How to Heal & Treat Peeling Skin | Tips for Sunburn Recovery

How to Heal & Treat Peeling Skin | Tips for Sunburn Recovery

Peeling skin can be an uncomfortable and unsightly aftermath of sunburn or certain skin conditions. It is not only bothersome but also a clear sign that your skin needs some tender loving care. If you're looking for effective ways to heal and treat peeling skin, you've come to the right place. In this article, we will explore various methods to promote skin recovery and alleviate the discomfort associated with peeling skin.

Peeling Skin Causes & Why Sunburns Peel

Peeling skin is a common occurrence and can be attributed to various factors, with sunburn being one of the primary causes. Understanding why sunburns peel and the underlying reasons for peeling skin can help in developing effective strategies for prevention and treatment.

Why Does Sunburn Peel?

Sunburn is caused by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or artificial sources like tanning beds. When the skin is exposed to excessive UV radiation, it triggers a cascade of events leading to inflammation and damage. The body's immune response is activated, resulting in an increase in blood flow to the affected area. This leads to the redness, warmth, and pain commonly associated with sunburn.

One of the key reasons why sunburns peel is due to the impact of UV radiation on the outermost layer of the skin, known as the epidermis. UV radiation damages the cells in the epidermis, specifically the keratinocytes. These cells play a crucial role in maintaining the skin's integrity and barrier function. When the keratinocytes are damaged, they trigger a response to shed the damaged cells and replace them with healthy ones. This shedding process manifests as peeling skin.

Studies have shown that sunburn-induced peeling occurs as a result of apoptosis, a programmed cell death mechanism. The damaged keratinocytes undergo programmed cell death to eliminate themselves and make way for the regeneration of new skin cells. This process is a natural part of the skin's renewal cycle and plays a crucial role in removing damaged cells and maintaining the overall health of the skin.

Aside from sunburn, excessive dryness, certain skin conditions, and harsh environmental factors can contribute to peeling skin. Dry skin lacks sufficient moisture and becomes more susceptible to flaking and peeling. Skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, or allergic reactions can also cause peeling. Harsh environmental factors like cold weather, low humidity, or exposure to chemicals can strip the skin of its natural oils and disrupt the skin barrier, leading to peeling.

Tips for Healing and Treating Peeling Skin

Hydration and Moisturization

Hydration and moisturization play a crucial role in healing and soothing peeling skin. Hydrating the skin from within by drinking an adequate amount of water helps maintain its overall health and moisture balance. It promotes the natural functioning of the skin cells and aids in the regeneration process.

In addition to internal hydration, applying moisturizers topically provides an extra layer of hydration and helps trap moisture in the skin. When choosing a moisturizer for peeling skin, look for ingredients known for their soothing and hydrating properties.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is a popular choice as it has anti-inflammatory properties and provides a cooling effect, soothing the discomfort associated with peeling skin. It also contains polysaccharides that help retain moisture in the skin.

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is another effective ingredient known for its ability to hold moisture. It has a unique capacity to attract and retain water, leaving the skin hydrated and plump. Ceramides are lipids naturally found in the skin's barrier. They help prevent moisture loss and strengthen the skin's protective barrier, promoting hydration and healing.

Be Gentle

When applying moisturizers, it's important to do so gently. After cleansing, pat the skin dry with a soft towel, leaving some moisture on the skin's surface. Apply a thin layer of moisturizer and gently massage it into the skin using upward motions. Pay extra attention to the areas that are peeling. Repeat the application two to three times a day or as needed, depending on the severity of peeling and dryness.

Everyone's skin is unique, so it's important to find a moisturizer and application frequency that works best for you. If you have specific concerns or sensitivities, it's advisable to consult a dermatologist or skincare professional for personalized recommendations.


Remember, consistent and diligent moisturization is key to maintaining hydration and supporting the healing process of peeling skin. Be patient, and with time and proper care, your skin will regain its health and radiance.

Sunburn Relief

Sunburn can cause discomfort and lead to peeling skin. To alleviate sunburn-related peeling and soothe the affected area, there are several measures you can take.

Cool Compression

To soothe the discomfort and reduce inflammation, apply cool compresses to the affected areas. Cool compresses are effective in providing relief from the heat and discomfort of sunburn. Apply a clean, soft cloth soaked in cool water to the affected areas for 10-15 minutes at a time. This can help reduce inflammation and provide temporary relief.

Taking a cool shower or bath can also help soothe sunburned skin. Avoid using hot water, as it can further irritate the skin. Instead, opt for lukewarm water and gently pat the skin dry afterward.

Over-the-Counter Remedies

Over-the-counter creams or gels containing aloe vera can provide soothing relief for sunburned skin. Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties and can help calm the skin while providing hydration. Apply a thin layer of the aloe vera gel to the affected areas and reapply as needed.

For severe cases of sunburn, over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams or gels can be used for additional relief. These products help reduce inflammation and itching associated with sunburn. Follow the instructions on the packaging and consult a healthcare professional if you have any concerns or questions.

Oatmeal Baths

Taking oatmeal baths can help soothe peeling skin. Add finely ground oatmeal to lukewarm bathwater and soak for 15-20 minutes. Pat the skin dry gently and apply a moisturizer afterward.

Topical Remedies

Aloe vera gel, known for its soothing properties, can be applied to the peeling skin. It provides hydration and helps alleviate inflammation. Calendula cream or ointment, derived from marigold flowers, can also aid in healing and soothing the skin.

Future Sun Protection

Remember, it's important to take measures to prevent further sunburn and protect your skin from UV damage. Wear protective clothing, such as hats and long sleeves, seek shade when the sun is strongest, and apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 regularly.

If you experience severe pain, blistering, or signs of infection, it's essential to seek medical attention promptly. A healthcare professional can provide appropriate treatment and further guidance for sunburn relief.

Avoid Picking or Peeling

When dealing with peeling skin, it is crucial to avoid irritants and harsh treatments that can worsen the condition and delay the healing process.

Picking or peeling the skin forcefully can cause further damage, increase the risk of infection, and prolong the time it takes for the skin to heal. It is important to let the skin shed naturally and resist the temptation to pick at it.

Gentle Cleansing

When cleansing your face or body, opt for mild and gentle cleansers. Harsh soaps or exfoliators can further irritate the peeling skin. Use lukewarm water and pat dry gently with a soft towel.

During the healing process, it is best to avoid harsh chemicals, fragrances, and exfoliants that can further irritate the skin. These can strip away the skin's natural oils and disrupt the healing process. Instead, opt for gentle cleansers specifically formulated for sensitive or peeling skin. Look for mild, fragrance-free options that won't cause additional irritation or dryness.

Avoid using abrasive scrubs, brushes, or loofahs on peeling skin. These can be too harsh and exacerbate the peeling or cause discomfort. Opt for gentle cleansing techniques using your hands or a soft washcloth. Pat the skin dry gently with a soft towel instead of rubbing it.

By avoiding irritants and opting for gentle care, you allow the skin to heal naturally and promote a faster recovery. It's important to be patient and give your skin the time and gentle treatment it needs to regenerate and restore itself.

Promoting Skin Repair and Recovery

Promoting skin repair and recovery is essential for healing peeling skin. Incorporating certain ingredients and natural remedies, along with a healthy diet, can help support the healing process.

Products containing ingredients like vitamin E, niacinamide, and peptides can provide beneficial effects for peeling skin. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect the skin from damage and supports its healing. Niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, can improve the skin's barrier function, reduce inflammation, and promote a healthy complexion. Peptides are amino acid compounds that support collagen production, which is essential for skin repair and elasticity.

Natural remedies like coconut oil and honey have moisturizing and healing properties. Coconut oil is rich in fatty acids that help hydrate and soothe the skin. Honey has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, providing a gentle and natural option for promoting skin repair.

In addition to external care, maintaining a healthy diet is crucial for overall skin health. Consuming a diet rich in antioxidants, such as fruits, vegetables, and green tea, can help protect the skin from further damage and support its repair process. Essential nutrients like vitamins A, C, and E, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, are also beneficial for skin health and regeneration.

Remember, while these ingredients and natural remedies can support the healing process, it's important to listen to your skin and determine what works best for you. If you have any specific concerns or sensitivities, consult a dermatologist or healthcare professional for personalized advice and recommendations.

Medical Intervention

In some cases, peeling skin may require medical intervention, especially if the symptoms are severe, persistent, or accompanied by additional complications. If you notice that your peeling skin worsens, becomes infected, or does not show signs of improvement despite practicing proper home care, it is advisable to seek medical attention.

A dermatologist, a specialized healthcare professional in skin conditions, can provide a thorough evaluation and offer appropriate treatment options based on your specific situation. They can diagnose any underlying skin conditions, prescribe medications if necessary, and provide expert guidance to help alleviate your symptoms.

Additionally, if you experience severe pain, excessive swelling, fever, or other concerning symptoms alongside your peeling skin, it is crucial to consult a healthcare professional promptly. These signs may indicate a more serious condition that requires immediate attention.

Remember, seeking medical intervention when needed ensures that you receive the appropriate care and guidance to promote healing and prevent complications. Your dermatologist can provide personalized recommendations and help you navigate the best course of action for your specific situation.

Skin Peeling On Your Face

When dealing with peeling skin on your face, it is important to follow the steps mentioned above for treating and healing peeling skin in general. However, there are a few additional considerations specific to the face.

First, be gentle when cleansing and moisturizing your face. Use a mild cleanser specifically formulated for the face and avoid scrubbing or using harsh exfoliants. Pat your face dry with a soft towel instead of rubbing it.

Secondly, be cautious with applying any products or cosmetics on your face while it is peeling. Avoid using heavy makeup or products that may further irritate the skin. Opt for lightweight, non-comedogenic moisturizers and minimalistic makeup, if necessary.

Lastly, protect your face from the sun. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 daily, even on cloudy days. The sun can exacerbate peeling and further damage the skin.

By following these additional steps and continuing with the recommended treatments and care for peeling skin, you can help promote healing and restore the health of your facial skin. Remember to be patient, as the healing process takes time, and consult a dermatologist if your symptoms persist or worsen.

Best Way to Heal Peeling Skin Overnight

While complete healing of peeling skin may not happen overnight, there are several steps you can take to promote faster recovery and healthy skin healing.

First, ensure your nighttime skincare routine focuses on gentle care and deep hydration. Cleanse your face with a mild cleanser suitable for sensitive skin to remove impurities without stripping away moisture. After cleansing, apply a nourishing moisturizer with ingredients like aloe vera or hyaluronic acid to soothe and hydrate the skin overnight.

Consider using a topical treatment specifically formulated for sunburns or peeling skin. Look for products containing ingredients like aloe vera, vitamin E, or hydrocortisone to provide relief, reduce inflammation, and support the skin's healing process. Apply these treatments as directed before bed.

Using a humidifier in your bedroom can help maintain a moist environment, preventing further drying of the skin. Additionally, you can try placing a damp, clean cloth on your face while you sleep to provide extra moisture.

It's important to note that forcibly peeling the skin or using aggressive exfoliants to make sunburn peel faster is not recommended. These practices can cause further damage and delay the healing process. Instead, focus on gentle care, hydration, and promoting a healthy skin barrier to support natural healing.

While complete healing may take time, following these tips can help expedite the healing process and provide relief from discomfort. Remember to consult a dermatologist if you have any concerns or if your symptoms worsen.

How To Avoid Peeling Skin In The Future

To prevent peeling skin in the future, it's important to understand the roles of sunscreen and moisturizer in skin health.

Sunscreen is crucial for protecting your skin from the damaging effects of the sun's UV rays. It acts as a barrier, shielding your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays that can cause sunburn, skin damage, and ultimately, peeling. Using a high-quality sunscreen, such as the HOP Skin Repair Sun Cushion Broad Spectrum SPF 50, PCA Skin Active Broad Spectrum SPF 45, or Skin Script Sunscreen SPF 30, is essential to provide adequate sun protection and minimize the risk of peeling.

Moisturizer, on the other hand, helps nourish and hydrate the skin, keeping it healthy and resilient. Well-moisturized skin is less prone to dryness, which can lead to peeling. Applying a moisturizer regularly, like the ones available at The Beauty Strip, can help maintain the skin's moisture barrier, improve skin hydration, and reduce the likelihood of peeling.

By combining the use of sunscreen and moisturizer, you create a comprehensive defense against both external aggressors and dehydration. Sunscreen protects your skin from the harmful effects of UV rays, while moisturizer ensures your skin stays hydrated and resilient. Incorporating products like the HOP Skin Repair Sun Cushion, PCA Skin Active Broad Spectrum SPF, and Skin Script Sunscreen into your skincare routine can help prevent peeling skin and maintain overall skin health.

Remember, consistency is key when it comes to sun protection and moisturization. Apply sunscreen generously before sun exposure and reapply as needed, following the recommended instructions on the product packaging. Likewise, moisturize your skin daily, morning and evening, to keep it nourished and hydrated. Read our other blog on how to apply moisturizer and SPF for additional tips.

Back to blog