We all know how important it is, to lather sunscreen on our skin, don’t we? Any visit to a dermatologist will warrant the good ol’ advice on how one must use sunscreen every few hours, especially when they step outdoors. And, yet a majority of us, fail to do so! Well, I fall into that category. Call it laziness, forgetfulness, or a busy schedule, sunscreen is easily the last thing that comes to my mind when I step out. Or at least, until I moved to Texas, a few months ago and was forced into a hunt for sunburn remedies! Here is why!
Within a few weeks of moving to the cowboy capital of the world, I found my otherwise non-bothersome skin, dry and burnt from the harsh sun! And, there began my pursuit to find remedies that were natural and could pamper and soothe my skin to normal again! Today, I share with you 15 of the remedies, that I think will do wonders in healing sunburnt skin. Many of these remedies are hand me down, that I heard about growing up with my granny. A few of them have been sourced from forums, where users can’t stop raving about their efficacy!
But, before we go into sunburn remedies, let us first understand how do we get sunburnt?
Everyone loves being outdoors and having fun in the sun. But if you are not careful, you can get a red, painful sunburn as a result of over-exposure to the harmful UV rays of the sun. You can experience serious symptoms when you have a severe sunburn, including dehydration, fever, blistering and swelling. Your skin cells can also become inflamed and damaged. The pain may become worse in the next day or two, and in about a week, the damaged skin may start peeling.
Fortunately for you, like I said earlier, there are tons of home remedies you can use for sunburn. They are simple and require ingredients that you probably have at home. Let us take a look at some of the best natural sunburn remedies.
Treating Sunburn Naturally At Home
Here are some of the top home remedies to treat sunburn naturally and effectively:
Now, this is a remedy that helped soothe my skin almost instantly. If your skin is inflamed, look no further than ice! Apply ice water soaks or a cold compress to cool it down and help the burn heal a little faster. This will relieve inflamed and painful burns caused by the harsh rays of the sun. I found relief from the very first application. Here is how you can use ice to soothe your sunburnt skin!
• Add a couple of ice cubes to a bowl of tap water.
• Soak a cloth in it and place it over the affected area.
• Repeat the process as you notice the cloth getting warm.
• Apply a few times a day for stretches of 10 to 15 minutes.
Your granny was right when it comes to skin problems, there is nothing like aloe vera. What I like most about aloe is it is non-sticky, light and smells lovely, unlike the many OTC tubes that you can find at Walmart! This amazing plant can eliminate complications of sunburn, like redness, itching, and irritation and cause constriction of the blood vessels. Want a sunburn remedy that offers multiple skin benefits? Go for aloe vera.
• Take as many aloe vera leaves as you need and split open to extract the juice or gel
• Apply it directly on the affected area.
• Do this, 5 to 6 times a day until your condition improves.
This is a remedy all you pretty damsels who like to soak up some sun will find rather handy. Spent all day at the beach under the sun only to get a nasty, painful sunburn? What you need is a soothing, cool oatmeal soak. You will be surprised to know the many benefits of a quick oatmeal bath! This will help in soothing pain and itching and make you feel better in no time.
• Run a cool water bath in your bathtub.
• Wrap dry oatmeal in a muslin cloth and place it in the water for a few minutes and then remove.
• Soak in your cool oatmeal bathwater for 15 to 20 minutes.
• Remember not to use soap as it can dry your skin and cause more irritation.
• Pat your skin dry gently and moisturize as usual.
• Repeat as many times as needed to relieve the symptoms of sunburn.
Yes, you heard it right! Potatoes not just make great fries, but also a wonderful and inexpensive remedy to treat sunburns. Throughout the years, potatoes have been known to relieve pain, being particularly effective for minor skin irritations and in soothing burns, bites, and scratches, and possibly reducing inflammation as well. You can try potato slices or potato juice to treat your sunburn, or both and see which one works best for you. I remember my granny generously applying a paste of potato over the affected area to soothe the affected area. I tried it and found great relief from both pain and the burning sensation that accompanies sunburns.
• Grate or blend 2 well-washed potatoes with the peels on.
• If they seem a little dry, add a little water.
• Soak cotton balls in the liquid and apply to the affected area.
• You can also soak gauze in the potato juice and lay it over the affected area.
• Repeat as many times as you need to until you notice an improvement.
Yet another granny’s remedy, cornstarch not only makes great pies, puddings, and sumptuous gravies but also helps alleviate a number of skin conditions. With its silky, cool texture, cornstarch is a great way to soothe your sunburn naturally. If you do not have any at home, you can also use baking soda to get much-needed relief from the pain and discomfort that comes with a sunburn. They can also help in reducing the red appearance of the burn.
• Take as much cornstarch or baking soda as you need, depending on the size of the area you need to cover.
• Slowly add small amounts of water to whichever ingredient you are using until you get a paste-like consistency.
• Apply the paste gently over the affected area and leave it on until pain, heat or discomfort has let up a little.
• Rinse off completely and gently pat dry.
• Repeat as often as you need to.
Mint and Green Tea
No matter what it touches, mint cools and soothes it naturally – the same goes with sunburns. Its aroma is rather soothing too. Green tea is no less potent and contains theobromine and tannic acid that both when applied topically, help in relieving pain and healing damaged skin. I simply love green tea and generally run out of it. If you too have run out of green tea, black tea works just as well. Want to soothe your skin and ease sunburn symptoms? Try this remedy today.
• Add 5 green tea bags and 3 cups of fresh mint leaves, to a pan.
• Pour in 1 quart of boiling water and cover the pan with a lid.
• Let it sit for about 1 hour to allow the ingredients to release their goodness.
• Strain and then chill in the refrigerator.
• Once chilled, soak a clean soft cloth or cotton pads in the liquid and apply directly on the affected area. If you wish to do so, you can also pour the liquid over the burn.
• Do this as often as you need to until your burn feels better.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Noticed how apple cider vinegar always seems to be on lists of home remedies for skin problems? It is a powerful ingredient with loads of goodness for treating various skin conditions, including sunburns. For best results, use pure unfiltered organic ACV with the mother and keep in mind that it works most effectively after a tepid or cool shower. While the best brand is undoubtedly Bragg’s, you may also try other alternatives for similar results.
• Fill a spray bottle with pure, unfiltered ACV.
• After a water-only shower, spritz the vinegar onto your burn.
• You can also soak cotton balls in ACV and apply it to the affected area.
• Allow it to dry naturally and leave it on.
• Repeat this remedy until your condition improves.
Cool Milk Compress
Want to know one of the simplest, quickest and most affordable sunburn remedies? All you have to do is look inside your refrigerator and get out that carton of milk. The milk’s initial coolness will help in easing the heat and also creating a protein layer to protect your skin, further soothe discomfort and help your burn heal.
• Pour some milk into a bowl – high enough to thoroughly soak your compress (a clean, soft cloth or gauze).
• Saturate the cloth or gauze and allow the excess milk to drain off.
• Drape it across the affected area and press it gently to ensure that it stays in place.
• Leave it on for as long as you need to.
• When the milk becomes room temperature, chill it again before you re-dunk your compress.
• Follow this up with a generous application of Aloe vera gel
• Repeat as often as you need for best results.
Homemade Burn Salve
Did you know that you do not need to buy a burn cream from the local drugstore to treat your sunburn? With a few ingredients, you can make a DIY burn salve. All of the ingredients are effective in relieving sunburn. You can experiment and add or subtract different ingredients to see which one works best for you.
• Mix 2 tablespoons of fresh water, 1 teaspoon of aloe vera gel and 1 tablespoon of witch hazel in a small bowl.
• After stirring well, cover with a lid to allow the ingredients to blend and infuse for 2 hours.
• Then, add 2 to 4 teaspoons of cornstarch or baking soda and 1 or 2 cups of roughly chopped fresh mint leaves.
• If you think the mixture is too runny, slowly add more cornstarch or baking soda. If you think it is too thick, slowly add water in small amounts until you reach the desired consistency.
• Next, store the mixture in an airtight jar and store in a cool, dark place for 24 hours so that the cream can infuse completely.
• Apply as and when you need to treat sunburns.
If you are somebody who stocks plain yogurt in your refrigerator, you are in luck! It is one of the best home remedies for sunburn. The enzymes and probiotics in it are so rich, it can heal your skin and also help you recover faster from red, burning skin. Make sure that the yogurt you use to treat sunburn is plain and contains probiotics.
• Apply 1/2 a cup of plain live-cultured yogurt to your face to treat facial sunburn. You can use more for larger affected areas.
• Apply cool yogurt directly to the affected area with clean hands and leave it on for at least 5 minutes.
• When the pain from the burn subsides, rinse it off gently with tepid or cool water.
Now, this is a no-brainer! Cucumber is one of the best sunburn remedies out there! It not only soothes sunburns because it is cool but promotes further relief from pain and discomfort and healing with its analgesic and antioxidant properties. You can apply cucumber to treat sunburn in many ways. No matter what method you use, you can be sure that the pain, swelling, and redness will diminish in no time.
• For quick pain relief, cut a chilled cucumber into slices and lay them on the affected area.
• Flip them when the first side gets warm.
• For an effect that lasts longer, chill 1 or 2 cucumbers and blend them to make a paste.
• If you want the paste to be a little thicker, you can add in some cornstarch or aloe vera.
• Apply the paste all over the affected area and leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes.
• Rinse off with cool water and gently pat dry.
• Repeat as often as necessary until your condition improves.
It might seem a little strange but lettuce leaves really do work wonders in relieving the pain, irritation, and discomfort that comes with nasty sunburns. This is another really simple remedy that you will find helpful in soothing your skin and easing the symptoms of the burn.
• Boil a couple of lettuce leaves in water.
• Once done, strain and allow the liquid to cool in the refrigerator for a few hours.
• When the liquid has cooled, dip cotton balls into it and gently stroke or press onto the affected area.
• Repeat this remedy several times a day for best results.
Sandalwood and Turmeric
This is a remedy my granny swore by! These two ingredients have been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries to treat a wide range of skin problems. Now you know that you can use it to treat sunburn too! Sandalwood soothes the skin with its cooling properties while turmeric heals damaged skin caused by sunburn. Both also work effectively to quickly relieve pain as well.
• Mix equal amounts of sandalwood and turmeric with a few tablespoons of milk to create a smooth paste.
• Apply it to the affected area and leave it on for about 15 to 20 minutes.
• Wash off thoroughly with tepid or cool water.
• Repeat once daily until your condition improves.
Almond and Milk
Another paste that you mum or grandmum may have advocated, and works really well in treating sunburn naturally is an almond and milk paste. This is one of the most simple yet effective natural sunburn remedies you can find. All you need is two ingredients so it is not just simple, but low cost as well.
• Soak a handful of almonds in water overnight and grind them the next day.
• Mix the ground almond paste with milk until you get the desired consistency.
• Apply the almond milk paste all over the affected area and leave it on for as long as you wish.
• Rinse off thoroughly with cool water.
• For best results, repeat 2 times a day.
A less known remedy, Witch Hazel too can help alleviate symptoms of a bad sunburn within a few applications. Like tea, witch hazel contains tannins, compounds that are known to help in the treatment of sunburn. These chemicals can help in reducing swelling, repairing damaged skin caused by sunburn and keeping nasty bacteria away.
• Add about 2 tablespoons of witch hazel in a small bowl. The amount you need will depend on the size of the affected area you need to cover.
• Soak a clean, soft cloth or cotton balls in the liquid.
• Dab on just enough witch hazel to cover the affected area – it does not need to drip off.
• Reapply as and when you need to for relief from pain and reducing the swelling.
As you can see, there are many great sunburn remedies to treat sunburnt skin naturally. Along with these natural treatments, make sure that you drink plenty of water and fluids as your body will be dehydrated as well. With the help of these sunburn remedies and fluid intake, you can get relief from the pain, discomfort and other symptoms of sunburn and speed up the healing process as well. Forget about store-bought ointments and creams – trust these home remedies to heal your sunburn.