You thought you’d be fine at the beach all morning and afternoon, wading in the water and clutching a Corona. You didn’t feel your skin burning because of the constant, light breeze wafting over the cool ocean waves. You wore sunglasses and an SPF 15 that you only applied once, back at home, in a rush to get out of the door.

And so, enter sunburn. Burnt lips. Peeling shoulders. Red tan lines against a pale, white backside. Your first instinct is going to be to peel those dead strips of skin off that are covering your body. Stop! You can cause permanent damage to your skin, resulting in scarring. Follow our tips below for easy home remedies, and your skin will forgive you eventually.

Chill Out

Take a cold shower or bath to help your skin and sunburn cool down. Add some colloidal oatmeal to the bath to prevent scarring. You can find it in most pharmacies.When you dry off, do not rub your skin with the towel. This will speed up the peeling process and make things worse. Just gently pat your skin dry with your towel.

Don’t Itch

If you itch or scratch at your skin while it’s peeling, you could do permanent damage to it and cause scarring. Instead of giving into temptation, rub an ice cube over the itch and the feeling will become dull and eventually go away.

Stay Moisturized

After bathing, apply lotion to your skin. It helps to choose a brand or type meant for sunburn, designed to cool skin with aloe vera and other ingredients. Aloe reduces inflammation and slows the peeling process. You can also buy an aloe plant, break it open, and apply the serum directly to your skin.

Hydrate Yourself

The key is to heal your skin from the inside out. Water is more important now to your healthy skin than ever before. Make sure to drink at least eight to 10 glasses a day.

Resist The Urge

We know it can be fun in some kind of strange, creepy way to peel your dead skin off in those long, paper-thin flakes. Don’t. Not only will it cause your skin to look discolored and spotted, it can lead to an infection. You should not forcefully peel your skin off. If a piece is dangling, try snipping it with trimming scissors and then applying Neosporin to the area. You definitely don’t want to be peeling undead skin off by accident when it’s trying to heal.

Take Your Vitamins

Take antioxidant supplements vitamin C and vitamin E to reduce long-term damage from your sunburn. There are also topical vitamin E creams available in most drugstores.

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