Should I Work Out With a Sunburn? A Skin-Care Expert Answers

You spent your first week of summer vacay soaking up the sun on a beach in Maui or Cancun, drinking delicious fruity cocktails and breathing in the salty ocean air. But you forgot to reapply your sunblock, and now the color of your skin slightly resembles that of a lobster.

What’s the best way to treat a sunburn? And should you go to the gym or work out with a sunburn? Skin-care expert Dr. Jacqueline Schaffer, creator of Schique, answers your burning (pun intended) questions.

Don’t exercise if you’ve been sunburned

Schaffer advises against exercising if you’ve been burned. Why? Sweat is saltwater, and salt will irritate your already inflamed skin.

“When you’re in an acidic type of state, it’s going to be harder for you to recover, and when you exercise, you go into a more acidic state because you’re burning fat,” Schaffer adds. “Do not exercise. Your body needs all the time it can to recover.”

Best way to treat a sunburn

“The best way to treat a sunburn is to immediately get inside. Get cold compression and aloe vera. It’s natural; it’s best for your skin,” Schaffer advises. “Another thing is to do chamomile essential oil. Avoid lavender because a lot of people are actually allergic to lavender and don’t realize it. Chamomile is a clean and soothing essential oil.”

If you’re trying to take care of your sunburn naturally and you don’t want to take ibuprofen, Schaffer also recommends drinking green tea, which causes blood vessel constriction and can help lower inflammation.

Which sunblocks to buy

For your next vacation, stock up on some chemical-free sunblock—and make sure it’s sunblock, not sunscreen, Schaffer says. “Sunblocks have reflectors. And sunblock is actually formulated to stay on top of your skin. Nothing gets absorbed into your epidermis.”

Schaffer recommends natural, toxin-free sunblocks like La Roche-Posay and Badger.

“When you’re looking for sunblock, make sure it has titanium dioxide in the formula,” she says. “It’s really one of the best ways to block the UV rays and one of the healthiest ingredients you’re going to put on your skin.”

Photo credit: Rutger Geleijnse, Unsplash; Courtesy of Jacqueline Schaffer