5 Awesome Tricks to Disguise That Sunburn

Aly Walansky
Woman sunbathing

Kristian sekulic/E+

Whether you forgot to apply sunscreen or just didn’t re-apply often enough, we all get burned from time to time. They hurt, and are also not very pleasant at all to look at. Sunburns can take a while to heal, but in the mean time there’s a few things you can do to cool them down, reduce the redness, and hide the evidence!

Cool it down. 
The first rule about sunburn disguise is to cool down the burn. If the skin is hot, red, and swollen, it’s hard to mask. Aspirin or ibuprofen in small, appropriate doses may help to reduce the internal inflammation, and cold cooked oatmeal or yogurt can work as a poultice to take heat out of the skin and transfer some soothing anti-inflammatory molecules to hasten the healing, says Dr. Jessica Krant, MD, MPH, a dermatologist and Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, as well as Founder of Art of Dermatology in New York City.

Another option is to try a milk compress says dermatologist Dr. Josh Zeichner, director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research in Dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. Place cool milk in a bowl with ice cubes, soak a wash cloth, and then apply the compress to the skin. Proteins in the milk can help soothe the skin and help the burn heal quicker.

MORE: 10 Things No One Ever Tells You About Your Skin

Add moisture back to your skin.
Paul Labrecque salon’s makeup artist Marlena Orlowska recommends using a lotion that contains humectants and lactic acid. Another moisturizing component to consider is one that is green-tinted. Green camouflages red, says dermatologist Dr. Kavita Mariwalla. Moisturizers that include aloe will also soothe the skin as it replaces moisture, and help to cool the sunburn down.

Use makeup to reduce the signs of redness.
You don’t want to use a heavy foundation because it will further irritate your burned skin. Orowska says to use a mineral foundation, try to find one with aloe vera as a key ingredient. Then, apply a yellow-toned powder as needed. If you still look red, use a dusting of a matte bronzer. Funny enough, adding a “kiss of sun” to your cheeks will help mask those red splotches from the much less romantic interaction you and the sun just did have!

Add a golden gloss to your lips.
Obviously, you are going to want to stay away from red lips for a while. But a light gloss with a golden tint will add the glow back to your face – and help mask some of that redness.

The right clothes help.
Fair girls tend to burn more easily, and burn to a purple undertone, so the last thing you want to wear is red, orange or yellow when this is going on. If you have skin with brown or olive tones, you burn a less purple tone and more red. You should avoid wearing red as well though, but also avoid blue and green. Stick to darker colors, notice how they play down a burn while lighter ones highlight it.  Also avoid anything too tight, scratchy, or form-fitting, it’ll make uncomfortable skin feel worse. Looser fitting clothes will make you feel better and help that burn to breathe.