It happens to the best of us. You're outside, enjoying yourself, and the sun — which feels amazing in the moment — scorches down from above. Ah, bliss. But then, a few hours later, you feel a tightness overtake the top layer of your skin; then sensitivity to touch; then the glow appears: a bright red burn across your neck, shoulders and back.
Sometimes you're forgetful. That's OK — even when it comes to sunscreen. But, let your burns be a lesson: always wear sunscreen. Every single day! Hopefully doing so will prevent you from ever needing the products in this piece. Mistakes can happen even when you're using sunscreen though. You might not have reapplied as religiously as the packaging instructed. Water could've washed some of it off; working out or simply moving around could've, too. Perhaps your aim when using a spray bottle needs a bit more practice. No matter how it happened, sunburn hurts — sometimes superficially more than it does your actual epidermis — and you'll count the hours until it heals. Aloe can help.
Aloe vera — aka burn or medicine plants colloquially or Aloe barbadensis scientifically — is a cactus-like plant found in hot, dry climates: think Arizona, California and Texas. Its leaves retain moisture and store a gel within. Peeling or cutting one open will reveal it. Fit for use raw, although processing provides protection from fungus or toxins, this substance soothes sunburn by both cooling it to the touch and moisturizing and restoring the skin deeper down.
Plenty of companies make products infused with Aloe vera. In fact, few are synonymous with aloe itself. The ingredient is almost always referred to in its own right; 'I need some aloe. Aloe will help.' However, we've rounded up all those that do, offering you insights on the best aloe gels, lotions and sprays. Get out in the sun, and get these if you get burnt.
The Best Aloe Vera Gels
Gels are our time-to-get-shit-done selection. These boast most concentrated amount of aloe, thus being the most effective at battling sunburn. Grab these for your most severe cases, or keep a few bottles in the back of your cabinet just in case — or for when your sensitive friends come around.
The Best Aloe Vera Lotions
Think of lotions as a second step. For some, the sunburn might be mild and best treated without over-the-top lathering. Instead of using your usual lotion, opt for one with a a significant amount of aloe within. Some experts argue 70-percent aloe or higher proves most effective, but if you're only seeking to hydrate stressed skin and not immediate relieve intense redness, something lower will work, too.
The Best Aloe Vera Sprays
Did you get a tan this week? Do you want to make sure your skin stays smooth through a few more days on the beach? Use a spray to gently refresh sun-kissed skin or to cool skin that's not burnt but a bit warm.