Why aftersun skincare is so essential, plus the products to soothe skin

After a day outdoors it's essential that you apply post-sun skincare, regardless of whether you caught the sun or not

We’ve all been there; You lie out in the sun for a little too long (probably because you dozed off), or didn’t apply enough sun protection and wake up to find you’ve gone slightly pink. Enter, aftersun.

Redness is not a great look but, more importantly, it’s definitely not great for your skin.

Don’t panic; fortunately there are various lotions, mousses, creams and gels out there to soothe the burn, prevent peeling and rehydrate your skin if you forgot to take your best sun cream out with you.

Aftersun formulas are packed with hydrating ingredients like aloe vera, vitamin E, shea butter, almond oil and Omegas 3 and 6 to boost skin’s moisture levels, while some contain subtle enhancers to enrich your tan.

Keep in mind that speed is the key to cooling the skin – don’t wait until you start to feel itchy or overheated. Instead, apply your aftersun as soon as you’re back indoors or in the shade.

So if you forgot to apply your best SPF moisturiser, here’s what you need to know about aftersun skincare.

Why do I need aftersun care?

It’s important to remember that aftersun can (and should) be used every day you’re outdoors to keep your skin healthy – not solely when you’ve caught the sun or have been burnt.

But post-sun skincare is especially important if you’re spending time in sunnier climes. ‘Heat, salty sea water, chlorine, winds and sand will all dry out your skin,’ says consult dermatologist Dr Sharon Wong.

So, what’s the best way of caring for skin that’s been out in the sun?

‘Ensure all sunscreen, chlorine, sand and salt is washed off your body and face, before applying generous quantities of a good quality, hydrating moisturiser, to help restore the lipid barrier of the skin,’ she adds.

‘If your skin has been sunburnt, the red, sore areas can be treated with over-the-counter strength steroids, such as hydrocortisone, to reduce the inflammation quickly, and cool compresses and soothing agents such as cold aloe vera gel are also very calming for inflamed and sensitive skin.’

She also advises that you use a thicker moisturiser when the skin is shedding, but adds you should ‘keep it simple with fragrance-free products, as sunburn tends to make the skin more sensitive.’

Read on to find the perfect aftersun formula for your skin type to minimise sun damage.

Aftersun lotion

aftersun Bioderma

Once you’ve been out in the sun, you need to slather on your aftersun lotion to prevent too much skin damage. If you’re looking for an aftersun lotion, allow us to point you in the direction of Photoderm.

Rightly hailed as one of the best European skincare brands on the market, Bioderma’s Photoderm After Sun is one of the most trusted aftersun lotions ever. Its milky texture helps to soothe and reduce any inflamed, sore patches, but more importantly it helps to heal the skin and prepare its next trip out in the sun.

Shop now: Bioderma Photoderm After Sun for £11.50 from Boots

Aftersun spray

aftersun Garnier Ambre Solaire After Sun Spray

Aftersun sprays are one of the most popular post-sun skincare formulas, because they’re seriously easy to apply and soak in quickly.

Ambre Solaire is one of the best trusted, go-to brands when it comes to sun protection and aftercare. Enriched with cactus extract, it’s a super hydrating formula that replenishes your skin with the right amount of moisture, preventing that nasty peeling skin we all love to hate.

Shop now: Ambre Solaire After Sun Spray for £5 from Boots

Aftersun cream

aftersun The Organic Pharmacy

While sprays are a favourite for convenience when it comes to aftersun, some people prefer to indulge in a thick and creamy formula.

Although it’s named ‘Tan Enhancing’, The Organic Pharmacy’s aftersun doesn’t actually contain any fake tan. What it does do is help prolong a sun-kissed glow by repairing and replenishing the skin, with pure organic extracts of aloe, rosehip, carrot, calendula, green, white and red tea and nettles.

Shop now: The Organic Pharmacy After Sun for £33.95 from

Aloe Vera aftersun

aftersun Nivea After Sun Lotion

There’s a reason why you’ll find aloe vera in 99% of aftersuns on the market – scientific research has proven its one of the best natural ingredients for healing burns, including those caused by the sun’s powerful rays.

Nivea is another one of those brand names that’s synonymous with sun protection and aftersun skincare. With that classic ‘Nivea’ smell you instantly recognise, their After Sun Lotion is enriched with avocado and aloe vera to help soothe and calm the skin, and improves skin’s elasticity to prolong your tan. It’s a household favourite, and with good reason.

Shop now: Nivea Sun Moisturising After Sun Lotion With Aloe Vera for £4 from Boots

Be sure to always take care of your skin after being in the sun – even when you can’t see any visible damage.

And remember, post-sunshine skincare is essential any time your skin has been exposed to the sun’s rays – not just when it’s hot weather!

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