Summer fun can sometimes mean summer sunburn. While covering up, eating well, and wearing non-toxic sunscreen are our #1 defenses, our best efforts are occasionally not enough to prevent a sunburn here and there.
While aloe is always one of our go-to options for soothing sunburn, this cooling milk bath is inexpensive and fast relieving to ease the discomfort of a sunburn too; pair it with a tall glass of water for extra hydration.
Hydration is key to bouncing back from a sunburn—while the more visible effects are red, irritated skin, hydration goes a long way to repairing your skin from the inside out. Plus, if you’ve spent that long in the sun, you’re probably due for a long, cooling drink anyway!
Sunburn Relief Milk Bath
What kind of milk you ask?
While milk can calm the heat from the sunburn, the proteins in whole cow’s milk also work to reduce inflammation and soothe the skin. Keep the temperature cool and allow the lactic acid to remove any dead skin that might be inflamed and irritated.
As we are about to learn the soothing benefits of oatmeal/oats, it makes sense that oat milk is an ideal choice to add to your bath. Irritated skin can be soothed and redness eased with oat milk.
Coconut milk has many soothing properties and can relieve the discomfort of a sunburn when added to tepid water.
Another skin soother is buttermilk, which can be placed directly on the sunburn for 10-20 minutes or also added to a tepid bath. Buttermilk has exfoliating properties that can reduce the discomfort of a sunburn.
Other sunburn bath options
Other additions to your milk bath once you decide on the type of milk you will use…
Oatmeal also has great anti-inflammatory properties to calm irritated, inflamed skin. Obviously, you won’t be running a super-hot bath—that would leave your skin feeling and looking more inflamed than before!
The combination of these and lukewarm or tepid water will help reduce pain and inflammation thanks to to their unique skin-healing abilities. Lukewarm is a great place to start, but if you can handle even cooler water, then it’s even better.
Oats encourage your skin barrier to recover faster. When you get a sunburn, your skin barrier (and the few layers of skin underneath!) sustain damage. Oats are a great way to improve moisture levels in your skin so that it bounces back from your burn, and hopefully doesn’t peel as much. It should also help relieve any itching that comes with most sunburns—it really does it all.
Essential oils, such as roman chamomile or lavender essential oil have calming effects on the skin and can be added to a milk bath.
Plus, there’s a great mess-free way to make an oatmeal bath—the secret is to put the oats in a cheese cloth bag before popping them into the bathtub. It’s worth the little extra effort for a little less cleaning!
The proteins and fat in milk help to form a thin, protective barrier over your slightly crispy skin. This is supposed to help encourage skin healing and protect it that much more from the environment. Remember, everything is going to feel like too much for your skin, at least for a little while, so every bit of moisture and protection counts!
- Tepid water
- 2 cups uncooked oats
- 1 cup milk of your choice
- optional- few drops of chamomile and/or lavender essential oil
After filling a bathtub with tepid water, add the oatmeal and milk and soak for 15-20 minutes; drink plenty of water as sunburns can dehydrate skin. After the bath, follow with aloe vera or our cooling cucumber lotion to help heal the skin.
These baths are great to do pretty much every day until your sunburn has finished peeling. The oatmeal and milk will be beneficial to the new skin from underneath the sunburn too!
Don’t have a bathtub?
An alternative option to a bath would be to soak washcloths in tepid water using the recipe above and gently lay the washcloths over the effected skin. Leave for 10-20 minutes before removing.
Hopefully, it should speed up the overall healing time of your sunburn to have you ready to go back out in the sun before summer’s over! And this time, make sure you don’t forget to reapply sunscreen!178