After a long weekend in the sun, you may be in need of a natural sunburn relief! Despite sunscreen, wearing hats, and avoiding the hottest part of the day, it’s inevitable that I overdo it once or twice each summer. I’m good about putting on the sunscreen—it’s the reapplying that I always forget! The hot and painful feeling that comes with a sunburn is so unpleasant.
These home remedies can help soothe irritated skin and prevent peeling (ugh). And don’t forget to drink plenty of water and moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!
5 Natural Sunburn Soothers
1. Take a healing bath
Add one to two cups of any of the following ingredients (or a combination of them) to a lukewarm bath. Avoid hot water and keep your soak around 15 to 20 minutes, or you risk drying out the skin even more.
As soon as you get out of the tub, slather all tender areas with an alcohol- and perfume-free lotion, coconut oil, or aloe vera.
—Dairy (milk, yogurt, or buttermilk) – a milk bath can calm the heat from the sunburn while its proteins work to reduce inflammation and soothe the skin.
—Apple cider vinegar bath: Dilute 1/4 cup ACV in 2 cups of water then add to the bath.
—Oatmeal baths have great anti-inflammatory properties to calm irritated, inflamed skin.
—Tea bath of chamomile, mint, or green tea: Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Remove from heat and add 1 tea bag per cup of water (you can use 2 of one kind or combine them). Steep for 15–20 minutes. Remove tea bags, let it cool slightly, and pour the freshly-brewed tea into the bath.
Sunburn Bath Recipe
—1 cup oats, ground
—1/2 cup baking soda
—1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1. Combine ground oats and baking soda in sealed container.
2. Draw a warm bath (as cool as you can stand) and add 1/4 cup of the baking soda oat mixture along with the apple cider vinegar.
3. Relax in the bath for no more than 30 minutes and then generously apply a healing moisturizer like aloe or coconut oil to still damp skin when you get out.
Why it works
Oatmeal baths are actually a remedy that goes back a long time for irritated skin conditions—usually eczema and psoriasis—but it still works well in this instance for sunburn. Oatmeal is rich in beta-glucan, a super skin-friendly molecule that helps to increase moisture in the skin, supporting it’s natural healing processes for a sunburn that goes away faster.
Adding baking soda and oats to a bath eases sunburn pain, itching and inflammation.
2. Apply an itch-relieving baking soda + ACV compress
The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar provides pain relief while baking soda soothes itchy skin. Make a paste with 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda.
I know what you’re thinking—vinegar? On a sunburn? In this soothing compress, it helps to take down the itching (there’s nothing worse than trying to not scratch a healing, ugly sunburn, right?)
Add several drops of a soothing essential oil, like geranium (source) or lavender (source), and apply directly to the sunburned areas or use a soft cloth to make a compress. This also works for bug bites!
3. Mix-up cucumber lotion
If you (or the kids) won’t sit still for a compress, a cooling lotion is a great solution. Cucumbers are one of nature’s best anti-inflammatory agents!
Adding aloe vera provides cooling, anti-inflammatory relief that takes the sting out of a sunburn (source). Keep it in the fridge for extra cooling relief!
Cooling Cucumber Lotion Recipe
—1/4 cup coconut milk
—1/4 cup aloe vera juice
1. To juice the cucumber, coarsely grate it and place in a strainer or cheesecloth over a bowl. Push the cucumber to release the juice. I got almost a cup of juice from just one cucumber!
2. Pour into a lidded container and add the coconut milk and aloe vera. Shake to combine. Keep refrigerated.
3. You can apply to the skin with a spray bottle or by wetting a wash rag and applying to irritated areas.
Why it works
Combine cucumber juice, aloe vera, and coconut milk for a moisturizing spray lotion that soothes lobster-red skin and adds much-needed moisture. Not only are cucumbers naturally cooling but the vitamins in cucumbers also work on dark eye circles and help skin retain moisture. You’ll also get a dose of retinol and silica, which help regenerate skin cells.
4. Spritz on a healing tea spray
I love this body spray—applying it just out of the fridge feels so good on hot, parched skin! Chamomile and aloe soothe and help heal tender skin while the peppermint provides cooling relief.
Green tea has tannic acid and antioxidants that soothe irritated skin and help heal sun damage (source). Green tea can help prevent sun damage, too, so try spritzing this on your face before your daily moisturizer.
Cooling Tea Spray Recipe
—2 bags of peppermint tea
—1 bag of chamomile tea
—1 bag of green tea
—1/4 cup aloe vera gel
—1 tablespoon glycerin or fractionated coconut oil
—1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
—5 drops peppermint essential oil
—5 drops lavender essential oil
1. Bring 4 cups of water to boil. Remove from heat and steep tea bags for 10 minutes. Discard used bags and let tea cool completely.
2. Pour 1 cup into a small spray bottle and reserve the rest in the tea in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
3. Add remaining ingredients to spray bottle and shake to combine. Store in the refrigerator and shake before each use.
Why it works
Combined with skin-calming chamomile and antioxidant-rich green tea, the redness should come down quickly and heal the skin. The moisturizing ingredients help to minimize peeling, although you may want to top up the moisture with some pure coconut oil on top!
5. Soothe Redness with an Aloe Face Mask
My nose and cheeks are always the first to burn. That’s possibly why I have more than my share of freckles and age spots in those areas! A soothing aloe face mask with healing honey will help bring down the redness.
Aloe & Honey Mask Recipe
—1 tablespoon aloe
—1 tablespoon raw honey
1. Combine ingredients and apply to face and any other sunburned areas.
2. Of course you can use prepared aloe vera gel, but having an aloe plant around is always really handy—to harvest the gel, simply carefully break off the leaf, peel, and put the raw gel into a blender to get a smooth consistency before use.
Why it works
Aloe works as an anti-inflammatory on reddened skin and is one of the most commonly used ingredients on burns (plus it provides cooling relief). Raw honey is another natural healer, plus it acts as a humectant to draw in moisture to dry skin. This combination promotes healing in the skin and will calm down a burn.
What’s your favorite sunburn remedy?
This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Gina Jansheski, a licensed, board-certified pediatrician who has been practicing for more than 20 years. Learn more about Hello Glow’s medical reviewers here. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.
Chrissie sherwood says
Can I use gel taken from my aloe Vera plant That I have and coconut milk from a coconut that I have, thank you for quick reply as hope to make within next few days! Chrissie . Ps love your site, just found you this evening, signed up so hopefully won’t miss anything coming along
Sunburn Remedies says
hey "Stephanie Gerber", i had try your tips it really works within a single day. my skin recovering from sunburn… thanks a lot for these tips.
Susan George says
Use coconut paste, it is really helpful in treating sun burn
I dislike that I can only find links to pinterest and other social media, but can’t see the link the the 2nd part of this article.
emm……gona try this today….
Very good soothing methods, but you should never apply these things onto a REAL sunburn!
Skin that is red and itchy from UV-radioation can be treated like this, but a real sunburn with erythema and blisters should never ever be treated with any home made solutions or applications. This could give you severe infection and irritation of open wounds and then lead to ugly scaring or further systemic complications!
Maybe just add a little comment to your entry to warn people. Taking Vitamin C is also a good way to treat any stages of sunburn!
Other than that I love your ideas and webdesign!