Hawaii is the perfect place to get a little sun. A golden tan after a vacation in the tropics is almost like a trophy, evidence of your level of relaxation. Getting a few shades darker doesn’t happen in a day though, and it’s hard to do it in a safe way. Many times, sunbathers get carried away with sun exposure and end up red and burnt. There’s nothing worse than starting your Hawaii vacation off with a sunburn.

But however protective and careful you may be with the sun’s harsh rays, it almost seems inevitable that you’ll get a little red during your vacation. Taking care of sunburns in Hawaii is something you should be prepared for here in the Islands.   Maybe you forgot to put sunscreen on your legs for the day hike, or missed the tops of your feet at the beach. Another common area for people to get burnt is the tip of their ears; so don’t let this happen to you!

If you know how to deal with sunburn though, it’ll make your misery a little more bearable. There are all sorts of remedies for sunburns, but here are my top 6 choices.

Aloe. Particularly in its raw form. But aloe gel or lotion works great too. Just make sure you find a brand that contains 100% aloe vera gel, or at least a higher amount than a leading brand. The aloe vera plant works great for burns because it contains anti-inflammatory properties, as well as factors that help damaged cells regenerate and heal faster. It’s a common remedy in Hawaii, which is why you’ll see it lined on shelves throughout ABC and grocery stores.

Ibuprofen. Many people don’t consider taking pain medication for sunburns, but Ibuprofen is great to have on-hand. The ingredients in it help to reduce the redness and swelling that will occur after a burn. It will also help to relieve some of the pain you’ll feel from, especially if it’s a bad one!

Ice cold water. If your skin is burnt, your body will dehydrate faster. This is because burns draw water to the surface of the skin and away from the body, so it’s important to drink extra water during this time. Juices and electrolyte sports drinks help too.

Cold milk compress. Soak a washcloth in a bowl of milk and ice cubes and then compress it to your skin until the cloth warms up, then repeat. The milk is to help soothe the inflammation, (and will feel refreshing!) and the ice cubes will make the blood vessels contract, which will reduce swelling and redness.

Sliced cucumber. Cucumber is naturally cool and refreshing, so it’ll feel good on your skin. But the fruit also has antioxidant and analgesic (pain-relieving) properties, which promote healing and relieve the discomfort and pain associated with sunburns. Slice up an extra cucumber for your friends or family to enjoy a relaxing spa treatment alongside you, by placing cool cucumber over the eyes.

Lotion and Vitamin E oil. Keep your red skin hydrated with lotion to help soothe, and also to minimize peeling. Banana Boat Aloe After Sun Lotion has worked great for me in the past as well as their gel. Vitamin E oil will also help, and can be applied topically or swallowed in its capsule form. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that provides electrons to free radicals, and saves healthy molecules from being depleted.

Sun safely and enjoy your Hawaiian vacation!


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