What Are The Best Sunburn Creams and Why?

It can happen to the best of us. A long day at the pool, beach route hiking, and we forget to put on any sunscreen. Now you’re stuck with the painful hot stinging sunburn. What are the best sunburn creams available to help treat that nasty sunburn?

What Are The Best Sunburn Creams?

I used to think that a thick petroleum jelly or Vaseline were going to be the quickest way to get rid of a sunburn. I believed that locking in the moisture was the way to go.

Unfortunately, I was wrong. The American Academy of Dermatology does not recommend these.

Thick products like Vaseline stop the heat from leaving the skin, and can lead to a lengthened healing time for sunburn.

I took a long look at all of the different recommended creams that are available, and here’s what I found would work.

Some of these may surprise you; I know they did me.

1% Hydro-Cortisone Cream

Before writing this article, I never would have thought to put hydro-cortisone on a sunburn.

When I think of hydro-cortisone cream, I think of bug bites and itchy skin rash treatment, not sunburn treatment. But dermatologists and doctors, everywhere I looked, recommended the use of the nonprescription steroid cream on sunburns.

The topical steroid cream is effective at reducing the swelling and pain associated with sunburn.

Hydro-cortisone cream is relatively inexpensive, and is available without a prescription, which is great for those of us who don’t have time to head over to the doctor every time we spend too much time in the sun.

Aloe Vera

When using Aloe Vera you want to get the purest form available. There are a lot of lotions and creams that claim to have Aloe Vera in them, but the percentage of aloe may be less than 1%.

That is not going to do a lot when it comes to healing your sunburn.

Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera 100% Gel

It’s 100% Aloe Vera gel and it doesn’t contain any dyes fragrance or alcohol, so you’re going to get all of the healing power of aloe without any of the crazy additives.

The nice thing about this aloe gel is that it absorbs quickly and won’t stain your clothing because it doesn’t contain any dyes. This gel also contains added vitamin E so it will give your skin that extra moisture it needs.

Seven Minerals Aloe Vera Gel

The seven minerals gel is 99% organic, and they have a 100% money back guarantee. 

One of the great things about this gel is that it’s not sticky.

Most Aloe Vera gels leave a sticky residue on your skin that can be annoying, especially if you have to put clothes on after you apply the gel.

Nothing is worse than Aloe Vera gel sticking to your skin and clothes making you feel all gross and gooey.

Soy Lotion

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that, in addition to Aloe Vera, you use a moisturizer that contains the way to help you heal your skin.

You still want to make sure you stay away from soy lotions that contain alcohol in them.

This can be a problem, because a lot of the soy creams available include acetyl, benzyl and ethyl alcohols. Applying acetyl, benzyl, and ethyl alcohol to a sunburn will leave you feeling miserable.

You can get the same burning effect from fragrances that are in lotions. So if you’re going to find a soy cream, you want to make sure that it is fragrance as well as alcohol-free.

Most of the Aveeno lotions are made with soy and are available in fragrance-free or alcohol-free or the combination of both.

Burt’s Bees After Sun Soother

Burt’s Bees makes a great after sun lotion that has awesome reviews.

Burt’s Bees is one of the leading natural product manufacturers in the United States.

Their after sun soothing lotion contains Aloe Vera as well as Linden flower. They also use natural borax which is a skin soother.

If fragrance irritates your skin or sunburn, stay away from this lotion because it does contain fragrance.


Unfortunately even the best sunburn creams will not beat the healing power of time.

Sunburn will take time to heal and, if it is especially bad to the point of blistering, you will need more time.

Combine your patience with these top sunburn creams and your sunburn will heal faster than you can expect from time alone.


Have you ever had to cure a sunburn with topical treatments? What best sunburn creams would you recommend?

Please, post your list!


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