Dr. Erin Gilbert, a board-certified dermatologist in New York, has three key pieces of advice on what works and what doesn’t.
“If you get a sunburn, what are you going to do? … What’s the best thing to do?” Dr. Gilbert previously told Tech Insider. “The first thing is you wanna just get out of the sun, and stay out of the sun, as much as you can or the next week.”
This is because your body, whose natural defenses are already compromised, is trying to heal itself. Any extra UV exposure will harm more of your cells’ DNA (or genetic code), kill them off, and prolong the pain and damage. Burning also increases your risk for skin cancer, since a lot of DNA damage can up the rate of cancer-causing mutations.
Dr. Gilbert has a home remedy to try while you bide your time in the shade that she said actually works.
“You can put cold washcloths in your refrigerator, soaked in milk, and you can apply those to the areas where you have the sun burn, ” she said. “What that does is, the cooling effect will take some of the heat out of the sunburn, and the milk actually contains lactic acid.”