The (Surprising) First Thing You Should Do When You Get a Sunburn

Ever fall asleep on the beach only to wake up and find your shoulder the color of a certain shellfish you were hoping to eat for dinner? You probably want to dip into an ice-cold bath posthaste, but actually the first (and most helpful) thing to do after getting sunburned is to pour yourself a glass of milk. We’ll explain.

What you need: A clean washcloth, a small bowl, a few ice cubes and a bottle of skim milk.

What you do: Pour the ice and milk into the bowl and soak the washcloth in it. Wring out the washcloth and apply it to wherever your skin is burned.

Why it works: Proteins in the milk coat the skin (as opposed to evaporating off like plain ol’ H2O) and help to repair a damaged barrier. And skim milk is best because there is a higher amount of protein in it since the fat has been removed, says Dr. Joshua Zeichner, a dermatologist and Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research at Mount Sinai Hospital. Ahh, sweet relief.