Sunburn Cures For Your Sunburned Ass

Memorial Day weekend is the official unofficial start of the lesbian beach season. Girls with alternative lifestyle haircuts in alternative lifestyle swimwear line the shores of all the best beaches. I just got my hot ass home from Provincetown girls weekend. No — my actual hot ass. My burning hot hot ass that was scorched by the hot hot sun because my friend missed a huge spot while spraying me with sunscreen. So yes, official unofficial lesbian beach weekend is followed by official unofficial lesbian sunburn week. Here are some quick and easy cures to have you cooled off and back on your swagger in no time.


Get Cold

Do you have any idea how amazing a cool wash cloth feels against a sunburn? Like heaven. Like heaven in a wash cloth. And yes, this is as straightforward as it sounds; you just wet a wash cloth. If your sunburn is odd or localized (like on one shoulder) you might find that ice will help. If your sunburn is all over, apparently ice baths also just fix every sunburn. I’ve never tried one myself because I’m a giant wuss about being cold, but if you can stand it, fill a bathtub with cold water and dump ice inside. Unfortunately, you’ll have to add more ice as you lie in the tub because the massive heat radiating from your reddened skin will actually warm up the water. I’m going to go ahead and say that a cool bath will probably do you just as well (and, with a glass of white wine, help you to move on from some of those Dyke Weekend mistakes).

Put Some Food On Yourself

There are a suspiciously large number of foods that magically cure sunburns that are readily available in the kitchen of your beach rental. Baking soda can be put in your bath or mixed with water to make a paste and applied directly to the burn. Milk is another great option for curing sunburns. My childhood best friend’s mom used to always tell me it was because the milk “draws out the heat.” This sounds like some non-science to me, but milk sure does the body good. Just soak some gauze in a glass or room temperature milk and then apply as a compress to the burned skin. Compress for approximately 30 minutes. And yes. Soymilk works too. By far the best food cure for a sunburn, in my experience, is vinegar. You can just put half white vinegar half water in a spray bottle. Then spray the affected area with vinegar. This is particularly effective if you burned your entire back and want to just lie on your stomach on the ground for hours anyways. While you’re lying down on the ground, go ahead and spread some pulverized raw potato pulp on your back. Ensure that you shower after trying any food based remedies so that you’re not gross forever, and avoid contact with your private bits as to avoid getting a totally awful infection.

Hit the Drug Store

Just go ahead and stop a that the drug store before you even get to the beach in the first place. You definitely want to have 100% aloe vera on hand or better yet, an entire aloe plant (it’s going to be a long beach season). 1% hydrocortisone cream can also keep down burn swelling. A good moisturizer will help keep your skin from peeling, but make sure to buy one free of alcohol or perfumes. Lotion with alcohol in it will actually cause your sunburn to dry out even more thereby resulting in your crying for days. Additionally, go ahead and pick up an over the counter anti-inflammatory pain reliever such as ibuprofen, naproxen or aspirin. Taking a couple of these pain killers will take the edge off your burn, but also lower any resulting post-burn fever.

Whine About It

The most important cure for a sunburn, like most things, is to whine about it. How can you maximize complaining in this situation? If at all possible, put on aloe in public and make sure to groan emphatically while applying. Grimace every time you stand up or shift positions. If anyone bumps into you, recoil in horror and remind them that they just touched your sunburn. Be sure to text message your mom to receive the maximum sympathy. If your sunburn isn’t actually that bad, recall previous worse sunburns and compare accordingly. Finally, don’t forget to blame your awful terrible friend who completely missed spraying half your ass with sunscreen as if she didn’t know you had two sides to your ass.

Good luck with your lesbian beach weekends and your lesbian sunburns this season and next time do better protecting yourself.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


Lizz is a consumer, lover and writer of all things pop culture and the Fashion/Style Editor at She is also full time medical student at Brown University in Providence, RI. You can find her on the twitter, the tumblr or even on the instagram.

Lizz has written 261 articles for us.


  1. I don’t get sunburned (Yay, for melanin!), but I still need to protect myself (UV rays and all, etc), so I recommend and use the following (also dermatologist recommended):

    1. Skinceuticals SPF 50 ( – Works very well, a little pricey, but it lasts long and definitely worth it, for everyday use.

    2. Colorscience Pro Sunforgettable Mineral Powder Brush SPF 50 ( – The wonderful thing about this item is that it works like a foundation brush, you just powder it on your face and or body (no liquid) and bam! you’re done. It comes in 3 different colors, which is based on your skin color. Works especially well when you are getting in and out of water and need to re-apply constantly.

    3. Ceravie Moisturizing Lotion ( – I use this for everything, lotion, all over body, etc.

    4. Dr. Dans CortiBalm lip balm, for chapped lips ( – If you suffer from chapped lips frequently or once in a blue moon, this lip balm is a godsend, literally, it has 1% hydrocortisone, so it won’t burn your lips and it goes on smooth.

    Heh, I sound like an informercial, but anyways that’s my regime and advice for fellow readers who want to protect themselves prior to playing BDSM with the sun… ;)

  2. This is perfect for my Irish ass that happens to be living in the desert this summer. I agree there are a “suspicious amount of foods” that help a sunburn. My grandma used to put cream corn and put it on sunburns. I never really though that this helped, it was just a waste of deliciousness.

    • i read somewhere today that you should use avocado. talk about a waste of deliciousness!!

  3. The last time I got sunburnt, it was only 50 degrees out at Fort Bragg over Labor Day weekend. I was so burnt I blistered all over my legs. Aloe vera gel barely kept me alive for the next two weeks. I have since sworn off sunlight.

  4. Ok. So last summer I got the worst, worst sunburn of my entire life and it looked much like the one in the picture above- except that the patches that weren’t peeling were oozing and bleeding and I pretty much looked like hell. Anyhow, went to work with the sunburn and it was on that day that I had to put an autistic teenager into a therapeutic hold (where you basically hug them to keep them from hurting themselves or others) and this kid somehow got out of the hold and smacked me on the shoulder. ALL of the skin on my shoulder that would’ve peeled slid (yes, slid) off my shoulder. And I was left with a completely skin-free shoulder until it healed. Nothing could make that shit feel better haha. So gross.

  5. yogurt is my magic worker.
    Though once on a holiday in China my parents got horribly sunburnt – they looked like two red crabs, really. And it healed in no time after we got back to Europe. So, I guess climate change helps too?

  6. Greek yogurt. Get yourself inside, slather the stuff on and stand in a cold room for about 15minutes. Wash off with cold water and enjoy being cured. IT’S MAGIC!

  7. I’m surprised that no one metioned Aloe Vera Plant in this.
    Get yourself a nice Aloe Vera plant, pick off one of the leaves, split it, and rub the gel all over yourself. Repeat until you feel better or until youre outta plant.
    I’ve heard hitting yourself with the aloe gel and then some thick greek yogurt is the truth.
    Also, keep some vitamin E oil on you in the aftermath to avoid those wrinkles.

    Tan well kids.

  8. As a former cross country girl, I must warn you to only stay in ice baths for 8 to 10 minutes- otherwise you will get hypothermia and that shit isn’t fun. but that’s only when there’s actually ice- cool baths you can stay in for longer. great post, I’m sure I’ll need it soon :)

  9. I can definately second the cold suggestion. I kept getting a sun related rash a while ago and started itching SO BAD every time I went outside. When I went skating one night the cold rink magically made my massive itch vanish (at least untill I went back outside)

  10. I fell asleep in my parents’ pool one summer and got 2nd degree burns on my shins. They blistered and oozed and my girlfriend at the time wouldn’t come close enough to even hear me whine. An aloe plant offered the best relief, because even the alcohol free aloe gel stung like a motherfucker. It took a long time for this to heal and my legs looked like zombie attack for much of the summer. Now I’ve got all sorts of freckles on my shins that I’m freaked out about being pre-cancer.
    Moral of the story, just be responsible in the sun, my lovelies!

  11. The best sunburn treatment I ever made:
    1.Willowbark tea brought to the boil and then simmered over a low heat for about 10-15 minutes so it’s nice and strong.
    2. When cooled, mix the tea into some Vitamin E cream, a little at a time so the cream stays easy to work with (not to liquidy) – any vitamin E cream will do, I used one of those cheap giant containers from a discount store).
    3. Rub into sunburned skin. It will get rid of the pain and the redness.
    4. Refrigerate the remaining mixture for future use, or to hand around to sunburned friends.

    *Do not use if you have any condition that stops you from taking asprin.*

  12. I wish I could whine about it, but I don’t wear sunscreen except on my face. I feel like this gets called out if I whine. As a rower, everyone like to pass around the sunscreen before we leave the boathouse, and I always feel like I’m good. I’m Irish I’m never good. But I want the tan lines from my shorts to my socks and my face and lower arms to be as red as possible to really emphasize how pale I truly am.

  13. I just got over my first burn of the season, whining definitely played a big part in my recovery.

    • I knew what this was going to be before I clicked on it. That is pretty much my number one workout motivator right there. God bless everything.

  14. I used to think being a brown person made me impervious to sunburns, and then I spent a day in the ocean and was punished for my hubris.

  15. In my fairly extensive experience with sunburns (i.e. 5 years of lifeguarding), one of the best things you can do for your poor, abused skin (if you can gather the courage to actually touch it) is to apply a decent layer of poly/neosporin– just as you would with a regular, I-touched-a-hot-stove burn. It might hurt to put it on, but it will definitely speed up the healing time, and protect your skin.

    In other news, aloe gel is AWESOME. Just make sure to moisturize afterwards, or it can further dry out your skin!

  16. guys, you know how to win my heart. my lithuanian genes living in florida do not do my skin well.

  17. As a really pale white girl that has no light skinned friends, coworkers, roommates, or school mates, I’m just glad to have a sense of community here.

    • I practically glow in the dark and I live in Australia. We don’t have an ozone layer here, I practically have to bathe in sunscreen nine months out of the year.

      You are not alone.

      • In New Zealand sun, my skin is also glow in the dark, then lobster (in <10min) and back to super white after peeling. I go overseas and suddenly I can tolerate hours of sun.

      • Ewwwww I live in Texas, which is still pretty bad, but at least we have an ozone layer. Not like, a super spectacular one. But an ozone layer none the less.

  18. Oh man this is me when SF got it’s first week or so of shorts weather. I ran around a couple days in a tank top with no sunscreen. Not smart.

  19. Honestly, if it gets to the point of being s second-degree sunburn there’s nothing you can do for that shit except whine, because NSAIDs won’t touch it, and aloe won’t either. And then your family complains that you’re hogging the bathroom for too long if you try to take a cold bath/shower.

    Also, there is no stranger feeling in the world than when you can feel the fluid in the blisters from your burn run down the inside of your leg, and then you skin comes off in sheets. Seriously. I don’t recommend trying it.

  20. We’re actually having a sunny week in England right now! So of course my shoulders are hellish sunburnt, because I’m too stupid to remember sunscreen for a long long walk in the park. I made my girlfriend run in skin creme about 50 times yesterday but it still aches like a bitch.

    My mother suggested squeezing fresh lemons over sunburn, but I still remember her agonised screams from last time my dad did that, so I’ll probably just grit my teeth and try not to complain too much in case she decides that what my poor burns really need is citric acid rubbing into them.

  21. Aloe Vera plant ftw, it’s a million times better than store bought aloe. I’ve had more 2nd degree sunburns than I even want to think about, because cancer is scary. I always wear factor 80 sunscreen and reapply but I still manage to get burned if I’m somewhere stupid hot

  22. I’ve only gotten a few sunburns in my life (I am pale, but I just don’t burn), but the worst was when I went horseback riding in the sand dunes without sunscreen. NEVER DO THAT. One of my friends kept peeling my sunburn off my scalp. I felt so gross.

    I now where sunscreen everywhere. Sunscreen is my girlfriend.

    Oh, and all pain is healed if you can get someone pretty to sing you “Soft Kitty.” Or maybe get your mom to sing it.

  23. I recommend not putting aloe on a sunburn if you’re allergic to aloe. ASK ME HOW I KNOW

  24. Vinegar is magic but you can try tomatoes too, they are really fresh and cool down your skin. Maybe put some vinegar on your skin, tomatoes on top and now you are a salad !!!!
    I tried that and my pain went down many levels.

  25. Last time I got sunburnt I covered my face and arms in aftersun. I did this twice before I realised the reason my arms were going more red than they were before and my face was itching like id stuck it in an ants nest was because I was having a mildly allergic reaction to it, not one of my finest moments.

  26. All of these stories are GROSS, please apply sunscreen and don’t stay in the sun for too long, people. Yuck

  27. Don’t forget about your scalp. Hats are sexy. Large flakes of skin falling into your hair- not so sexy…

  28. This is where my natural aversion to anywhere that isn’t cool, misty, rainy and/or the Highlands comes in. I am essentially a moss.

  29. I don’t burn easily but back in March we had a week of inexplicably boiling weather and I spent it at the beach from 4 to 8 every day and by Friday my face was resenting it. What I do is always have a bottle of Aloe Vera lotion on the fridge, so when you apply you get both the healing and the fresh quality of it.

    That picture of that sunburnt arm is painful. I’m so careful about sun even if I don’t burn and I don’t have fair skin, I use lotion with a high level of protection and re apply it a few times as I’m sunbathing. I still get tanned but I avoid the risk of getting burnt, and with the effects that can have re: skin cancer it’s definitely something to consider.

  30. I am super pale and red headed, so I seem to get burned just by thinking about the sun sometimes, I go through sunblock at a crazy rate and still wind up with something burnt every year… My last burn was Easter weekend last year, when we left the house it was chilly and rainy so I didn’t think of sunblock, couple hours later the sun came out and my back became a red hot blistered mess! I was all about aloe and solarcaine for a good week, may have to try a couple other suggestions out for my next one!

  31. Lush’s Dream Cream saved my sunburned ass! No alcohols, just essential oils. That and aloe. yeayerrrrrrr

  32. I’m surprised this hasn’t come up yet, but tea is where’s it’s at. I worked at Greenfield Village one summer, and every day I would come home with sunburnt cheeks despite all the sunscreen. SO! The tannins in black tea reduce inflammation, redness and bring down the healing time for minor to moderate burns.

    I use regular Lipton Black Tea. It’s cheap and strong.

    I usually boil half a dozen tea bags and let them steep until cool. I then soak a rag in the tea, wring it out, and then place it on the burned area. I let it sit for at least 15 minutes, usually reapply twice. It’s a bit time consuming, but it makes a world of difference. If you’re feeling randy, you can apply the tea bags directly to the burned area, which allows one to crack a lot of “tea bagging”.

    • Omigod I did this! I put tea bags on my burned skin, which I commented on below actually, haha, and it totally worked. I just didn’t know why before, my mom just told me to. xD BUT COOL.

  33. Ice baths are a bad idea with sunburns, especially bad ones or if you’re sunburned all over. The huge difference in temperature in your skin and the water means that your temperature will drop quickly and a lot. You can get hypothermia, as well as have other problems.

    I live in FL, and my mother worked as a receptionist for the ER here for many years and saw people come in at night with problems because they tried ice baths for their sunburns consistently and frequently.


  34. Wish I’d had this article last week. Wouldn’t have done me much good though, since I burned that spot in the middle of my back that you can’t reach, so I couldn’t have put aloe/milk/whatever on it anyhow :(

  35. I thankfully haven’t burned, but I fell asleep in a park the other day in a dress and boots and now have the WEIRDEST tan lines halfway up my calves and thighs. No pain, I just feel stupid.

    • when I got my worst sunburn ever, it not only was the most painful thing I can imagine, it also looked stupid- vertical lines going up both my legs from the outside of my legs being shaded by the kayak I was in, and then cutting off with a shorts line mid-thigh.

      And then it scarred, so it was super visible for quite some time afterward.

    • I got burned badly through patterned tights recently, and the diamond pattern is STILL THERE. I am really worried that it’s not going to just fade away… D:

  36. “Finally, don’t forget to blame your awful terrible friend who completely missed spraying half your ass with sunscreen as if she didn’t know you had two sides to your ass.”

    I think I just died laughing.

  37. In the interest of preventing sunburns while not feeling like every day is a beach day (which would be awesome, though make me very sad while working in a boring office), does anyone have a good recommendation for an all-over sunscreen or lotion with sunscreen that doesn’t smell like sunscreen/feel greasy?

  38. When I recently got horribly burned at my sister’s graduation, my mom put wet, icy teabags all over me and it felt SO GOOD. They kept heating up, so we had to keep putting them in ice again, but oh god it was good.

  39. I used to have a skin treatment which basically involved being blasted with UV rays, i.e. a really strong sun bed. There was only one thing they would recommend for my skin. Using something called aqueous cream. Its the best moisturiser you can get with the least chemicals. I use it on a daily basis but more so if i’ve been out in the sun. Smother yourself in this and if the pains too bad, wrap yourself towels which have been soaked in cold water (wring them out first otherwise you just get water everywhere). I once had second degree burns to my body from the skin treatment which is effectively bad sunburn, i smothered myself in cream and didn’t get dressed for days, just wrapped myself up in wet towels. Lush.

  40. I read *somewhere* ages ago that the most important thing is to cool down the skin (but, agreed, serious limit on icebaths; cool bath/flannels are much better), since it will actually continue to burn even after you’ve moved out of the sun. As a very sunburn-prone Australian, I swear by it.

    And my worst one… year ten school camp. I was called ‘Sun dried tomato’ for ages afterwards.
    Even being tended by the cute PE teacher I had a crush on didn’t help :p

  41. I got my POC card taken away yesterday. I got sunburnt.
    It doesnt hurt at all and its just a little pink but after years of telling my mom “I’m Arab, I don’t get sunburnt!” before leaving for the pool, I came home with pink spots where my cheekbones are.

    S’what I get.

Comments are closed.