How To Get Rid Of Your Post-Carnival Sunburn

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With the frenzy, fun, and finery of Carnival behind us, we can now turn our attention to the next most pressing issue – our immense sunburn. Though the temporary showers might have lessened the usually scorching February sun, we’re sure you’ve come out of Carnival with some form of sun damage.

The spectrum ranges from mild redness and itchiness to full blown blisters, but the healing process is the same – limited sun exposure, tons of moisturizer, a dab or two of a topical anti-inflammatory and anti-septic cream, and, ultimately, the at once sickening and oddly satisfying feeling of your skin peeling to reveal a spanking new layer.

To save you the inevitable (and frantic) Google search, we’ve consolidated the most popular homeopathic and medicinal treatments to remedy your post-Carnival sunburn.

sunburn, carnival


The signs of mild sunburn are simple – you turn red, your skin gets inflamed and starts to swell, it hurts or itches all over. According to Web MD, you might even feel like you have the flu – feverish, with chills, nausea, headache, and weakness. In its end stages – around a week later – your skin will start peeling and itching as your body tries to rid itself of sun-damaged cells.

Symptoms will show up as soon as 3-6 hours post-exposure, when your skin turns painful, red and hot. The first step, usually, is to remove yourself from the sun. But since we’re sure you were a bit busy enjoying Carnival to notice the first signs of sunburn, the next effective alternative to try to cool down the burnt areas as soon as possible by taking a cool shower, and applying a cold compress or a wrapped ice pack to the areas.

The American Association of Dermatologists also recommends gently patting yourself dry, leaving a little water on your skin, and then applying a layer of moisturizer to help trap the water in your skin and ease the peeling process later on.

It’s also a good idea to spray on a local anesthetic such as Solacaine or topical anesthetic creams containing lignocaine or benzocaine to take the sting out of the burn, though some might cause an allergic reaction and irritate your skin. Your best bet is to skin to creams with a natural cooling agent like aloe vera gel, menthol, camphor, or soy. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen or naproxen, can also relieve sunburn swelling and pain.

Over the next few days, drink extra water to mitigate the peeling process and the overall drying effects of a sunburn. If you’ve suffered a more severe sunburn, your skin will blister in certain areas. If that does happen, allow the blisters to heal. DO NOT pop them, as they’re there to help skin heal and protect you from infection. Treat them with natural remedies like cold cucumbers, honey, chamomile, aloe vera, or a diluted vinegar solution.

Take extra care to protect sunburned skin while it heals. Wear sunscreen underneath your clothes, and try to cover up as much of the affected areas as possible with tightly-woven fabrics to keep out any UV rays. When your skin starts to peel – and it will – lather on a thick layer of moisturizer frequently until new skin starts to form. Ontario-based dermatologist Dr. Jillian Macdonald also recommends applying a topical retinoid cream to regulate skin cell turnover and help get rid of damaged cells towards the end stages of the sunburn (6-7 days post exposure)



  • Witch hazel: Dr. Fredric Haberman, a leading dermatologist in New Jersey, recommends using cold compresses dipped in a solution of witch hazel. This natural astringent has been shown to have long-lasting anti-inflammatory relief. Apply liberally and often to all affected areas for temporary relief.

  • Cornstarch or Baking Soda: A paste made out of either kitchen staple is effective in helping soothe itchy, red skin. Slather on the affected areas and let the solution dry and flake off naturally.

  • Oatmeal: Your go-to healthy breakfast grain also doubles as an hydrating and soothing agent.  Wrap dry oatmeal in cheesecloth or gauze. Run cool water through it and wipe down the affected area until the itching stops.

  • Aloe Vera Gel: This odd-looking, prickly plant has incredible moisturizing and healing properties for burns, cuts, and of course, sunburn. Simply break off a portion of the leaf, and apply the gel directly to inflamed areas.

  • Vinegar or Apple Cider Vinegar: Used as an anti-septic substitute to soap, whose drying properties can often aggravate sunburnt skin, a mild solution of vinegar and water acts as a great astringent and soothes sunburn pain. Apply as a cold compress, or infuse a tub of water with 1 cup of white or apple cider vinegar, and wash all over.

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