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How to soothe your sunburn

Temperatures have been soaring in many parts of the UK over the weekend and look set to remain high until Wednesday so many of us may be suffering from sunburn.

But never fear, Dr George Moncrieff is here to tell us how to soothe sunburnt skin and stay protected in the sun. 

"Sunlight is so good for you as it lowers your blood pressure and you get lots of vitamins, but you need to make sure that you don’t burn," Dr George says. "One episode of severe sunburn increases your lifetime risk of skin cancer. The problem with the sun is that it’s a delayed burn - not like burning yourself with hot water which is instant".

If you're burnt, you need to avoid the sun completely. "If you’ve got bad sunburn - it’s a disaster. It’s a burn on the skin means that skin is badly damaged and compromised," Dr George says. "Stay out of the sun and start treating the burns.”

The Dos and Don'ts of treating sunburn


  • Cool your skin with a cool shower, bath or damp towel (take care not to let a baby or young child get too cold).

  • Apply aftersun cream or spray, like aloe vera.

  • Drink plenty of water to cool down and prevent dehydration

  • Take painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen for any pain

  • Cover sunburnt skin from direct sunlight until skin has fully healed


  • Do not use petroleum jelly on sunburnt skin

  • Do not put ice or ice packs on sunburnt skin

  • Do not pop any blisters

  • Do not scratch or try to remove peeling skin

  • Do not wear tight-fitting clothes over sunburnt skin.

When should you seek medical help for sunburn?

"Think of it as a burn like any other, and if your child has had a bad burn then think about whether you think they should see a doctor," Dr George says.

"Most things can be treated correctly at home, but if it’s a very large area on a child (more than two adult palms) and if it’s blistering, or in a sensitive area, then seek advice. Lots of people are embarrassed when their children are burnt, but it’s much better to seek help."

Dr George's skincare recommendations

For sun protection

  • Anthelios by La Roche-Posay - from £10

  • Altruist Sunscreen - from £4

After sun care

  • Aloe Vera Gel - £4, Boots

  • Cicaplast Soothing Balm 100ml - £14, La Roche-Posay

  • AproDerm Gel - from £5.59

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