Do After-Sun Lotions Really Do Anything?

Joanna Douglas
Senior Editor

Photo by Alex Cayley/Trunk Archive

You can’t undo sun damage, but you can help your skin out. “After-sun lotions and gels are key in helping to rehydrate the skin to assist in the repairing process as they seal in moisture,” says Dr. Ariel Ostad, a NYC Dermatologist. “Products with aloe vera are good at assisting in skin repair and many can alleviate the pain of a sunburn as they have soothing and cooling properties.” Meaning the string of new products hitting beauty shelves really can make a difference.

Dr. Ostad suggests applying products for relief immediately after sun exposure, and then again up to three times a day. “You can keep applying it even after your burn to help put moisture back into the skin and improve skin’s appearance and integrity.” 

The right products can even prevent peeling and extend your tan. “Applying these lotions keeps the area moisturized so skin doesn’t have that flake effect,” says Dr. Ostad. “When peeling skin is moisturized immediately it is less likely to spread.” Likewise, he says the secret to extending your tan is to keep it hydrated. “Applying the creams after bathing can help to increase absorption.” Whether your skin feels dry or is starting to peel, these bottles will come to your aid and keep you nicely bronzed into the fall. 

Nivea Sun Moisturising After Sun Lotion  ($4.80)
Though Dr. Ostad’s top pick isn’t available in the US, it does ship internationally. The cream is enhanced with avocado oil. 

To moisturize:

Sun Bum Cool Down After Sun Hydrating Lotion ($11.99)
This alcohol- and paraben-free lotion has a great beachy scent and melts into your skin. Aloe vera, vitamin E, and cocoa butter are the ideal moisturizing trifecta.

Kiss My Face After Play Air Powered Crème ($12)
This lotion contains nourishing shea butter, olive oil, and vitamin E as well as aloe vera and coconut water for thirsty skin. 

To minimize peeling:

Clinique After-Sun Rescue Balm with Aloe ($23)
Apply this fast-absorbing and refreshing product to your face and body; it’s softening, and aims to prevent peeling.

To ease a burn:

Burt’s Bees Aloe & Linden Flower After Sun Soother ($10)
If you get a little too pink after a day in the sun, relieve cranky skin with this formula instead of sticky aloe. Added coconut oil, bee pollen, and glycerin replenish moisture and your burn should fade dramatically.

To extend your tan:

Kate Somerville Somerville360 Tan Maximizer Tan Enhancing Moisturizer ($48)
Whether you tan from the sun or a bottle, this lotion contains a peptide and lipid complex that hydrates the skin in a way that maintains radiant skin. Added natural oils and butters also play up and extend the look of your tan. For best results, use twice a day starting one week prior to sun exposure.

Michael Kors After Sun Gelee ($32)
For that just-back-from St. Tropez glow, this un-tinted lotion hydrates skin, makes it look luminous, and is lightly scented with orange flower, jasmine, and sandalwood.

This article originally appeared on Yahoo Beauty.