Can Shaving Cream Cure a Sunburn? What Dermatologists Say About Mom's Viral Tip

Cindie Allen-Stewart from Texas swears by shaving cream after a bad burn.

Spend a little too much time in the sun? Slap on some shaving cream.

That’s the secret family remedy of one Texas mom when it comes to treating her and her kids’ sunburns.

“I burn, then do the shaving cream, and then the next day, it’s usually gone,” said Cindie Allen-Stewart, of Mount Calm.

The mother-of-two explained that right after she, her children, or her husband suffer a sunburn, she lathers a thick layer of menthol-based shaving cream on the burn.

“You don’t want to just put it straight on your back because it’s really cold,” Allen-Stewart told “You want someone to put it on their hand and rub it on.”

Then, she said to leave the shaving cream for about 30 minutes before washing it off with lukewarm water.

“You’ll start to feel a little chilly from the menthol drying all that heat out of you,” she explained.

For a bad burn, Allen-Stewart recommended redoing the procedure the following day, but most times, she said, the burn will be gone within several hours of the shaving cream treatment.

"And I rarely ever peel," she said.

After sharing pictures and a tutorial on Facebook, Allen-Stewart’s post quickly went viral.

"I didn’t even know it was new for everyone else," Allen-Stewart said.

She explained her mother-in-law passed down the trick she learned 40 years ago, and although she used to take up to two weeks to heal from painful, peeling and blistering sunburns, the shaving cream trick saved her and her kids from sunburned summers.

Dr. Ross Radusky of SoHo Skin and Laser Dermatology in New York City explained to why the simple trick works.

"If you look at the ingredients of shaving cream, it’s really a great moisturizer," Radusky said. "It has a lot of coconut oil, coconut butter or derivatives of it. That’s actually what gives it some of its thickness and why you sort of lather it on."

Glycerin, which helps heal the skin, and menthol, which cools the skin, are other ingredients to look for when shopping for a shaving cream.

However, Radusky said to exercise caution when applying it to the face, as the thick and oily mixture could cause acne-prone skin to break out.

"Things like coconut oil are highly comedogenic, meaning they create lesions of acne," he explained. “When we shave, we put it on our skin for 10 or 15 seconds or up to a minute. But when you want to leave it on like the mom suggests and let it sort of do its job, you are definitely going to be dealing with an acne breakout later on.”

He also warns that those with sensitive skin should only use a shaving cream they have used in the past on sunburns, as having an allergic reaction on top of a sunburn can be uncomfortable.

"It almost could look like the rash of poison ivy and that’s the last thing you want to do to yourself," Radusky said.

Caretakers should also be aware of other symptoms of sunburn, Radusky said, including dehydration, chills or mild fever that should be treated with plenty of water and rest.

Radusky explained, "Your skin is made up of almost 70 percent water, so you can imagine if you’re blistering and you’re causing those cells to separate, all that water is going to evaporate and you can feel signs of dehydration, lightheadedness, headache."

Above all, he emphasized the importance of covering up and wearing proper sunblock to prevent a burn, as well as long-term damage.

"The other part is burning can actually cause skin cancer — the more sun exposure you get, the more likely you are to develop this," Radusky said. “The most important thing is to try and avoid the sun as best as you can."