What to Do If You're Sunburned on Your Wedding Day

A bright-red burn so does NOT go with your white wedding dress

Updated 07/10/18

Ani Dimi / Stocksy United

A sunburn sucks at any time, but facing a fresh sunburn on your wedding day is downright tortuous. If your pre-wedding day of fun in the sun has burned you (literally and figuratively speaking), you might be panicked, in pain, and scrambling for some sunburn remedies. A bright-red burn so does not go with your white wedding dress, and the last thing you want to resemble in your wedding photos is a lobster.

Luckily, there is some good news: With these simple steps and sunburn remedies, you can help limit the redness and discomfort, and then hopefully rely on your makeup artist to take care of the rest.

For the proper skin-care tips to manage a sunburn on your big day, we spoke with Joshua Zeichner, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, for expert guidance.

First Steps

According to Zeichner, “a sunburn on the day of your wedding is a skin-care emergency,” so it's best to it avoid in the first place. Don't forget your daily SPF, especially in the days leading up to your wedding. But of course, accidents happen; and when they do, Zeichner recommends "to make sure to take care of your skin from the inside out and outside in."

Your first task to remedying an ill-timed burn? Cleanse and hydrate. Zeichner explains, “When you get a sunburn, the skin barrier is disrupted and the skin is inflamed, so it’s important to use hydrating cleansers and moisturizers.” He warns that you should stay away from harsh exfoliating products and opt for gentler options instead. Products you may want to try include Dove Deep Moisture body wash and Vaseline Intensive Care Aloe Soothe lotion.

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Second Steps

Next, continuing with the “inside out” healing factors, Zeichner suggests taking an oral anti-inflammatory pill that can calm the skin from within. This might also help with some of the pain and discomfort you might be feeling. (Just be aware of any potential medication interactions that can occur if you plan on indulging in alcohol on your big day.)


In the event of a bad burn that results in any open or raw skin, you’ll need to also apply an antibiotic ointment like Bacitracin to prevent any infection. You’ll also want to be careful when applying any other topical lotions and moisturizers on this type of broken skin too.

If you’re peeling, combat it with moisturizing properties, rather than just exfoliation. And, Zeichner adds, “try to avoid picking off peeling skin as much as you can.”

And finally, to prevent itch and keep you as comfortable as possible, Zeichner says to “apply over-the-counter 1% hydrocortisone cream to sunburned areas. Not only will it help calm inflammation, but it can help reduce the redness.” He recommends CeraVe hydrocortisone anti-itch cream.

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Dangers of Sunburn

While it might be a bit too late now, it’s important that everyone—not only brides—be reminded how important sun protection is.

While you might be chasing bronzed skin, the risks and dangers of overexposure are simply not worth it. Instead, explore healthier and safer options like self-tanners or professional airbrush applications, and always use an SPF of 30 or above prior to exposing yourself to the sun’s harmful UV rays.

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