As a pale white boy growing up in Florida, you learn how to deal with sunburns. Most people will say to take cool showers to relieve the heat, but that only temporarily alleviates symptoms. The problem is that the sun has evaporated the moisture from the skin. The answer to relieve the stinging and pain is to re-moisturize the skin. I've done this countless times and it always works.
As soon as possible, take a quick, cool shower to wash chlorine, salt water, sand, etc. from the skin.
- Quickly is important because you don't want to leave harsh soaps on your skin to dry it out more.
- Coolness will keep pores closed so soaps do not get into already dried out pores. DO NOT SCRUB!
Now's the hard part. Warm water will open the pores and re-hydrate the skin. Fill the tub with warm water and get in ... slowly. Bear the sting, it will go away. When it does, warm the water up as much as you can tolerate again. Do this a few times. Then just soak. When your fingers are wrinkled, you're hydrated!
As soon as you get out, dry off gently then slather aloe vera on the sun burnt areas to help heal. Then use a lanolin moisturizer on it to help retain the moisture.
Tip: Dab your skin dry with a soft towel instead of rubbing.
YOUR SKIN NEEDS TIME TO HEAL! After you go through this ritual, you might forget you're burnt. You'll still be red and somewhat sensitive, but you should have alleviated the constant stinging and pain. The problem is you forget that you're burnt, and scratch an itch, or go back into the sun, etc. Remember to protect your skin until the redness is gone!
If the stinging comes back, repeat the process and soak longer in the warm water. You should only have to do this once or twice during the course of a normal sunburn. For more sever burns, it may become a daily ritual.
When I tell people about this, they usually think I'm insane taking a warm bath with a sunburn. I promise it works. It relieves the stinging and pain, it shortens the sunburn, and it usually prevents blistering and reduces pealing.