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How to find the best after-sun lotion

The best after-sun lotion

We’ve finally reached summer, a season alive with beach days, outdoor cookouts and drawn-out days in the sun. While sun protection is a must, even those most diligent about wearing sunscreen can find themselves with a sunburn. Unfortunately, people usually don’t notice sun-damaged skin until hours later. 

Applying after-sun lotion is an excellent way to experience sunburn relief. The top choice is Amara Beauty Aloe Vera Gel due to its natural formula and quick absorption. Continue reading to discover our other picks and learn more about after-sun lotion.

What to know before you buy after-sun lotion

Here are a few things you should know before purchasing an after-sun lotion. 

What does after-sun lotion do?

Too much exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun or an artificial UV source, such as tanning beds, causes sunburns. It’s vital to wear sunscreen to reduce your UV exposure and the chance of sun-damaged skin. However, even if your skin doesn’t look burned, it could still be damaged and benefit from an after-sun lotion.

While after-sun lotions usually cool the skin, they should also reduce inflammation, redness or pain caused by sunburn. Some products may even minimize damage to your skin cells. One of the primary purposes of after-sun lotion is hydrating your thirsty and sun-damaged skin. 

How to use after-sun lotion

You always want to apply after-sun lotion to clean skin. It’s essential to wash off chlorine, saltwater and sand before applying. The sooner you apply your skincare after sunburn, the sooner it can start soothing and repairing your sun-damaged skin. Unless expressly stated, you should be able to re-apply after-sun lotion as soon as you feel any pain or your skin feels tight. 

What to look for in a quality after-sun lotion

Here are some features to consider when buying an after-sun lotion.

Active ingredients

Here are some beneficial ingredients to look for which have been researched and clinically shown to reduce skin damage or symptoms caused by sunburn.

  • Aloe vera is present in almost every after-sun lotion, and for a good reason. It’s cooling and provides immediate relief from sunburn pain. It also has anti-inflammatory and moisturizing benefits.
  • Capparis spinosa is known as the caper bush. Capers contain a slew of antioxidants and vitamins, including vitamin A, vitamin E and niacin. 
  • Witch hazel is known to have anti-inflammatory tannins, which can help soothe the pain caused by a sunburn.
  • The oils in pistachio and pistachio skin are very healing and can aid in reducing sunburn. They can even protect your skin against UV damage.
  • Hydrocortisone will decrease inflammation, pain and itching caused by sunburn. 


When caring for your sun-damaged skin, opt for a product with a thinner formula. Thicker consistencies create an emollient barrier on top of the skin, trapping in the heat and exacerbating the inflammation. 

Many after-sun lotions will be thinner than your everyday moisturizers and provide hydration. Gels are light on the skin and also have an immediate cooling effect. Most gels will be high in aloe vera. You can even find after-sun lotions in a spray, which are easy to apply. All of these options are great, so pick a consistency that feels best on your skin.

How much you can expect to spend on after-sun lotion

You can find after-sun lotions ranging from $8-$35. The price difference varies depending on the size of the bottle and the quality of the ingredients.

After sun-lotion FAQ

Can I use after-sun lotion on my face?

A. Unless expressly stated, after-sun lotions are not meant to be applied on your face. They could contain oils or comedogenic ingredients that could clog pores.

Will after-sun lotion stop me from peeling?

A. The skin peels from being too dry due to the sun or a lack of moisture. While a moisturizing after-sun lotion can help prevent peeling, sometimes the sun damage is too deep to repair.

What’s the best after-sun lotion to buy?

Top after-sun lotion

Amara Beauty Aloe Vera Gel

What you need to know: This is an excellent product to use on sun-damaged skin, as it’s formulated with pure, cold-pressed aloe vera and no artificial additives. 

What you’ll love: Users love that it absorbs quickly and doesn’t feel sticky on the skin. You can also use this aloe vera gel as a leave-in conditioner, hair styling gel, aftershave or post-waxing treatment.

What you should consider: Some users don’t like the slightly watery formula. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top after-sun lotion for the money

Australian Gold Moisture Lock Tan Extender Lotion

What you need to know: This lotion not only moisturizes dry, sun-exposed skin, but also helps retain a tan.

What you’ll love: The large pump bottle is convenient and affordable for the amount of product included. Users love the scent.

What you should consider: It can feel a bit sticky on the skin directly after applying and contains parabens and alcohol.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration After Sun Lotion

What you need to know: This after-sun product combines lotion and gel ribbons to create a smooth consistency that moisturizes and cools down the skin.

What you’ll love: The main ingredients are shea butter, aloe and silk proteins to soothe the skin and offer sunburn relief. Many users love the coconut papaya scent.

What you should consider: It’s a small bottle and can feel sticky on the skin. It contains artificial ingredients and colors.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Bre Richey is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

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