Tanning advice: How to turn sunburn into a tan – top tips

The UK is experiencing a heatwave, with many places forecast to see highs above 30C. I t’s important to wear a good sunscreen with a high SPF if you’re planning to go out in the sun. Sunscreen should also protect you from UV rays, and you can find out if your sunscreen has these protections on the bottle.

How to turn sunburn into a tan

Some dermatologists would argue there is no safe way to tan, and burning your skin is certainly not an advisable way to get a tan.

Sunburn can increase your risk of falling ill with heat exhaustion or heat stroke, and it is also widely known to increase your chances of getting skin cancer.

But if you do end up burning, it is important to take extra care while your skin heals.


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You must get out of the sun as soon as possible, and stay away to prevent further burning.

You should also wear a sunscreen with a high SPF, as this will help prevent further burning and will help your skin to heal.

By keeping your skin moisturised with products like aftersun cream or aloe vera, you will help to prevent your skin from peeling.

Sunburn usually goes away within seven days, depending on the severity of the burn.

So once your skin is fully healed, if you are looking for a safer way to tan this summer, many people swear by a fake tan as an alternative to baking in the sun.

There are plenty of different fake tan products available on the market for you to consider.

Dr Anjali Mahto, Consultant Dermatologist at the Cadogan Clinic, told netdoctor: “Using a fake tan is considerably safer than lying in the sun or tanning booth.

“Real tanning works by exposing you to UV radiation that damages the skin and increases the risk of skin cancer.”


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How to treat sunburn

There are a number of ways you can help your skin to heal after it has been burnt by the sun.

If you are sunburnt, you need to get out of the sun as soon as possible.

The NHS recommends you cool your skin with a cool shower, bath or damp towel.

You can also apply aftersun cream or spray, like aloe vera.

Drink plenty of water to cool down and prevent dehydration, and you can take painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen for any pain.

It is important to cover sunburnt skin from direct sunlight until the skin has fully healed.

Despite what you may have heard, the NHS does not recommend using petroleum jelly on sunburnt skin.

You should also avoid putting ice or ice packs on sunburnt skin, nor should you pop any blisters.

The NHS adds you should try not to scratch and should not try to remove peeling skin, and do not wear tight-fitting clothes over sunburnt skin.

If your skin is blistered or swollen, you are running a high temperature or you feel hot and shivery, you should call NHS 111 or your GP urgently.

If you feel tired, dizzy, sick, have a headache or muscle cramps, or your baby or young child has sunburn, you should also seek medical advice.

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