Summer Safety: Sunburn Remedies

As as kid, I got sunburned a lot. I was–ahem, am– very fair complected, and some of the times even Water Babies couldn’t save me. But as an adult I’ve learned to be more careful and reapply my sunscreen, but sometimes in the name trying to get a tan, I still little burned. After going to the beach several weeks ago, I looked up some sun burn cures/remedies on the net, and I thought I’d share some of these with you. I wish I’d had these years ago!

Showers – Right after coming in from the sun, take a warm to hot shower (before it actually starts burning. The hot water can help to open your pores, draw the heat out of your skin, and can help to ease the burn before it starts.
And after your skin actually starts to “burn”, take cool showers (at least 2 a day) to moisturize the skin and ease pain & itching.

Aloe – One of the most popular cures for sunburn. Use actual aloe leaves, or buy it in a bottle at the store. Apply several times a day to keep skin moist.
After-Sun Lotion – I use Banana Boat Moisturizing After Sun Lotion. It contains aloe & vitamin E. It’s designed to keep your skin moisturized and “extend” your tan.
Apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar) – Apply apple cider vinegar to the burn with a cottonball, or make a compress. This remedy should prevent peeling. **A few weeks ago, after a day at the beach I tried this one myself. I was unsure of the immediate effects of it, but I can tell you that I didn’t peel–and my skin was burned worse than a previous beach trip where I did peel, so I think the ACV helped.)

Aspirin – this will relieve pain, reduce fever, and reduce inflammation. It should be taken within 24 hours of getting sunburned.

Ice packs – These can help to keep the skin cool & basically numb the skin. (very good, if you’re itching!)
Baking soda – Dissolve some baking soda in water and make a compress using a clean cloth or add baking soda to bath water. Let the skin dry on its own. This should also help to keep skin moisturized.

Oatmeal Pack – Place some instant oatmeal in a bowl. Place a small amount of water in the bowl, just enough to moisten the oatmeal. Take a damp cloth and dip out some of the oatmeal on to the cloth. Place it on the burn for 15-20 minutes. (I actually tried this one; I placed a towel on the couch, then laid the oatmeal pack on top of it, and laid with my back on the oatmeal pack. It immediately relieved my itching.)

Milk – Before taking a bath, make a compress of cool milk. Apply it to the skin and leave it on for 20 minutes. Then wash off. The fat content is said to help cool the burns but it shouldn’t clog your pores the way butter would.

Cucumbers – To soothe the burn, rub the sunburn with fresh cucumber slices.
Epsom salts – Dissolve epsom salts in water and make a compress using a clean cloth.

Potato -Grate a potato and apply it to the burned area to cool and soothe the burn.

Yogurt -apply plain yogurt with live cultures, let it stand for a few minutes, then rinse off under cool water.

Lavender – Mix 20-25 drops of lavender oil in one cup of water and bathe the sunburned area.

Lemon water – Mix the juice of three lemons into two cups of cold water and rub it on the burn with a rag or sponge. The lemon will cool the burn, act as a disinfectant, and will promote healing of the skin.


  1. ValleyGirl says

    With our regrettably short Canadian summers, sunburns are always an issue. So inexpensive remedies are always welcome! Thanks!!

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