Sunburns are the worst but there are plenty of simple ways to get natural sunburn relief at home. These soothing remedies will have you feeling better fast!
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Natural Sunburn Relief Remedies
Spend a little too much time in the sun and forgot to reapply sunscreen? It happens to the best of us. Next thing you know, you’ve got a painful sunburn and you need relief. Turn to these helpful natural sunburn relief remedies you can easily do at home.
A bad sunburn will cause inflammation of the skin cells so grab some ibuprofen first chance you get. A decrease in inflammation will help your skin heal quicker from a sunburn. Ibuprofen will also help with the pain. Always follow instructions on the bottle.
2. Cool Down Sunburned Skin
Just like a normal burn, sunburned skin needs to be cooled down. There are two ways you can do this. Take a cool bath or apply a refreshing thin cloth to sunburned skin.
Sunburn Relieving Bath
For a sunburn relieving bath, you can add 1/4 cup of baking soda to a cool bath and soak for 15-20 minutes. This will help reduce sun damage.
You can also try a milk and oatmeal bath. Add one cup of milk and two cups of oatmeal to a cool bath and soak. The milk helps soothe hot, inflamed skin and the oatmeal will improve moisture levels in sun damaged skin which helps skin repair faster.
You can add oatmeal directly to the bath water or for a mess-free option, tie oatmeal in a tea towel or bag so all the goodness soaks into the water but the oatmeal stays contained.
Sunburn Cooling Cloth
If you don’t want to take a ton of baths then you can apply a soaked muslin facial cloth to sunburned skin. Mix two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with two cups of cool water. Then dip the cloth in the solution, wring out slightly and then apply to sunburned skin.
If the sunburn is on your face then you can apply the solution to skin with a cotton ball. Don’t like the smell of ACV? Add a couple drops of essential oils to help mask the smell. Check out the best essential oils for sunburned skin below.
A couple of other things to remember:
- Skip the soap which can dry out skin.
- Vinegar smell will go away once you are dry.
- Don’t put ice directly on skin. If you want to try ice then make sure to wrap it in a cloth before applying to sunburned skin. Even better, use frozen veggies.
3. Tea for Natural Sunburn Relief
Studies show that both black and green tea alleviate negative skin reactions following UV exposure. Black tea also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help provide relief for sunburned skin.
Tea is especially useful on delicate skin that’s been sunburned like around the eyes. Seep two bags of green or black tea. Once the bags have cooled, set them on sunburned eyelids/surrounding areas for instant relief.
After a sun burn it’s important to drink lots of water so you don’t get dehydrated. The burned skin actually draws water to the surface which is why dehydration is a possibility. I find I’m able to drink more water when it’s flavored with fruit. Try one of these yummy infused water recipes to enjoy water more.
5. Moisturize Sunburned Skin
Skin that’s been sunburned loses water so it’s important to add moisture back. The best time to apply a light moisturizer is right after a bath or shower. Towel dry skin gently but leave skin damp. Then carefully apply moisturizer to help keep skin moist.
Do not use a thick or petroleum based ointment because it will trap heat in the skin and you don’t want that. Aloe vera gel is great for hydrating sunburned skin so find a moisturizer with aloe in it or use one of the recipes below to make your own.
6. Best Essential Oils for Sunburned Skin
If you’ve check out this blog before then you’ve probably noticed we use essential oils often. There are a ton of skin benefits that make essential oils helpful in healing sunburned skin such as antioxidants, inflammatory agents and calming effects.
There is not much large scale scientific research in this area so these remedies have not been approved by the FDA. However, essential oils have been used for centuries in beauty and health remedies with great results. Use them at your own discretion and always do a small patch skin test.
You will see a ton of DIY sunburn soothing recipes that include lavender oil in them. That’s because lavender essential oil has pain relieving properties and wound healing potential. But it’s not the only oil that works well on sunburns.
Peppermint essential oil is another popular essential oil that’s added to sunburn relief recipes because of its cooling effect which soothes irritated skin. It can also help reduce itching that’s caused by peeling skin.
Peppermint oil should not be applied to children or babies near their eyes or face. Menthol present in peppermint oil can cause skin irritation which is the opposite affect you want on sunburned skin. Make sure to properly diluted peppermint oil by using less for kids.
Roman Chamomile Essential Oil
Research shows that this essential oil has antibacterial and wound healing applications. This means that Roman Chamomile has the potential to speed up healing times so sunburned skin can recover faster.
Geranium oil is a natural cicatristant which means skin/wound healing. It stimulates healthy new skin cell growth. This essential oil can benefit sun burned skin by speeding up the healing process and generating more skin cells quickly to help repair freshly peeled skin.
Vitamin E Oil
Not everyone considers vitamin e oil and essential oil but I’m not going to debate that now. What is agreed on is its ability to keep skin moisturized and fight inflammation. It also absorbs UV rays and can help thicken the outer layer of skin which is great for freshly peeled skin.
Vitamin C Oil
The antioxidants in vitamin C oil can repair skin damage caused by free radicals. This can help prevent sunburned skin from peeling. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) can also help prevent sunburns and reduce the sunburn reaction when taken in vitamin form.
7. Aloe Vera for Sunburn Relief
Growing up in Southern California, I had my fair share of sunburns. Aloe vera was my go to solution for relief because of its anti-inflammatory properties and it’s ability to add moisture to the skin which helps prevent peeling.
I always used the bright green aloe vera gel I got for cheap at the store. Now that I know how much crap can be in one store bought bottle, I choose to make my own aloe vera gel. Follow this tutorial and see how easy it is to make your own.
Once you know how to harvest aloe straight from the plant itself, you can turn it into one of these two natural sunburn relief solutions. Slather DIY aloe vera after sun gel on a sunburn as soon as you can to cool off and soothe sore skin. Try after sun spray as a way to keep sunburned skin cool with a couple of sprays as often as you need.
How to Make Sunburn Relief Gel
As mentioned before, thick creams should not be put on sunburned skin. They can trap heat in which will slow down the healing process. There are some DIY after sun recipes out there that use cocoa or shea butter to help thicken the cream or gel. This is not only unnecessary but potentially damaging.
Aloe vera straight for the plant is the best but you can buy aloe vera gel if you want. Just make sure to grab an organic aloe vera gel that leaves out harmful chemicals.
You’ll see in the photo above that this aloe vera sunburn relief gel is a cloudy white color. That’s because it’s made with fresh aloe. If your aloe has a green tint to it then it most likely has an unnecessary additive in it to make it that color. I’d avoid it.
- 1/2 cup of Aloe Vera Gel
- 1 TBSP Vitamin E Oil
- 5 drops peppermint oil
- 10 drops of another essential oil – you can use 10 drops of one of the essential oils mentioned above or you can add equal drops of each until you reach 10 – maybe 5 drops of lavender and 5 drops of chamomile.
Mix all ingredients together and store in an air tight container. Keep homemade aloe vera after sun gel in the fridge for 2 weeks if using fresh aloe vera. If you use store bought aloe vera then you can store sunburn relief gel in a dark cupboard for up to two years.
Rub DIY sunburn relief gel on skin as soon as possible. Remember that fresh aloe will give you the best results. Storing after sun gel in the fridge will add to the cooling effect on sunburned skin.
How to Make DIY Sunburn Relief Spray
Witch Hazel can also help soothe and heal sunburned skin. The tannins in witch hazel heal damaged skin and help with inflammation. It can be applied directly to sunburned skin but I like it best when used to make sunburn relief spray.
- 1 green, black, or chamomile bag of tea
- 1/4 cup witch hazel
- 1/4 cup aloe vera gel
- 5 drops of peppermint essential oil
- 10 drops other essential oil mentioned above – alone or in combination
- Start by seeping the bag of tea in 1/2 cup of water. Distilled water is best.
- Add the rest of the ingredients to cooled tea and mix together.
- Using a funnel, pour mixture into an 8 oz spray bottle.
- Spray on sunburned as often as you need to feel relief.
- Keep after sun spray in the fridge for one week.
Natural Sunburn Relief at Home
Hopefully you’ve got some new, easy natural remedy ideas you can use the next time you get a bad sunburn. Remember to seek medical attention if your sunburn is really bad.
I’ve been using these natural sunburn relief ideas at home for years and they always help soothe my sunburned skin. Always use a safe sunscreen to prevent burns and reapply often but remember these sun burn relief tips when accidents occur. I truly hope you never have to use any of these tips!