It happens. Even if you typically take sun safety very seriously—wearing a hat, using mineral sunscreen and heading for the shade after 15 to 20 minutes—you can still get caught off guard and end up with a sunburn. And when you do what you need most is some soothing relief.
Natural sunburn relief
Following are nine natural ways to quickly calm your sunburn so you can start healing.
1. Aloe vera:
There’s a reason aloe vera tops almost every list of sunburn cures ever created. It’s one of fastest, most effective ways to soothe the pain and start the healing.
Keep an aloe plant in your home and use the gel straight from the plant whenever possible. In a pinch store-bought gel works too. Just make sure it’s 100 percent pure aloe vera.
To take this time-tested treatment to the next level, try freezing the gel in ice trays. The additional chill will be especially nice on hot skin.
2. Baking soda:
Stop the sting with baking soda. Add two cups to a cool bath, and soak the pain away. When it’s time to get out, don’t rinse or dry off. Let the soda and water mix dry on your skin for longer lasting results.
3. Corn starch:
Combine a few tablespoons of corn starch with just enough water to form a paste. Gently spread the paste over the affected areas. The starch will immediately go to work helping to pull the heat out of the burn, so you start to feel better fast. Once your skin has cooled a bit, rinse and gently pat dry.
The same compounds in cucumbers that help reduce the puffiness around your eyes during a spa day can help relieve the inflammation from a sunburn. Plus antioxidant cucumbers are natural pain relievers, which mean they help to kickstart the healing process while they cool and soothe.
Blend chilled cucumbers until you have a mash, then gently spread the paste over the burn. Leave on for at least 20 minutes, then rinse.
5. Green tea:
Multitasking green doesn’t just taste good, it turns out it can help you tackle your sunburn, too. The tannic acid and theobromine in the green tea leaves act as topical pain relievers and support healing. Brew strong green tea and let cool. Then you have a few options for how to use it.
- Pour directly over the sunburn. Don’t rinse but let dry.
- Soak a clean, soft cloth in the tea. Apply the compress to the burn.
- Apply the cool teabags themselves directly to the affected skin. This is especially good for smaller areas, like eye lids, cheeks and nose.
Use cool, not cold, full-fat milk (if you have it) for this one. Soak a clean cloth in the milk and very gently lay the cloth directly on the reddened skin. The proteins in the milk will form a protective coating over the burn, while the cool liquid delivers instant pain relief. Let the compress sit for 15-20 minutes.
Oatmeal can be used in a bath or a compress to calm a sunburn. For either method start by filling a clean sock with whole oats (quick cooking oats are fine, but not instant) and tying it off tightly.
Method one is to place the sock into a cool tub and climb in for a soothing soak. Method two is to soak the sock in a bowl of cool water for 10 minutes, discard the oats and toss the sock into the laundry. Next soak a clean cloth in the oatmeal infused water, and apply as a compress to the burn.
8. White vinegar:
Using white vinegar to soothe a sunburn might leave you smelling a tiny bit like a salad. But it works so well you won’t mind.
The acetic acid in the vinegar is a topical pain killer, providing relief on par with an NSAID, but without the side effects. You can either add a cup of white vinegar to a bath and soak, or fill a spray bottle with undiluted vinegar and mist your skin.
9. Talcum powder:
Trying to sleep with a sunburn can be miserable. Sprinkle your sheets with talcum powder to help reduce the friction so you can get the rest your body needs to heal.
Let’s face it, summertime can distract any one of us long enough to become the victim of a sunburn. So when it does turn to these nine natural sunburn soothers to get some relief.