What To Do When Your Skin Is Peeling (Hint: It's Not Exfoliate It!)
July 12, 2016
Even if you are vigilant with applying sunscreen, sometimes a bad burn can sneak up on you. Not only is this dangerous, but it leads to red, itchy, peeling skin. Most people think the best way to get rid of peeling skin is to exfoliate. However, this is a HUGE no-no. Exfoliating peeling skin can lead to irritation, infection and even scarring. Luckily, there are several ways to soothe peeling skin with out damaging your skin. After a bad burn, you should take the following steps:
- Step 1: Drink lots of water. Staying hydrated is the key to healthy skin. If your skin is pealing, this will help give your skin the energy to repair itself from the inside out.
- Step 2: Cool down your skin by taking a cold shower or bath. Hot water can strip skin of natural oils and future damage peeling skin. To avoid further aggravating your skin, gently pat yourself dry.
- Step 3: Avoid scratching your skin. If you get the urge to scratch, use ice to dull the sensation. Another method is to cover your face with a wash cloth soaked in cold milk. The lactic acid in milk helps reduce redness and remove flakes, while the lipids in milk help hydrate the skin.
- Step 4: Moisturize your skin with a moisturizer formulated for sunburn or peeling skin. For your body, recommend Sun Bum’s Premium Moisturizing After Sun Lotion ($11.99). For your face, try Clinique’s ‘After Sun’ Rescue Balm with Aloe ($23).
- Step 5: Whatever you do, don’t peel your skin! Peeling and scratching your skin can lead to infection. If a section of your skin is peeling, avoid the temptation to pull it. Instead, use a pair of scissors to delicately cut away dead skin. When you are done, apply antibacterial ointment to the area.
- Step 6: Avoid scaring by using an oatmeal treatment. This reduces itching and moisturizes your skin. Cook oatmeal as directed and let it cool. Then apply it liberally to damaged skin, but do not rub it in (this can accidentally exfoliate your skin). Instead, leave the oatmeal on the skin for a couple of minutes and then rinse of with cool water. Feeling lazy? Aveeno makes a great Oatmeal Soothing Bath Treatment ($6.99).
- Bonus: An insider at Estee Lauder told me that one of the best ways to heel peeling skin is to apply the company’s most popular product, Advanced Night Repair ($92). She swears this is a surefire way to heal dry, damaged skin and that it works especially well on all kinds of burns.
Want more summer hacks? Check out these 5 ways to avoid damaging your hair when you go swimming and how to get sand off your body.