No matter how it happened, it still hurts. Sunburns are painful! And all of us (minus those of you with enviable olive skin) are at risk of burning if we don’t take precautions when out in the sun. Even if we have the best of intentions, things happen. Sunscreen gets left behind at home. We don’t reapply every 3-4 hours or after swimming. We miss spots when rubbing or spraying it on. Or we figure that half an hour in the sun without sunscreen won’t do any harm. Well, I’m here to tell you that any unprotected time under the intense rays of the sun is enough time for a sunburn to happen. As a fair-skinned, redheaded beach goer with two little red-headed boys, I know better than anyone that we can go from happy, frolicking wave jumpers to scorched lobsters in no time flat. I’m talking 20 minutes. So when a fun day at the beach takes a turn for the worst, turn to these natural sunburn remedies for quick, soothing relief.
While these remedies can’t do much for the aging effects that a sunburn has on the skin, such as wrinkles and sun spots, they will offer much-needed pain relief and can reduce the redness and inflammation that a sunburn leaves behind. If your sunburn results in blisters, do not use any of the essential oils listed below. Choose between aloe, oatmeal, or cool water to treat blisters. These natural sunburn remedies are quick and easy to make. No expensive ingredients or lotions needed! Try one or all of them to see which works the best for you!
Soak in the Tub
Vinegar bath-Run a cool bath and add 1 C of apple cider vinegar under the running water. Vinegar acts as an astringent and helps to ease the pain of a sunburn. However, do not use vinegar if your sunburn has blistered and you have raw, exposed skin.
Baking soda bath- Sprinkle baking soda into a cool bath. Relax in the tub for 15-20 minutes and let the baking soda mixture soothe your skin. When you get out, do not dry off with a towel. Let the baking soda dry on your skin so that it can continue to soothe the pain.
Make a Soothing Concoction
Apple cider vinegar + coconut oil- Add apple cider vinegar to a wet washcloth and gently brush it or dab it over the sunburned area. You should immediately feel relief from the sting of the sunburn. Once your skin has air dried, apply solid coconut oil to your skin by gently rubbing it over the sunburn. As it melts onto your skin, it’ll start to soothe your skin and reduce the redness caused by the burn. If you’d like, you can add a few essential oils (EOs) to the coconut oil before rubbing it on your skin. Add a drop or two of lavender for added healing, or a drop of peppermint for instant cooling. However, do not add EOs if your skin has blistered.
Apple cider vinegar + herbs- Boil 1 C of water. Add 2 Tbsp each of lavender flowers, dried mint leaves, and dried plantain leaves. Remove from heat and let it cool. Strain out the herbs once it’s cooled. Add an equal amount of the apple cider vinegar to the herb mixture and pour into a spray bottle. Spray onto sunburn and let it dry on skin.
Aloe vera ice cubes- Using an aloe vera plant, cut (don’t tear) 3-4 healthy leaves off of it. Stand them up in a bowl or vase with the cut ends at the bottom. The aloe gel will leak out of the stems and pool in the bottom of the container. After about 20 minutes, collect the gel and pour it into an ice cube tray. You can also cut the outer layer of the leaves off and scrape more gel from inside the leaves. Place the tray in the freezer. Make these in the morning before you head out to the beach or the night before.
Relief from Your Kitchen
Yogurt- Simply spread a layer of plain yogurt on your burned skin. It instantly soothes burned skin and it feels oh so good! Aaahhhh ….
Oatmeal- Make an oatmeal compress by wrapping dry oats in cheesecloth or gauze. Hold it under the faucet and run cold water over it for a few minutes. Discard the oatmeal and apply the compress to your skin for about 15 minutes. Repeat every 2 hours for sunburn relief.
Tea bags- For the perfect sunburned eye lid compress, turn to the tea bags in your pantry (green or black tea). Soak them in cold water and gently lay them on burned lids. You’ll instantly begin to feel relief from the tannic acid in the tea leaves that works to pull heat out of the sunburn.
Lettuce leaves- Boil a few green or red lettuce leaves. Strain them and then put the liquid in the refrigerator to cool for a few hours. Dip a cloth or cotton ball into the liquid and gently apply it to the skin. The lettuce offers analgesic properties that ease the pain of a sunburn.
Cornstarch- In a bowl, make a paste out of cornstarch and water. Apply this directly to the burned area for instant pain relief. Wash it off after 10-15 minutes.
Witch hazel compress- Moisten a cloth or cotton balls with witch hazel and gently apply to your sunburned skin. This astringent offers anti-inflammatory relief to reduce swelling and can also diminish the possibility of an infection from a bad sunburn.
Cold compress- Get a soft washcloth wet with cool water. Ring it out and gently lay it on your sunburned skin. When you notice that it’s warmed up from your body heat, run it under cool water again and reapply to your sunburn. Do this as many times as you like. Add a few drops of EOs (lavender or peppermint) to the washcloth if you wish for added healing benefits. The cool water will not only soothe the burn, but it will help by decreasing inflammation.