17 Simple Home Remedies To Relief Sunburn Naturally

Sun exposure is like a double-edged sword. The chemistry of our body is affected by sunlight. During the day, the sunlight decreases melatonin production, which helps in keeping us awake and increases mental alertness during the day and ensures that in the night sufficient melatonin is released so that we enjoy a sound sleep. It works as a natural disinfectant and disinfects the skin, blood and lymph. It helps in maintaining healthy bones and aids muscle contraction. It is known to minimize skin disorders and age related brain problems and assists in maintaining healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels and improves oxygen circulation. However, too much of even a good thing is harmful for the body. Hence, overexposure to sunlight causes sunburn. (1)

The sun’s rays reach the earth in the form of two types of radiations, ultraviolet-A (UVA) rays and ultraviolet-B (UVB) rays. The UVB rays are most intense during the summer months and were earlier believed to be the major cause of sun damage. However, recent studies have shown that the UVA rays that are present throughout the year are also harmful. Hence, overexposure to the solar radiations damages the skin regardless of the time of the year. First degree burn occurs when the epidermis or the outer layer of the skin is burnt by the radiation. The affected area of the skin becomes red, hot and painful. Swelling of the skin and formation of blisters are signs of a second degree burn. Sunburns are extremely painful. You may not experience the pain immediately after the sunburn had occurred. The pain tends to worsen 6 to 48 hours after the sun exposure. Severe sunburn is associated with intense stinging in the skin and is known to cause fever, chills and nausea. (2)

After sunburn, in most cases, home remedies are found to be effective in soothing the damaged skin and reducing the pain.


Home Remedies For Sunburn

The following are the home remedies for Sunburn:

1. Cool Compress

Cooling the sunburned area is the first step in dissipating the heat from the burned skin. A cool shower or bath or a cold compress is known to soothe the area and speed up the healing process. Ice water soaks are an effective remedy for sunburn. Put few ice cubes in tap water. Soak a cloth in the cold water and place it on the sunburned area. Leave it on until the cloth becomes warm and reapply the cool compress. Repeat for 10 to 15 minutes. Apply the cold water compress several times a day. (3)

2. Cool Bath or Shower

A cool shower or soaking in a cool bath helps in reducing the pain of the sunburned skin. Furthermore, water helps in relieving skin irritation. The temperature of the water should be just below lukewarm. Relax in the cool shower for 10 to 20 minutes. However, showering is not recommended for the blistering skin. The shower water exerts pressure on the delicate skin that can burst the blisters. Bathing in cool water is therefore recommended in such a case. Do not use soap, detergents or oils while bathing. They would irritate the skin and worsen your problems. Do not rub your skin. Pat your body dry with a towel or air-dry it. (4)

3. Vinegar

Applying vinegar to the sunburned skin is known to provide faster relief from the pain. It also helps in diminishing peeling and blistering of the affected skin. Mix a quarter of a cup of apple cider vinegar with equal amount of water. Dip a washcloth in the diluted vinegar and place it over the sunburned area for 2 to 3 minutes. The cool vinegar compress helps in providing quick relief from the burning sensation. (5) You can also apply undiluted apple cider vinegar directly to the affected area. For reducing the pain of sunburn that has affected a larger area of the body, add a cup of apple cider vinegar to cool bathwater and soak in the water. After the bath, dry your skin and gently dab apple cider vinegar to the affected areas. Leave it on for 5 minutes, and then apply aloe vera gel for better result. (6) Distilled white vinegar is also found be effective in soothing the mild sunburned skin. The pain relief effect of vinegar is attributed to acetic acid, which works in the same way as a topical non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). (7)

4. Cucumber

Apply mashed or grated cucumber on the sunburned area or place a slice of cucumber on the site of the sunburn. Cucumber helps in cooling the area. It contains antioxidants that are believed to help in reducing the swelling and the pain. (8)

5. Coconut Oil

The anti-inflammatory and moisturizing properties of coconut oil make it a suitable agent for soothing sunburn. When applied to the skin, it helps in easing the sunburn discomfort and is believed to reduce the risk of skin cancer. Skin cancer risk is known to increase after severe sunburn. The two medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil are capric acid and lauric acid. For sunburn relief, apply coconut oil as needed to the sunburned area several times a day. (9) Peppermint and lavender essential oils can be added to coconut oil for better result. To ½-cup of fractionated coconut oil, add 10 drops each of peppermint essential oil and lavender essential oil. Mix the ingredients. Store the mixture in a spray bottle and spray it on the sunburned area. (10)

6. Tea

Tea contains antioxidants that neutralize the harmful free radicals produced following sun exposure. Moreover, applying a cooling tea compress on the sunburned skin helps in cooling the area. Soak a tea bag in cool water and place it on the sunburned area. For soothing larger sunburned areas, brew a cup of tea by soaking the teabag in hot water for 5 minutes. Refrigerate the tea for about half an hour. With a clean cloth apply a cool compress on the affected area. Both green and black teas are suitable for relieving the sunburn pain. (11)

7. Olive Oil

Olive oil is suitable for mild sunburn. It helps in retaining the moisture in the skin, thereby helping in soothing the area. Combine olive oil with equal amount of water and apply the mixture to the sunburned skin. (12)

8. Milk

Cool compress with milk is an effective remedy for sunburn. Dip cotton gauze or a piece of soft cloth in cool milk and place it on the sunburned skin. Do this several times for about 20 minutes and then rinse off the affected area with cool water. Whole milk, because of its high fat content, is best suited for alleviating the sunburn. In addition to fat, lactic acids in milk is also recognized for its soothing property. (13) The burn can also be eased with a paste made my mixing one tablespoon of milk powder, a pinch of salt and two tablespoons of water. All types of milk powders, non-fat, low fat and whole, can be used for the purpose. Gently apply the paste to the affected area. (14)

9. Cornstarch

Dabbing soft loose cornstarch paste on the sunburned area is known to relieve the pain. Mix enough water with the cornstarch to make the paste. Though cornstarch remedy is considered safe for sunburn, this remedy is not recommended for individuals sensitive to corn or with a history of corn allergy as they have a higher risk of developing contact dermatitis following topical application of cornstarch. (15) You can also add cornstarch to your bathwater to ease the discomfort of sunburn. To a tub of tepid water, add ½-cup of cornstarch and ¼-cup baking soda. As long as you feel comfortable, soak in the water. (16)

10. Lettuce

Lettuce water is a time-honored remedy for sunburn. Certain chemicals in lettuce are believed to work as sunburn soothers. Lettuce of any variety can be used. Coarsely chop ½ head of organic lettuce. In a saucepan, place the chopped lettuce and pour a cup of water. Bring the water to a boil and remove the pan from the oven. Allow the mixture to cool and then strain out the lettuce. With a cotton ball dab the cool lettuce water to the affected areas. Do not rinse. Reapply as needed. (17)

11. Oatmeal

Oatmeal bath is a quick fix for sunburn discomfort. To a tub of water add a cup of colloidal oatmeal and soak in the water for 15 minutes. (18) Compress with oatmeal water is also known to help the sunburned skin. To a cup of boiling water add three tablespoons of cooked oatmeal. Continuously stir the mixture for about 3 minutes until you get a watery paste. Allow the water to cool and then strain out the oatmeal. Add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to the oatmeal water. Soak a cotton ball in the liquid and dab it on the sunburned area. Leave the liquid on the troubled area. Avoid rinsing the affected skin. (19)

12. Yogurt

Yogurt, when used topically, helps in hydrating and cooling the sunburned skin. It is known to work by restoring the acid-alkaline balance of the skin. Take natural plain whole milk yogurt and wrap it in multiple layers of cheesecloth. Leave the yogurt compress on the sunburned area until the yogurt warms. Reapply the compress. Repeat until the discomfort subsides. Alternatively, smear yogurt on the affected area. Let it sit on the skin for 10 to 15 minutes. In a cool shower, wash off the yogurt. (20)  Adding a small amount of turmeric to the yogurt aids the healing process. It helps in restoring the normal health of the skin. (21)

13. Turmeric and Sandalwood

To cool the sunburned area, apply a paste of turmeric and sandalwood to the affected area. Combine equal amounts of turmeric and sandalwood powder. Add cool water to make a paste. Gently apply the paste to the sunburned skin. Turmeric stains the skin and the yellow stain can remain on the skin for several days. (22)

14. Eggplant

Eggplant contains certain compounds that are believed to fight skin cancer. In folk remedy, eggplant is used for soothing sunburn. Gently apply mashed eggplant to the affected area. (23)

15. Potato

The starch in potato helps in cooling and alleviating the sunburn pain. On the sunburned area, gently rub a slice of raw potato. Alternatively, grate a cold raw potato and apply the grated potato as poultice on the affected area. (24)

16. Honey

To reduce the pain of sunburn, apply honey to the affected area. Honey is believed to accelerate healing of the sunburned skin. The sunburned skin is known to heal 3 to 4 times faster with topical application of honey. Add a little water to the honey so that it spreads easily on the skin. (25) Milk and honey compress is known to calm and soothe the sunburned skin. Add three tablespoons of raw honey to a cup of whole milk. Mix them well. Soak a soft washcloth or a cotton pad in the mixture and place it on the affected area. Remove the compress when it becomes warm and reapply a fresh compress. After the irritation subsides, apply coconut oil on the moist skin. (26)

17. Aloe Vera

Though aloe vera is a natural emollient, it does not trap the heat into the skin like commercial creams and moisturizers. On the contrary, it cools the skin and soothes the area. (27) Gently dab aloe vera gel on the sunburned area. Do not rub it on the sunburned skin. To keep the area moist, reapply frequently. (28) You can make a burn gel by combining ½-cup of aloe vera gel with a teaspoon of wheat germ oil or vitamin E oil and 10 drops of lavender essential oil. Dab this on the affected areas. (29)


Dangers Of Sunburn

Sunburn is not only painful, it is known to damage the skin cells. Overexposure to direct sunlight is associated with premature aging of the skin. It tends to increase the risk of skin cancer. Severe sunburn that causes blistering of the skin is believed to double the risk of skin cancer. Repeated sun exposure and sunburns during childhood and adolescence significantly increase melanoma risk in adulthood. (30) To protect your skin from the adverse effect of overexposure to sunlight and avert further sunburns, use a sunscreen of SPF 15 or more and wear protective clothing when you are outdoors and limit sun exposure from 10 AM to 4 PM. (31)