Sunburns are probably everyone’s least favorite thing that comes with summer, beaches and sun. People overstay in the sun, forget to reapply sunscreen after swimming, or forget to apply it in the first place, and they happen. The skin becomes red and warm, it starts to itch, burn, or simply hurt. The topmost layer of the skin might start to peel, and if the burn is more serious, blisters will appear. And while ideally nobody should be in the position to have to deal with sunburns, most of us will, so it’s useful to know how to treat them.

First of all – there are no quick fixes for sunburns. Your skin will need time to heal, and you should be prepared for that. Now, when you notice you’ve got sunburn, the first thing you should do is cool down the burned area. You can go for a cold shower, or apply cold compresses. If you’re taking a bath, you should add some cider vinegar – around one cup of it – to the bath, as it will help keep the pH of the burned area balanced.

Applying cool milk to the area is often recommended. Also, covering it with yoghurt is the traditional way of dealing with sunburns in countries where yoghurt is a common foodstuff. You don’t want to keep the yoghurt on for too long, though, so remove it after 10 minutes. You can reapply it a couple of times in one day.

Lotions with aloe vera are known to sooth sunburned skin, and oatmeal baths are known to help with sunburns, especially when they’re itchy. Cortisone cream can be used to reduce the inflammation that comes with sunburns, as can ibuprofen, which can also relieve you of some pain. Taking an aspirin will do the same thing. Of course, if there are any reasons you shouldn’t take these drugs – like allergies or other conditions – don’t take them.

And that’s pretty much all there is to it. You should make sure you drink plenty of water, because the sunburn might have left you dehydrated. Also, if blisters appear, try not to pick at them or puncture them – they have their purpose, and although they might be unsightly, they do good work. And remember – the best way to deal with sunburns is to avoid getting them.