person pouring plastic tube bottle

Spent too long in the sun? I feel you. Skin red and sore? Peeling skin? Blisters? Unfortunately, it takes seconds to burn but days (or weeks!) to recover…

As soon as you are sunburnt you absolutely have to stay out of the sun, take a cool shower (no ice!) and cover up with thick fabric to prevent further, deeper, damage to your skin!

This is a super short article explaining why you need just two items to help you heal your sunburn. They don’t cost the Earth and no this post isn’t sponsored! I recommend these to everyone at every age – that is why they are essential 🙂


  1. Antiseptic Cream
  2. Moisturiser


Antiseptic cream prevents infection of your skin. When you have a sunburn you need to take all measures to prevent infection. That’s because your normal, healthy, unbothered skin is damaged and can’t do its job properly. That’s the very important job of preventing bad bacteria, viruses and fungus from latching on and penetrating straight through to your blood, bone, muscle tissue and organs!

You want to generously put on plenty of antiseptic cream. Take a massive tube of antiseptic cream wherever you go! Cream is nice and cooling to the skin too, especially after a sunburn when your skin feels hot and irritated. Put it on as often as you can, don’t let your skin feel sore. Most antiseptic creams are quite weak so applying often is necessary – it’s like you’re creating a new temporary barrier to keep those nasty germs off you! Also you are likely to burn large areas of skin when you least expect it so a small tube just won’t cut it!

Savlon is my antiseptic of choice because it’s alcohol free so going to cause the least irritation to the skin. If you get an antiseptic ointment that’s even better than cream because it’s thicker so reduces evaporation of water from the skin – this aids recovery of the skin by maintaining the moisture your skin desperately needs to hold on to. Antiseptic gels are super soothing too – they’re cooling like a cream but not greasy like an ointment. Especially if you pop a blister, you will definitely need antiseptic cream to treat it and help that wound heal 🙂


Let’s look at it this way: dehydrated skin feels itchy, uncomfortable and sometimes painful to stretch. Sound familiar? Skin with sunburn is exactly that – dehydrated. That’s also why you get blisters coming up – an over-reaction to extreme heat causing moisture to erupt from underneath your skin desperately to try and cool it down! Your skin loves being moisturized – and after sunburn is no different. Lay it on generously and as thickly as possible. Rub it in gently – your skin is sore but the rubbing helps the moisturizer to be absorbed.

The great thing about using moisturizing creams and antiseptic creams are that they are both water-based. So that means you should layer them both on top of each other and really rub them in to encourage absorption. No they will not dilute each other – you will be applying them both frequently to renew your skin barrier. You want you new shiny skin cells to be super healthy – so keep at it, even if the skin is peeling away all those dead cells!

Aveeno cream is my moisturizer of choice because it is a hydro-colloidal oat-based formula. That is basically a fancy way of saying it retains loads of moisture on the skin at a deeper level than just the surface. You know how oats swell up when you put them in water or milk to make porridge? Imagine that on your skin – lots of tiny oats just swelling up, sticking together and forming a nice new, moist barrier to prevent moisture loss from your damaged skin that is desperately trying to heal itself. You can thank me later 😉

treat skin sunburn

Hopefully you won’t have to experience sunburn on your trip, but at least you will have two essential items to hand if you do 🙂

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I am a UK GPhC registered Pharmacist in London