A sunburn always seems like an inevitable symptom of summer — and the healing process after a sunburn always goes the same way: lathering our bodies in aloe before waiting for the peeling to start. That’s why Facebook user Cindi Allen-Stewart’s sunscreen hack went viral. Instead of waiting for the itching and burning to go away only to have your skin shed itself in unsightly layers, you could slap on some shaving cream and watch your burn disappear in minutes. But is it good to use shaving cream for a sunburn? Doctors aren’t convinced Allen-Stewart’s methods are the best sunburn treatment, so here’s what they recommend instead.
In her Facebook post, Allen-Stewart suggests using any kind of menthol shaving cream, applying a layer over the burn without rubbing it in, and letting it sit for 30 minutes. “The shaving cream will seem like it has dissolved in spots. It will seem like it’s not as moist and a little dried out. You will feel as if you’re becoming a little cold, at least on the sunburned part of your body. THAT IS A GOOD SIGN!” she wrote. Then, you’re supposed to wash off the foam with lukewarm water. If you’re still red and sore the next day, Allen-Stewart says to repeat the entire process again.
When you see the before and after photos, it’s hard not to run immediately to your husband’s shaving kit and grab that can of shaving cream — though you really shouldn’t! Even though Allen-Stewart wrote that a doctor shared this shaving cream for sunburns trick with her mother, this method doesn’t come with 100-percent doctor approval. “As an anti-inflammatory, menthol may be useful in calming sunburned skin,” Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, told Elite Daily. “While a menthol-containing shaving gel may be useful in treating mild sunburns, I personally would recommend [a] traditional post-sun skincare cream as first-line treatment.”
“Menthol can be soothing by making the skin feel cooler and reducing the sting of a sunburn, but it wouldn’t really impact the redness much,” Sarika Banker, MD, told New Beauty. “I usually recommend cool compresses and hydrocortisone one percent two to three times per day for a few days until redness has subsided. For blistering sunburns, you should see a dermatologist as you may need additional treatment to avoid infection.”
Of course, if you can remember to put on sunscreen before you head out as well as throughout the day, you can reduce the likelihood that you get sunburned in the first place. Fortunately, there are a ton of cheap sunscreens that work just fine.