1 / 14
The best cooling, calming and healing aftersuns to save your skin
The products on this page have been tested by our editorial team. If you buy something we write about we may earn an affiliate commission.
A good aftersun is essential first aid when you've overdone it a bit on your sun lounger, but it's also pretty handy for preventing peeling and prolonging your tan.
With so many out there, we've asked the experts for some pointers as to what to look for in a cream or lotion that's truly going to cool and heal UV-frazzled skin. "Aftersun should have a rich skin-nourishing agent such as shea butter in it to not only hydrate but calm skin after a day in the sun," says Sam Richardson, co-founder of sun care brand Saltee. "A regenerative agent is important for skin repair too." Look ingredients such as anti-oxidant vitamin E or pomegranate extract for this.
"Aloe vera is also a wonderful ingredient after sun exposure," adds skincare expert Dr Barbara Sturm. "It has a cooling effect on the skin and contains a vast storehouse of nutrients."
Dr Sturm has another piece of advice: "While many of us love the scent of summery aftersuns, if you're burned or you have sensitive skin, it might be wise to avoid fragranced products," she says. "With aftersun the goal is to soothe and calm the skin, and to do that you need gentle, non-aggressive ingredients. Added fragrance, colour or acids can damage skin barrier function and cause more sensitivity."
Texture-wise, gels are great for soothing hot skin, while creams tend to be better for long-term nourishment. "Gels are lightweight and have a watery consistency meaning they can be gently applied to the skin and will sink in effortlessly, whereas creams have to be massaged in - not always what you want when you have sore, sunburned skin," says aesthetic nurse Anna Baker .
Here's our selection of the best gels, lotions, creams and sprays for your after-sun needs.