TikTok is great for a lot of things, but you can’t believe everything you see there. Case in point? DIY sunburn remedies. We get it, when your skin is red, hot and stinging, it’s tempting to try just about anything to soothe it, but some of the at-home remedies people swear by on social media aren’t helpful. And even worse? Some DIY treatments can actually inflame tender skin.
Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Luke Maxfield says these are the TikTok sunburn remedies to avoid:
- Sour cream - While it gets points for being very DIY-friendly, putting sour cream on your skin isn’t going to heal your sunburn. Maxfield says the cool sensation of something straight out of the fridge touching your sunburn may feel nice at the moment, but it isn’t doing anything to help in the long run.
- Apple cider vinegar - While it does contain anti-inflammatory properties, any benefits are outweighed by the fact that apple cider vinegar is extremely acidic. On top of that, it’s a powerful exfoliator, and those are two things you don’t want on your sensitive sunburn. What your skin needs is a recovery period so it can work on healing itself and ACV won’t help you get there.
- Baking soda - Because baking soda is abrasive, Maxfield warns putting it on a sunburn is a bad idea. “You’re going to take this damaged skin and damage it more,” he explains.
So what should you actually use? A treatment Maxfield approves of is good old aloe vera. He says this natural remedy is popular for a good reason: it can feel cool and soothing. It decreases inflammation and itch, plus it helps skin heal faster. Stick the bottle of aloe vera gel in the fridge to make it even more refreshing to your skin after a day in the sun.