Summer is winding down but there’s still plenty of time to spend outdoors in the sun, and get – ouch! – sunburned. Fortunately, there’s a whole host of natural remedies for sunburn, either to make or to buy. Of course, the best remedy is to not get burned at all, so stay protected as much as possible!
Why Treat a Sunburn?
Beyond the obvious – reducing pain – it’s important to care for your burn to minimize further skin damage. To that end, keep your post-burn skin healthy by moisturizing, staying hydrated, and avoiding the temptation to pick at flaky or blistered skin.
Do You Need to Visit the Doctor?
Sometimes the burn is so bad that no remedy for sunburn will work. Visit the doctor if you experience any of these symptoms:
- fever, nausea
- significant pain
- heavy blistering
- infection, such as oozing, swelling, and extreme pain
Natural Remedies for Sunburn: Home Remedies
A Cool Bath Soak
A cool bath soak will help alleviate the pain. To avoid drying out your skin, limit the soak to about 15 – 20 minutes. Add some of these natural ingredients to ease your discomfort:
- Baking soda helps maintain the skin’s pH levels and reduces swelling and redness. Add about 1 – 2 cups to your bath.
- Essential oils, such as lavender or chamomile oils, will help reduce stinging. Add some drops to the bath.
- Oatmeal is great as an itch-reliever and moisturizer. Using a blender or food processor, make a finely ground powder from natural whole oats. Add about 1 cup to your bath.
- Apple cider vinegar is a natural antiseptic that will help balance your skin’s pH levels and reduce blistering. Add 1 – 2 cups to your bath. Note: The acidity may be too irritating for bad burns. In addition, don’t apply to broken, blistered skin.
Apply a cool compress saturated with healing, soothing ingredients to calm irritated skin:
- Water and Ice. Sunburns can dry out your skin, so make sure to drink lots of water. Cool off with an ice pack (wrapped in a cloth), applied gently to the affected area. Or, try a cool, wet washcloth, patted on burned spots. Don’t scrub!
- Tea’s anti-inflammatory properties can help lessen swelling. Brew green, chamomile, or black tea, then soak a cloth in the tea bath before cooling it down in the fridge. Teabags applied to sunburned eyelids can soothe puffy eyes.
- Witch Hazel liquid is made from the leaves, bark, and twigs of the witch hazel plant. Apply it to sunburned skin to reduce swelling and inflammation. Test a small area of skin first to rule out any allergic reactions.
Natural, Homemade Ointments
Need relief fast but you don’t have time to get to the store? Check your pantry for these items to make your own natural remedies for sunburn:
- Baking Soda. Make a paste with water and apply directly to the skin for 10 – 15 minutes. Gently remove.
- Oatmeal paste. Grind 1/2 cup of oats in a blender or food processor. Mix with water and 1 – 2 tablespoons of honey. Gently pat on affected skin for 10 – 15 minutes.
Natural Remedies for Sunburn: Products
Aloe Vera Products
Products that contain aloe vera help soothe the pain and moisturize. Avoid applying any of these to broken skin.
- Aromatica Aloe Vera Gel is a fast absorbing, light gel made with organic aloe vera.
- Badger Aloe Vera is an unscented gel, bottled in a BPA, recyclable tube. Made with organic and Fair Trade Certified ingredients.
After-Sun Pain Relief
- Herbaliz Sunburn Relief penetrates damaged skin immediately, soothing and healing damage from overexposure to the sun. Naturally anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anti-oxidant. Contains aloe, lavender essential oil, rosehip, and Vitamin E. Cruelty free and vegan.
- Coola Radical Recovery After-Sun Lotion includes lavender oil, along with aloe vera and rosemary extract.
- Pink Horizons After-Sun Relief is made to soothe sunburn soreness and redness. Includes aloe vera, rosehip oil, and chamomile extract.
Moisturizers, Lotions, and Oils
Wait until after the first 24 hours to moisturize to let your skin cool down. Remember, don’t use any of these on broken skin.
- Badger After Sun Balm conditions and soothes parched skin, gently and naturally. Ingredients include pure, organic essential oils.
- Prodigal Sun oil blend contains organic chamomile, carrot seed, lavender essential oils, cold pressed sesame seed oil, coconut, rosehip seed, and Sea Buckthorn. It’s recommended as a before and after sun product for deep skin hydration to relieve redness and dryness.
- Aquaphor. My family accuses me of thinking all ailments can be solved with Aquaphor. Not all, but it is pretty useful for many skin problems, including sunburns. I also think it’s hands down the best lip balm.
- Organic to Green Coco Oil. EWG verified, this coconut oil comes in six scents. For sunburn relief, I recommend the chamomile and vanilla scent, but all are all-natural and gentle as moisturizers for irritated skin.
Some Last Tips ….
Even when the burn and stinging dissipates, keep moisturizing with natural oils and lotions.
Wear Loose Clothing
Avoid further sun exposure. It’s always important to cover up when you’re in the sun, but it’s particularly important to protect sensitive skin while you’re waiting for your sunburn to heal. Wear loose clothing to let your skin breathe. It’ll feel better as well!
Wait till you’re healed before applying makeup.