reply

    Biafine !!!

  • Margaret July, 2 2014, 2:45 / Reply

    Bepantene!!!!!and Biafine

    but i prefer bepantene.much better than aloe!and i put some good collegen shits

  • I am very white as well! Irish skin… I am curious to try the cashmere. I’ll say though for running or when you actually get in the water there isn’t anything better than sport sunblock like Neutrogena. And those small bottles are good for the face as they run out so quickly.

    Putting the aloe in the refrigerator first helps too.

  • Hi Alex, maybe you made everything worse with your after-burn-regime.

    Yes, Aloe is good but you should look out for the gel! After serious burn never ever put something oily/fatty aka creams on. Act the same like when burning your skin with fire. Then you would also never put lipides on it, would you?

    For the witch hazel idea… maybe their was alcohol in it? They often mix it with alcohol as to extract the essence which is counterproductive in my opinion. ->>> Alcohol on skin = Dryness alert!!!

    Next time just put low fat cooled organic yoghurt on. The lactic acid and coolness will help soothing. Wash it off before it gets hard. Don’t shower! Just take a bath (lukewarm), add vinegar. This will balance pH and your skin will feel moisturized enough.

  • I got my worst sunburn in my entire life while I was in Mallorca. I got home with skin like red tomato and it lasted 2 weeks to repair it! Now, after approximately 16 days I am finally ok, without red skin and never ending peeling! Never ever…
    Inspiration Point by Paula Fleur

  • Sabrina July, 2 2014, 6:56 / Reply

    Rien trouvé de mieux que la Biafine !

  • Sunburns are the worst! I’ve found, however, that Clarins after sun is a wonderfully soothing gel, in fact I sometimes use it as a moisturizer on its own.

  • Here in Romania we use yogurt to deal with sunburns (never tried, but apparently it’s good…at least it’s cold) and Ibuprofen. Of course, aloe sprays or gels are great. And drink a lot of water to rehydrate.

  • Catherine July, 3 2014, 9:37 / Reply

    I say Biafine.
    In case you don’t have any, then yoghurt.

    And to avoid sunburn, I use Daylong products ( I take the full protection and apply once or twice per day and never get a sunburn. I have a very fair skin. If I don’t protect, I burn in 15 minutes even in the spring.

  • sorry but sunscreen is very toxic. Check out Environmental Working Group on the list of carcinogens …
    It’s a marketing ploy…a wee bit of time in the sun is great…build up to it…I don’t burn anymore and I am fair…not crazy fair but fair. IF you have to use one EWG recommends BADGER

  • Aloe is the best thing ever, but manuka honey also works great! Fairly expensive and annoying because it’s so sticky, so I only really use it on my face or small spots elsewhere on my body, but it will hydrate your skin really well which is so necessary when you have a sunburn. In the first couple of days I also recommend yoghurt – the fattier the better! anddd drink lots of water all the time!
    And then when the heat is out of your skin and your skin starts peeling, apply lots of olive oil ;)

  • My great-aunt from Florida taught me the simplest home remedy–cover the burned area in washcloths soaked in vinegar, and sleep like that if you can. It takes that burning/stingy sensation away so at least you don’t feel miserable while you’re waiting for the red to go away!

  • Girl, that is the worst and I completely feel you! I write a small beauty blog, and I too constantly tell people to wear sunscreen. Alas, I fell asleep on the beach a couple weeks ago and woke up with lava tights on my back.
    I am better now, but it just takes time, exfoliation, and a lot of aloe! Good Luck!!

  • I really don’t think putting cream or aloe on sunburnt skin is very helpful in soothing or healing. I feel like it sits on or clogs up the skin and does not help you recover from sunburn.
    The absolutely best method I’ve found is to take a pot of greek yogurt from the fridge (colder the better) and cover your skin in it – before the burn even comes out, but when the tingling is telling you that you slipped up. The cold-ness helps to stop the burn developing (like pasta, we carry on cooking even when we’ve come out of the heat). When it has dried off some, rinse off with tepid water (no soap) and pat your skin dry. Then cover yourself in olive oil – as much as possible – and sleep it off – with a sheet you don’t mind streaking with oil – having drunk plenty of water. The oil is an amazing moisturizer and really nourishes the skin, without making that uncomfortable cake-y feeling that aloe has. Ok, you smell like a salad, but it’s a natural and effective way of caring for your skin!

  • clemence July, 6 2014, 7:36 / Reply

    Am i the only one to think that taking an advil or ibuprofen for a sun burn is weird?

    Biafine the best i know but i m sure there is better outside the french boarders

  • I got a bad sunline after burning my legs one year ago. Even though I travelled throug Asia for two month earlier this year the tan line is still visible :( – would be great to get some tips how to deal with this in an extra post!

  • Douse towels with 1 part regular white vinegar (I’ve used cider vinegar and it works too) and 3 parts water lay them over your burns. Leave them on for as long as you can and even reapply as the towels start to heat up.

    It takes all the heat and pain out and while you’ll still be red it will not hurt and heals a lot faster.


  • Chelsea July, 8 2014, 7:23 / Reply

    I am a ginger, with ULTRA fair skin. I got the worst sunburn on my first day of vacation in Hawaii, and was prepared for the entire trip to be ruined, wearing my entire lava bodysuit (super chic!). I wandered into a surf shop and the man behind the counter tipped me off to my greatest beauty find to date: Mountain Ocean’s Skin Trip Coconut Moisturizer. I don’t know what it is about this lotion, but I applied it liberally (around 5-6 times a day) and within 2 days, my skin was back to normal. No tight feeling, no peeling, NOTHING! I swear this lotion is magic and I still wear it daily. It’s super light so I even throw a bit on my face after spending a day in the sun.

    Good luck with your lava body! XOXO

  • After the sunburn I wait before putting some cream (I want to avoid the “oven” effect), I take a really cold fabric to refresh the skin. Then I switch for almost a week 100% Aloe Vera gel and a tremendous amount of Biafine. Soothe down and nourish.

    Take care!

  • Biafine! It’s magic.

  • There’s evidence that vitamin C and E taken orally, and used topically, reduce sunburn (I could only find a study for taking it orally, but it’s here: There’s a summary of the topical study here:

    Though it’s preferable to be taking/using the stuff *before* the sunburn happens, there’s some benefit to using it afterwards. So I always use a moisturiser with aloe, vit C and vit E on my sunburn. I’m super-fair, get at least one bad burn per year, and I feel sure that the C and E combo helps reduce the burn. I recently found a super cheap moisturiser that has all the magic ingredients in it, and smells great to boot: Ocean Potion After Sun Lotion. Love it.

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