How to deal with sunburn on holiday

How to deal with sunburn on holiday

Sunburn is a very common problem that is often underestimated. Luckily, awareness of the issues it can cause, e.g. skin cancer, ageing etc. has increased over time, but there are still plenty of people that wrongly believe they’re immune to sunburn. Even if you are aware and apply sunscreen, it’s easy to get caught out. Perhaps you went for a swim and it washed off, or you missed a spot.

If you have kids, ensuring they stay safe in the sun is crucial, as children that get sunburnt are more likely to experience long-term effects. It can be hard for them to understand why sun safety is so important, so they may even get upset when you’re trying to apply sunscreen – making it tricky to cover all of them. If you or your child got sunburnt, don’t worry, we’ve put together a list of things you can do to help calm the burn.

Cool down your skin

The first thing to do is to soothe your skin by cooling it down. A cool bath or shower will provide some immediate relief, but try not to stay in there for too long as it can dry out your skin. Another well-known remedy is aloe vera gel. You can use it on its own but if you can’t find it, using a moisturizer that includes aloe vera can also be soothing.

 cool down your skin

Stay out of the sun

Make sure to stay out of the sun as much as possible. If you’re on holiday and your accommodation has any indoor activities, it’s a great time to take advantage of them – especially if you have sunburnt children to entertain. If you do need to go outdoors, try to stay in the shade or use a high quality sun umbrella, avoid times where the sun rays are strongest, and cover up any sunburnt areas. Shawls or scarves can be particularly helpful to provide a bit of extra coverage. 

 boys under beach umbrella

Hydrate yourself

Exposure to the sun can cause you to become dehydrated as your body will sweat more, expelling moisture. The effects are worse when you’re sunburnt – your body will draw moisture to the surface of your skin, leaving you feeling tired and dizzy. It’s really important to keep drinking water to prevent feeling any worse. This means avoiding caffeinated drinks and alcohol too, as these will further dehydrate you.

hydrate yourself 

Take painkillers

To manage any pain, over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen can help. If your child is sunburnt and in pain, you can give them painkillers too, but make sure to give them the dose recommended on the packet.


Don’t forget to keep wearing sunscreen if you do get sunburnt – you’re at an increased risk so it’s even more important to protect your skin. Ideally it should be at least factor 50 for maximum protection, particularly if you’re using it on children. Using sunscreen with a lower SPF could be why you got sunburnt in the first place – it’s just not worth the risk. It’s always better to prioritize your long-term health over a holiday tan. Regardless, if you’re already sunburnt, our tips should help to ease the discomfort and minimize damage in the meantime.