Oh, sunburns – the most painful way to end a relaxing summer day.
Instead of leaving you with a bronze summer glow, excess sun exposure can leave you bedridden with aches and pains, itching, blisters, and even nausea.
And when left untreated, sunburns can lead to permanent damage, such as skin cancer. In fact, studies show that sunburns are linked to three major types of skin cancer – including cutaneous melanoma, which can be fatal (1).
If you’re the latest victim of a summer scorching, try these natural home remedies for sunburns. Not only do they help soothe inflamed skin, these sunburn soothers will have you beach-ready again in no time.
But next time, don’t leave home without a good hat and your natural sunscreen.
Here are 7 easy home remedies that will soothe your sunburn.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
There doesn’t seem to be anything apple cider vinegar (ACV) can’t do – which includes healing sunburns.
While there’s limited research on exactly how ACV reduces symptoms, the acetic acid found in apple cider vinegar is said to relieve the itching, swelling, and inflammation associated with a sunburn.
Sure, soaking in a cold ACV bath may sound unappealing, but it could help speed up healing time. Simply add one cup of apple cider vinegar to cold bathwater and soak for fifteen minutes.
If you don’t have apple cider vinegar on hand, white vinegar also contains acetic acid and will do the trick.
You can also apply apple cider vinegar to your skin topically with these DIY cooling Witch Hazel Sunburn Wipes.
2. Lavender Essential Oil
While you’re soaking in apple cider vinegar bath water, why not add a few drops of lavender essential oil?
Lavender essential oil is used as a natural home remedy for sun burns because it has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties (2).
Since lavender essential oil is safe to apply directly to the skin, it can be used to soothe a burn immediately after sun exposure. You can apply 2-3 drops of lavender essential oil directly on your skin, or add a few drops of lavender to a cold bath.
Similar to lavender, chamomile is a flower with soothing properties that can help reduce the irritation associated with sunburns (3).
Chamomile may also be helpful for reducing the severity of other inflammatory skin conditions, such as blisters and rashes. You can drink cold chamomile tea to help reduce inflammation, or apply a cold chamomile tea bag directly to your skin to soothe the burn.
4. Vitamin E Oil
Vitamin E is an antioxidant vitamin that’s needed to help with wound and tissue repair. When applied topically, vitamin E has been shown to reduce the inflammation associated with sun burns and damage (4).
Studies suggest that vitamin E is most effective for reducing sun damage when it’s applied directly after sun exposure (5).
The best form of vitamin E for sunburns is tocopherol acetate, which is a form of vitamin E commonly found in nutritional supplements.
Many health food stores sell tocopherol acetate in capsules, which you can break open and apply directly to your skin.
Vitamin E can also be found in natural skincare products such as moisturizers and after sun creams.
5. Aloe Vera
As one of the most common home remedies for sunburns, aloe vera deserves a mention here.
Aloe gel, which comes from the leaves of aloe vera plants, has shown anti-inflammatory benefits when it comes to reducing sun damage. The active compounds in aloe vera gel have also been shown to speed up healing time, relieve pain, and repair skin cells (6).
You can find pure aloe vera gel at any natural health food store and apply it directly to your sunburn after exposure.
Since the aloe vera plant has anti-inflammatory properties, you can also drink pure aloe vera juice from the inner fillet of the plant to reduce inflammation from the inside out. Most natural health food stores carry both varieties of aloe vera.
6. Aluminum-Free Baking Soda
If you weren’t liking the sounds of an apple cider vinegar bath, you can also try soaking in a tub of cool water with one cup of baking soda. Baking soda has antiseptic properties that can help relieve the itching and burning that come with a sun burn.
The best type of baking soda to add to your bath is aluminum-free baking soda to avoid absorbing unnecessary toxins through your skin.
After you run a cool bath, add one cup of baking soda to the water, stir and soak for fifteen minutes. Repeat until your symptoms subside.
This may seem like an obvious tip, but the bustle of summer activities can easily prevent you from drinking enough water.
While it’s crucial that you stay hydrated year round, you lose extra water when you sweat during the summer months. And when you get a sunburn, your skin is even more dehydrated. Drinking water can help rehydrate your skin and speed up healing time.
But drinking water isn’t the only way to hydrate.
You can “eat” your water with high water content veggies such as cucumbers, lettuce, celery and fresh fruit. You may even want to blend these ingredients with some pure aloe vera juice to make the ultimate sunburn healing smoothie (but maybe give it a more appealing name).
Prevention First, Cures Later
As you can see, there are many effective home remedies for sunburns.
But preventing sunburn damage is also important.Wearing hats, and limiting your sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m, can prevent you from suffering the wrath of a sunburn in the first place.