Sunburn Aftermath: Peeling Skin Help


Climbing the Ladder
Jul 14, 2008
Charlotte, NC
I did a search but nothing answered my question. I got sunburned about two weeks ago. It was my first sunburn. I'm olive complected so this has never happened. I think it was the result of my Acne meds.
Needless to say, It happened and my skin was nasty red but quickly tanned to a deep brown. Now it is peeling off like rotting dry skin. I look patchy and weird like I have some skin disorder. I have been trying to use moisturizer all day on it. I also have been using a Loofah in the shower with Victoria's Secret Bare Bronze scrub to get the dead skin exfoliated off. It doesn't seem to come off with the loofah but I can roll my hands over my arms and it seems to roll off into little tiny balls. Gross, I know.
Any suggestions? I really need to get this skin fixed before school in 1 week. I wanna be all glowy with a fake tan but I'm afraid to do it right now with all this dry skin hanging off my bones! Help!


Oh no she di-int!!
Jun 1, 2006
There's no way to "stop" peeling once it's started, no matter how much or what moisturizer you use, at least not in my experience. The dead skin needs to shed itself off. As you can see from my avatar, I'm super pale and have had a few bad sunburns unfortunately.

I don't know about fake tan over burnt, peeling skin - did you mean a tanning bed or a spray tan?

I would think a week would be enough time for peeling to finish?


Dec 14, 2007
Las Vegas, NV
I don't think you'll still be peeling in a week. I've gotten sunburned all my life and never had the peeling last more than 3-5 days or so. Just exfoliate in the shower and moisturize really well. It'll be fine!


May 14, 2008
Sunnyvale, CA
Aloe vera gel is very soothing for may not help stop or quicken the peeling process but it should help soothe the new skin that emerges after the peeling. Store the aloe vera gel in the fridge before really helps.


Nov 23, 2008
Got really burned two weeks ago at a ball game. Used some Aloe gel I got at the drugstore and it really helped - no peeling.


Sep 22, 2008
I wouldn't recommend using a loofah, that probably makes you peel more and you probaly want to peel as little as possible. I got a sunburn today (I guess the sunblock I was using wasn't waterproof) and I've been applying aloe vera gel constantly in hope of preventing peeling.


Apr 10, 2006
it's tropical
If you're using a prescription topical acne medication (like Retin-A or Retinol) you absolutely should be bathing in sunscreen before going outside, even if you don't intend to be in direct sunlight. You should be doing that anyway, but it's especially important if you're using medications like that.

What kind of moisturizer are you using? If it's cream based you should stop, as cream moisturizers only trap heat in the skin and it takes longer to recover. Aloe vera, like winnie and luvprada suggested is an excellent alternative :smile: The more pure it is the better! And be cautious with the exfoliating.. too much will turn your skin raw, especially if it's newly exposed since dead skin is coming off.

I hope you feel better soon! Sunburns SUCK!


Jun 10, 2009
Sunburns are miserable. Don't force your exfoliation or peel off any skin that isn't completely ready to go - you'll end up with scabs and worse long term pigment changes. Also, definitely don't go for a spray tan until your skin it totally healed - it could come out quite blotchy and make things look much worse.

Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize and realize that after the peeling is done, you may still have some irregularities of pigmentation which usually fade over time. Acne medicines, some antibiotics and many other meds can make you super sun-sensitive so regardless of your coloring, it's always worth asking your doctor or pharmacist about this when you start any prescription and lather up on the sunsreen while and after taking those meds.

Good luck and hope you're feeling better soon!