We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.

Healthline only shows you brands and products that we stand behind.

Our team thoroughly researches and evaluates the recommendations we make on our site. To establish that the product manufacturers addressed safety and efficacy standards, we:
  • Evaluate ingredients and composition: Do they have the potential to cause harm?
  • Fact-check all health claims: Do they align with the current body of scientific evidence?
  • Assess the brand: Does it operate with integrity and adhere to industry best practices?
We do the research so you can find trusted products for your health and wellness.
Was this helpful?

If your skin has started peeling after sunburn, there are things you can do to stop it from getting worse. As tempting as it is, don’t pull your peeling skin off. Instead, allow it to slough off your body on its own, and try these suggestions.

Dry, peeling skin is most commonly a sign of damage to the upper layer of your skin (epidermis) caused by sunburn.

In less common cases, peeling skin can be a sign of an immune system disorder or other illness. If your peeling skin isn’t caused by a sunburn, talk to your healthcare provider before trying home remedies.

Here are some treatment methods and tips to stop the peeling once it’s started.

Take an over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever such as ibuprofen (Advil) or aspirin (Bayer).

These medications work to reduce the inflammation and redness surrounding your sunburn. They can also reduce the pain associated with having a sunburn.

Buy now: Shop for ibuprofen or aspirin.

Apply a topical anti-inflammatory cream to your sunburn, such as aloe vera or cortisone cream.

Or — as long as you aren’t allergic to aspirin — crush up a few aspirin tablets into a fine powder and add just enough water until it forms a goopy paste. Apply this to the areas of your body affected by sunburn.

Avoid petroleum-based or other oil-based creams as these may trap heat and make your sunburn and peeling even worse.

Try to moisturize right after you bathe, when your skin is still damp, to help seal in moisture.

Buy now: Shop for aloe vera, cortisone cream, or aspirin.

Take a cool (just below lukewarm) bath. This can help ease the pain of your sunburn and stop your skin from peeling further.

Avoid showering if your skin is blistered in addition to peeling, as showering may pop your blisters and trigger more peeling.

Do not use soaps or bath oils when you bathe. These can make your peeling worse.

Avoid rubbing your skin with a towel after you bathe. This can make peeling worse. Instead, pat your skin dry with a towel.

Place a cool, wet compress on your skin for 20 to 30 minutes to soothe irritation and stop peeling.

Be sure not to apply ice directly to your skin as that may cause further irritation.

Buy now: Shop for a cool compress.

Make sure you keep your skin hydrated by consuming at least eight 8-ounce glasses of clear liquids a day while you recover from your sunburn. This will help reduce peeling.

Protect your peeling skin from further damage by keeping it covered with clothing or a very thin layer of sunscreen with an SPF of 45 or higher.

Buy now: Shop for sunscreen.

In most cases, your skin will start to peel about three days after you get burned. Peeling usually stops when the burn has healed — about seven days for milder burns.

It’s important to monitor your sunburn for signs of a severe burn, including:

Sunburns of this severity require medical attention.

Sunburns — even ones that aren’t severe — can cause severe damage to your skin. Sunburns substantially increase your chances of possibly deadly skin cancer and put you at risk of premature aging.

Always protect your skin with clothing or sunscreen and avoid direct sun exposure by spending time outside when the sun is lowest in the sky — in the early morning and evening.