Last updated: September 1, 2021

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Everyone knows how important sunscreen is for taking care of your skin and avoiding the damage from UV rays but not many people know how beneficial after sun lotion can be for your health. Spending excessive time in the sun, even with the right level of protection, can cause lifelong and irreversible damage. After sun lotion is essential to properly care for your skin after sun exposure to reduce the level of damage and visible effects.

After sun lotion plays a major role in skin care, not only to reduce the impact of the sun's rays but also to lessen the severity and effects of the wind, heat, saltwater, and sand. The following guide will tell you all the information you need to know about after sun lotion.


  • It is critical to avoid performing skin exfoliation, depilation, and further sun exposure until at least 48 hours after applying after sun lotion.
  • After sun lotion does not eliminate the negative effects caused by excessive sun exposure, it only helps to revitalize and moisturize already damaged skin.
  • The components of after sun lotion, and whether it has a light or creamy texture, will tell you if this product is suitable for your skin type.

The Best After Sun Lotion in the United Kingdom: Our Picks

Choosing the perfect after sun lotion can be a complicated decision as there are so many products on the market. That's why we have created a list of the best after sun lotions on the market based on price, quality, and customer feedback. Take a close look at the products below to find an after sun lotion that best suits your needs!

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About After Sun Lotion

Now it's time to learn all about the functions of after sun lotion, its important properties, its advantages and how to properly use it. There are many myths regarding after sun lotion, which are necessary to clear up to avoid misinformation being spread. Never forget that after sun lotion does not replace sunscreen and vice versa!

Beautiful women's leather.

Using an effective after sun lotion after sun exposure helps to keep your skin in optimal condition.
(Source: Olegdudko: 83158980/ )

What exactly is after sun lotion?

After sun lotion is a moisturizing product that, when analyzed from the point of view of its formulation, contains many of the same ingredients as any other moisturizing cream. However, the difference with after sun lotion is that it contains more "active" soothing components such as aloe vera, bisabolol, allantoin, vitamin E, almond oil, shea butter, avocado or calendula.

After exposing your skin to an excessive amount of sun, it is these "active" components that perform skin rehydration. Rich in vitamins and minerals, after sun lotion works by helping to repair, cool, and moisturize dry skin. After sun lotion is available in many different forms: gels, lotions, moisturizing milk, serums or creams that can be chosen according to each skin type.

Joshua ZeichnerDirector of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai
"Even low levels of UV light can affect the skin, causing both skin-barrier disruption and inflammation, in addition to damage to collagen and skin cells’ DNA".

Why is after sun lotion recommended?

Excessive time in the sun and overexposure to harmful UV rays can cause capillary inflammation and skin damage. Both sunburn and skin inflammation can take a couple of hours to appear after exposure to the sun, which is why you don't need to wait until your skin turns red to apply after sun lotion. Also, remember that sunscreen never offers 100% UV protection.

It is important to note that you don't necessarily have to be sunburned for long-term damage to be caused. Even light tanning will cause damage to the skin cells and is a sign that you've been in the sun for too long.

Below we have created a table to explain the key differences between after sun lotion and standard moisturizing cream:

After sun Moisturizing cream

Relieves burning sensation

Reduces skin inflammation

Acts immediately

Provides fast treatment

Refreshing and natural compounds

High proportion of water

Promotes skin elasticity

Keeps skin healthy

Provides long term benefits

Daily treatment

Nourishes the skin

More oil than water

What are the benefits of using after sun lotion?

There is a common myth among many people that after sun lotion reduces the damage caused by the sun. Unfortunately, while it hydrates the skin and reduces discomfort, once you've been exposed to the sun without protection, the damage has already been caused. There are however some benefits that can be found from using after sun lotion that go beyond reducing the pain caused by sunburn. It is recommended to always use after sun lotion, even if you don't feel or see any sunburn on your skin. After sun lotion can provide the following benefits if used effectively:

  • Preserves the skin cells
  • Prevents skin peeling
  • Accelerates the tissue recovery process
  • Soothes dry, hot, and irritated skin
  • Decreases hyperpigmentation
  • Helps to reduce wrinkles
  • Helps prolong tanning
  • Prevents premature aging
  • Moisturizes the skin

girl applying cream

It is recommended to use an after sun lotion to relieve the burning sensation of the skin.
(Source: Bowie15: 74498068/

How does after sun lotion work on the skin?

When UV rays from the sun come into contact with your skin, damage is caused by the dangerous light rays that penetrate through the Earth's atmosphere and the ozone layer. The result of UV damage is the skin on the human body ages prematurely. After sun lotions are antioxidant products that help to neutralize the damage caused to the skin and significantly reduce the painful symptoms of sunburn.

How do I apply after sun lotion?

After being exposed to the sun for a sustained period, the first thing to do is take a cold or warm shower. This will help soothe your skin and wash off the saltwater if you have been at the beach. After a shower, you can apply the after sun lotion to all the parts of the body that were exposed to direct sunlight. It is important to remember to give your skin some time to recover after sun exposure. As such, you should avoid harsh or irritating skin cleansers in the days immediately after sun exposure and postpone hair removal until your skin has healed properly.

After sun lotion contains many different ingredients that provide different benefits. Here are the most important components and their benefits:

  • Calendula plant: Promotes cell renewal
  • Aloe vera: Refreshes and heals the skin
  • Mint: Antiseptic and antibacterial
  • Allantoin: Stimulates tissue regeneration
  • Thermal water: Refreshing, calming and healing
  • Vitamin E: Antioxidant that prevents aging
Lorraine ShrivenerDirector of Eden Skin Clinics
"Aloe vera has been a trusted skin savior for many years. With its immediate cooling effect to the skin, it’s a firm favorite for post-sun care."

In what formats is after sun lotion available?

When you arrive home after a long day in the sun, wind, sand or sea, your skin needs all the hydration it can get. After sun lotions are the perfect product for this situation, but there are many different formats that can make the decision a little more difficult. To help you with this tricky decision, we list the most common types of post-sun products below:

  • Spray: if the exposure to the sun was extreme and you are unable to even touch your skin, an after sun spray is the perfect product. By using the spray format you will avoid rubbing your hand on your delicate skin at the moment of the application.
  • Gel: if your skin is irritated, apply a gel that contains aloe vera. Gels are generally more refreshing than lotions because their formulation is based on aloe vera, sage, peppermint or camphor.
  • Lotion or cream: if your skin looks dry or dehydrated after sun exposure, lotion or cream after sun products are the best suited. These after sun products should be fresh and easily absorbed by the skin, even if they contain a large number of lipids in the form of oils.

Two woman applying cosmetic hand cream home spa.

After sun lotion softens your skin if it is irritated.
(Source: Undrey: 55593108/

Who is more susceptible to the sun and should use after sun lotion?

There are some people who are more susceptible to sunburn and are at greater risk to the dangers that the sun poses. If you are in one of these groups mentioned below, then purchasing an after sun lotion should be a top priority:

  • You have light or pale skin
  • If you have freckles
  • Your hair is red or light
  • You live or are visiting places close to the equator
  • You are at an altitude, such as in the mountains
  • If you use a tanning bed
  • If you take medication that increases your sensitivity to the sun

Buyer's Guide

In addition to all the information you've learned so far, there is still a number of things to share with you. The following five aspects are essential for making a purchase that will meet all your needs. Read the sections below so that you can make a successful after sun lotion purchase.


Depending on the results you want to achieve, after sun lotion is presented in three different formats by the manufacturing components:

  • Soothing: if they have ingredients such as aloe vera, menthol or calendula, these after sun products will provide anti-inflammatory and refreshing results.
  • Antioxidants: with vitamins E and C components, these after sun lotions help to heal and moisturize the skin to regain its natural appearance.
  • Regenerators: due to the natural qualities of vitamin A, C, and allantoin, regenerating after sun lotions work to regenerate and repair cells. This further works to delay skin aging.

 suntan lotion / sunscreen - young multiethnic couple on beach

You should never forget the importance of using sunscreen when exposing your skin to direct sunlight.
(Source: Maridav: 17153725/


Depending on your skin type, and what suits you better, there are after sun lotions that come in different textures as mentioned below:

  • Creamy texture: this texture is ideal for normal or dry skin, as well as very sensitive skin. This is often used as a lotion or cream that rehydrates the skin and provides it with all the nutrients it needs to be healthy.
  • Light texture: this texture is ideal for oily or combination skin, as it is quickly absorbed. This type of lotion is ideal in the form of post-solar gels that relieve the burning sensation from the skin.

Health Standards

There are a number of different certifications that guarantee that the products you buy comply or do not comply with the pre-established regulations. Some of the establishments are Cosmebio (an association that requires products made with natural ingredients and of natural origin), Ecocert (certification body for sustainable development) or ICEA (Institute for Ethical and Environmental Certification), among others.


Most after sun lotions contain many of the same ingredients that you will find in all types and brands. However, each product usually has its own specialty beyond simply moisturizing the skin after the sun. Depending on what you require, you can find after sun lotion to reduce wrinkles, to refresh and soothe the skin, to stop oxidation or to enhance and prolong tanning. Choose the product with the particularity that best suits your needs or situation


Many after sun lotions contain alcohol as a part of their composition. It is necessary to verify the percentage of this ingredient in order to purchase a product that will not cause further damage to your skin. The percentage of alcohol should always be low when it comes to an after sun lotion, however, if you have extra-sensitive skin, then look for an after sun lotion that is completely alcohol-free to avoid irritations.


It never hurts to remember that an after sun lotion doesn't minimize or reverse the effects or damage caused by excessive sun exposure or sunburn. You should also remember that sunscreen should always be used when you leave the house and come into direct contact with the sun. However, as sun exposure is inevitable in the lives of almost everyone, after sun lotion can help to care for your skin and reduce many of the symptoms of sunburn.

We hope that you now understand much more about after sun lotions after reading this guide and that you now know which product is right for you. If you still have doubts about which product is right for you or if you recently experienced excessive sun exposure, we suggest that you consult your doctor for professional advice.

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(Source of Featured Image: Melpomen: 82432307/