Can You Really Use Shaving Cream To Treat A Sunburn?

Summer weather is upon us, and that means beach days, pool parties, and barbeques among plenty of other outdoor activities. We all know that if we plan to spend more than fifteen minutes outdoors, we need to wear a good sunscreen on our faces and bodies (via Harvard Health), but if we're honest, life sometimes gets in the way of being perfectly punctual with our sunscreen application. Maybe we decided to take a beach trip right after work and didn't pack sunblock. Maybe we got caught out on a boat longer than we expected and forgot to re-apply. Whatever the reason, sometimes sunburn happens, in spite of our best intentions. 

When it does, the itching, burning, heat, and discomfort can be truly disruptive to our lives, so finding a quick and effective remedy is necessary. But what if you're fresh out of aloe and don't think your fragranced body lotion is a good idea? Some people say your best bet is to reach for something you probably have in your medicine cabinet already: shaving cream. But does it really help?  

Does shaving cream really help a sun burn?

According to Healthline, shaving cream can help to soothe a sunburn, and the reason actually makes perfect sense. Shaving cream is designed to both prepare skin for shaving by creating a moisturized and emollient surface, and it is also meant to soothe and calm skin that can become irritated during the process of shaving. Tsippora Shainhouse, MD, FAAD, and owner of Rapaport Dermatology of Beverly Hills, tells Healthline that "Shaving can cause skin irritation, so shaving creams often contain ingredients that reduce temporary redness and soothe inflammation." Such ingredients might be menthol, chamomile, Vitamin E, green tea, aloe, or shea butter.

While professionals generally agree that aloe gel and similar products are probably still the holy grail for sunburn healing and relief, many doctors also agree that shaving cream is an effective backup plan. Susan Massick, MD, a dermatologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, tells Women's Health that in order to soothe a sunburn with shaving cream, you should apply it to the affected area twice daily. You can leave it on for 20-30 minutes and then should rinse it off with lukewarm water. Leaving it on longer can become uncomfortable as shaving cream tends to dry out.