This Viral Sunburn Soothing Hack Might Actually Work

Last Friday, Texas-based mother of two Cindie Allen-Stewart, 34, shared a Facebook post featuring a photo of her sunburnt back and proof of her miraculous recovery, all thanks to an unconventional remedy — and it went super viral, with more than 223,480 shares and 48,000 comments.

Her sunburn, she said in the post containing all three photos, went away after applying this menthol-based shaving foam:

Allen-Stewart says her husband taught her the trick. He learned it from his mother, who got the recommendation from a doctor back in the day, according to Allen-Stewart.

It’s been a decade since she began using shaving foam to treat sunburn. Her go-to method involves applying it to the affected area and letting it sit for 30 minutes, at which point it dissolves and dries out a bit, which contributes to a cooling sensation. After, she’ll rinse off the residue, and repeat the whole process the next day if necessary. “It still takes a day after the last application to show you a significant difference,” she wrote. Three days passed between the before-and-afters above.

Although internet hacks can be unreliable, New York-based dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital’s Department of Dermatology, says this one may check out.

Menthol is added to skincare products for both its cooling and anti-inflammatory properties. Since it can calm inflamed skin, it may be a benefit in treating mild sunburns,” he says — with emphasis on the word mild: “If you have a severe burn or blisters in the skin, I do not recommend using this as an option.”

A better bet, in this case, would be to contact your doctor.

Above all, Dr. Zeichner recommends traditional post-sun skincare products. But if you’re dealing with red skin and tenderness, happen to have a menthol-based shaving foam on hand, and want to try this, leave it on no longer than 30 minutes and remove it immediately if you develop a burning or stinging sensation, he says. If any irritation occurs, rinse it off ASAP for relief.

Allen-Stewart prefers her method because you can rinse the foam off, and it doesn’t feel sticky like other products. “I have used aloe myself and it does soothe. However, I love this method because it works so fast,” she wrote of the product she’s long sworn by.

Now that her post has gone viral, she’s sharing advice with people who saw it: “I want to make sure everyone knows is this is not a sunscreen method,” she says. SPF FTW!

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