How Long Does It Take for Aloe Vera to Soothe a Sunburn?

There’s nothing like a day at the beach- expect when you come back with a horrible sunburn! Nothing puts a damper on a great day out like getting home with skin that is red, burning, and peeling. We all know how terrible it feels when you have a sunburn and, of course, you just want to get the whole thing over with as quickly as possible. That’s why so many of us reach for the trusty old aloe vera gel.

Aloe vera has been a go-to treatment for burns of all kinds for the past 6,000 years. Even today, with such incredible cutting edge technologies and medications at our fingertips, the humble aloe vera plant is still the gold standard in treating and soothing sunburns. That’s because this amazing plant contains more than 200 vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Ready for relief? Here’s everything you need to know about treating your sunburn and how long it takes for aloe vera to soothe sunburns.

Sunburn 101

First things first, it’s essential to know that not all sunburns are the same. There are three different levels of sunburn. Ranging from mild to severe, these are the different types of burns that you might be dealing with.

Mild Sunburn: This is a typical, slightly irritating sunburn that will last for around three to five days. Your skin will be red and irritated then begin to peel a slight amount after a couple days.


Moderate Sunburn: When your skin is red and hot to the touch, you likely have a moderate sunburn. It could take a week or more for it to heal and you’ll see a more severe type of peeling that lasts for several days.

Severe sunburn: If you have painful blistering, it might be time to see a doctor. Just because it came from the sun doesn’t mean it’s any less severe than a burn from a fire. Take it seriously and get it checked out.

How Long Does a Sunburn Last?

Sunburns work in a slow but steady process. You will start to see the burn about six hours after your exposure to the sun. Depending on the level of your burn, your peeling might last for a few days or weeks. In total, the process can take between six to ten weeks before your skin is back to normal.

It is important to remember that, while your skin may look fine again after it heals, sun damage is permanent. That’s why prevention is so important--- and we will get to more on that later but, for now, let’s just talk about making your sunburn stop hurting ASAP.

How to Make a Sunburn Stop Hurting with Aloe Vera

The American Academy of Dermatology has put together the ultimate sunburn care checklist. Ready to get on your way to relief? Here’s what you need.

Cool Cloth

Remember, a sunburn is a burn! That’s why a cool towel is refreshing. Create a damp compress a few times a day and leave it there for 15 minutes at a time. When you’re done, use a moisturizer rich with aloe vera.

Aloe Vera

When you have a sunburn, read product labels to decide on a moisturizer. Avoid anything with petroleum, benzocaine, or lidocaine and look for 100% pure aloe to be listed as one of the first ingredients.

Bottle of aloe vera gel in hand

Hydrocortisone Cream

If you have a more severe sunburn and want to reduce redness and swelling, dot hydrocortisone cream onto the most burned and swollen areas.


For more severe sunburns, you might want to consider ibuprofen as well. It will help reduce swelling and discomfort.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking ample water is especially important when you have a sunburn so aim to get those eight glasses per day.

Leave Your Sunburn Alone: Whatever you do, don’t pick at your skin or pop blisters. If you have blisters, you have a second-degree burn, which means that you are prone to an infection. So, once you have it cleaned and managed, keep your hands off your sunburn.

Cover Up

Wear tightly-woven fabrics to keep you skin as protected as possible when you have to be back in the sun again.

How Long Does It Take For Aloe Vera To Soothe a Sunburn?

Aloe vera provides instant relief. If you want aloe vera to soothe your sunburn faster, keep it in the fridge. Cold aloe vera gel will immediately cool your skin while offering relief for the itching and stinging that comes along with a bad sunburn.

Why Does My Skin Burn?

Why do some people tan while other people burn? There are a few reasons that affect a person’s likelihood of burning.

First of all, the lighter your skin is, the more likely that you are to burn. Likewise, the lighter that your hair is, the more likely it is that you will get a sunburn. This is especially true if you have freckles.

Lastly, there are certain drugs called Photosensitizing Medications that will make you more likely to burn. Be sure to inform yourself on all meds that you are taking so you can take proper precautions.

Why Tanning Is Bad for You

You knew that you couldn’t get through your sunburn without a lecture! Repeat after us, there is no “healthy” tan! People often think that tanning is healthy while sunburns are damaging but it’s a myth. A tan is skin damage. Your skin just darkens itself to prevent further damage.

If you want a nice looking tan, get it from the bottle! Skip the budget tanning creams that’ll leave you orange and upgrade to high quality realistic looking options for the perfect tan.

How to Prevent a Sunburn

There are a lot of simple ways to prevent a sunburn. First of all, avoid the sun from 10 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon and, of course, stay away from tanning beds!

Woman wearing sun protection hat

If you’ve got to be in the sun, take a few precautions. Here’s how.

  • Wear a hat! Opt for a wide brim that’ll cover as much of your neck as possible. If you can’t find a style that you’re into, even a baseball cap is helpful. Scalp sunburn is very real and very painful.
  • Always wear sunglasses with UV ray protection. It’s not just about looking cool! It’s about preventing eye damage.
  • ​Cover up with loose fitting clothing. A lightweight white shirt can actually keep you more comfortable than a t-shirt while preventing a burn.
  • Look for UV protection clothes. If you spend a lot of time at the beach, it’s definitely worth checking out gear made to protect you from the sun.

Images courtesy of frankieleon & Nathan Rupert via CC by 2.0.

Leave a Comment: