Shaving Cream For Sunburn: Is It A Do or Don’t? Dermatologists Weigh In

With the temps reaching their peak this summer, we wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve already suffered from a sunburn or two. Amidst the many age-old remedies people swear by when it comes to calming burned skin, there’s one that’s currently starting to make rounds on the internet: shaving cream for sunburn.

Yep, folks, you heard that right. People are slathering shaving cream on their sunburned skin in an attempt to heal and soothe the inflammation.

Whether you’ve heard of this home remedy before or it’s a concept that’s completely new to you, people have been trying this sunburn hack for years, with many people claiming that it helps heal sunburn and make their irritated skin feel better.

We wanted to know: is there any truth to this, or is it just a matter of hearsay currently making the rounds on social media?

After hearing so much chatter, we’ve decided that enough’s enough and decided to do some investigating of our own. We reached out to a few dermatologists and asked them about the shaving cream for sunburn craze — and their responses were quite a mixed bag.

While some experts told us that putting shaving cream on sunburn could prove to be beneficial, others warned us against it, citing the addition of alcohol as an irritant that could actually make your sunburn worse.

Putting shaving cream on sunburned skin is a definite no for Dr. Anna Chacon, a board-certified dermatologist and dermatology writer with MyPsoriasisTeam, who told us, “I recommend not putting anything potentially irritating, such as alcohol-based products on the sunburned areas until the skin barrier is intact and the area has healed.” Chacon recommends “avoiding shaving cream and other potential irritants from sunburned skin, saying that sunburned people should “stick to soothing emollients such as vaseline as well as moderate topical steroids.”

Dr. Beth G. Goldstein, a skin cancer surgeon and Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Dermatology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, offers a bit of a different perspective. Dr. Goldstein, also the co-founder of GETMr, (whose new daily sunscreen was recently added to our Best Anti-Aging Products feature) notes that shaving cream, “can help with feel, such as cooling or reducing swelling, but it will not heal your sunburn any more quickly. It will not change any damage.” If going this route, she recommends a product like Aveeno Therapeutic Shaving Gel, which is already designed to soothe irritated skin.

In terms of safety, Dr. Goldstein shares that you can use shaving cream for sunburn, but should be cautious to make sure that it doesn’t sting. She explains, “Look for shaving creams with aloe and oatmeal. First test on a small part of your body to ensure it will not sting.”

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As far as other remedies are concerned, Dr. Goldstein offers a few solutions that could potentially help. “If you put a wet cloth in the freezer and then put it on to the burn, it can help soothe,” she explains. She also recommends, “Aloe vera gel that is not mixed in with many other ingredients. Your best bet is to avoid a sunburn altogether with a daily SPF and moisturizing combination. When you have a sunburn, make sure if you use a cleanser that it is very, very mild. You can also try to use honey, but this is not proven to help fade the burn any more quickly.”

Board-certified NYC dermatologist and Assistant Professor of Dermatology Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Dr. Debra Jaliman shares mixed sentiments, adding a bit more caution, explaining, “If you have nothing else around it can be used. It would not be my first option as shaving creams usually have added ingredients and fragrances that you generally could do without for sunburn. Many shaving creams have soothing and moisturizing ingredients. Aloe is cooling and soothing for sunburns. Oatmeal can also be soothing for sunburns and those ingredients are commonly found in shaving creams. It is preferred to use pure aloe that is fragrance-free.”

Dr. Jaliman, who is also the author of the book, “Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist also offers alternative remedies such as aloe vera gel, oatmeal, witch hazel, cucumber slices, and says that “hydrocortisone can be used for itching and inflammation sometimes associated with a sunburn.”

Related: Best Lotions For Sunburn

Whether you decide to try it out or not, you should always exercise an abundance of caution when treating sunburn at home. Dr. Robert Backstein, Plastic, Reconstructive, and Cosmetic Surgeon in Toronto Canada, warns, “some sunburns are deeper burns than initially suspected and without proper medical care can become third-degree burns that can scar. But it’s important that any sunburn that seems to be getting worse or is not healing is looked at by a health professional.”

All-in-all, the key is to not get sunburned in the first place. Taking care of your skin, especially in the sun is of the utmost importance. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher on a daily basis to prevent skin damage. Your SPF should be even higher if you plan on spending time in direct sun.

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