How to Cover Up and Treat Sunburns for Your Wedding

A woman with a bad sunburn and tan lines

We’ve all seen pictures of a beautiful bride in her gorgeous flowing gown with bright red tan lines accenting her shoulders and back. We’ve seen the groom’s face covered in red splotches with his elegant tux. Whether it’s a beach wedding where there’s just been too much sunbathing or a church wedding where a day at the lake turned you into a lobster, there’s ways to help cover and treat a sunburn for your big day. There’s no promise you won’t be left with some gnarly tan lines, but at least you won’t be a tomato in your wedding photos.

Moisturize and Calm Your Skin STAT

Bright, red skin doesn’t just look painful, it often leaves you writhing in pain as well. You don’t want to be totally uncomfortable on your wedding day. You can begin to alleviate the pain with proper skin care. If you just start to throw makeup at the redness, you’ll only leave the actual skin irritated.

Aloe vera plants and lotion

Soothe your burned skin and begin to moisture as quickly as possible. You can wash your face with a mild cream cleanser first with cool water. Don’t reach for anything that contains alcohol. Not only will it burn, it will also dry out the skin even more. Aloe is a great place to start when applying treatment to your skin. Aloe often takes away a bit of the sting and will even help the inflammation go down, meaning you aren’t left as red.

Put a heavy moisturizer on the skin instead of regular lotion to hydrate it as much as possible. You will need to reapply this throughout the day (if you have time before your wedding) because the skin is so thirsty that it’s just absorbing every bit of these products. Drink a lot of water along with treatment. Anything you can do to hydrate your entire body will help heal your skin. You can also pop an aspirin or Tylenol to help with inflammation.

Primer, Foundation, and Concealer

There is no magical way to fade a sunburn. It’s natural to want to just throw as much foundation as possible at your skin in hopes it will erase any redness. This could actually make it look worse and you might start to resemble a clown. It’s best to begin with a light application of primer. If you can find a primer that has a green or yellow tint, you’ve hit the jackpot. These colors help neutralize redness.

You want to make sure your any products you use are cream-based instead of powder. Powders provide more of a matte look. It’s best to mix your moisturizer with foundation. This will hydrate your skin while working on your tint. Your foundation should be a shade darker than your normal skin tone as this helps blend the colors together.

If your sunburn is more of a spot job like “raccoon eyes” from wearing shades in the sun, concealer is your best friend. You can dab a bit on the darkest areas then blend with your foundation.

Makeup brushes, foundation, and bronzer on a table

Magical Bronzer

It may sound crazy to apply a bronzer over red skin, but it could be the secret to the perfect color. Bronzers help you look darker without bringing out the red in your skin. A gold toned bronzer will tone down the overall redness and give you a more natural color. The only problem with using bronzers is if you’re trying to be rid of tan lines on the shoulders and back next to your pristine white dress. Be very careful when applying the bronzer and always put a layer of moisturizer underneath so it sticks to the product instead of your dress. The only other thing to fear with bronzer is applying too much on your face and looking more like “Tan Mom” than Barbie. Keep a good balance and make sure the color isn’t too dark, overshadowing your entire face.

Play Up Other Features

If you’re face is bright red, it’s best to bring out the best in your eyes and lips. Don’t wear the candy apple red lipstick or fun pink eyeshadow. Neutral colors are best when you’re trying to downplay the sunburned clown look. Put on a few extra layers of mascara to play against a more natural eyeshadow. Highlight areas of the brow bones and lash lines so they sparkle, taking the attention away from your red cheeks.

Play with different colors to see what works best with your face. This isn’t your normal skin tone so your everyday makeup colors can make your entire face look different. You don’t need to look like an entirely different person just because you’re trying to cover up a sunburn.

A woman puts lotion on a shoulder sunburn

Treatment After The Big Day

You want to prevent peeling as much as possible. Sometimes the skin is so sunburned there’s just not enough lotion in the world to keep it from peeling. Other times you have hope. Lotions with Vitamin C or E as well as ceramides work best to keep skin from flaking. Always put moisturizer on your skin before applying makeup. You can put aloe on your skin throughout the day. Even though it feels a bit sticky, it does wonders for your skin. Keep downing that water and try to stay away from alcohol as much as possible. You’re probably headed to your honeymoon filled with fun fruity drinks so just be sure to drink water alongside the alcohol. Keep sunscreen on your skin at all times to prevent further damage.

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