Ah, summer — the time of year people get to enjoy warm weather, blue skies, swimming, fishing, picnics with friends and family, and many other outdoor activities. But it’s also the time of year when sunburn can become a problem.
Sunburn is caused by the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Too much exposure to UV light can damage your skin, making it red and painful.
The symptoms may not occur immediately; it can take up to five hours for sunburn to appear. If not treated timely, the burn can lead to peeling or blistering skin. Sunburn also doubles the risk of developing melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer.
The best way to avoid sunburn is PREVENTION.
- Stay out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun is strongest.
- Wear proper clothing that covers your skin as well as a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
- Plus, apply an effective sunscreen to exposed skin areas several times a day.
Remember, sunburn can be developing in your skin before it is visible to you, so precautions are very important.
However, if you suffer from sunburn, you can try some home remedies that can soothe your stinging skin and reduce inflammation.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for sunburn.
1. Baking Soda
Baking soda can be very soothing on sunburned skin due to its alkaline nature. Plus, it has antiseptic properties that will relieve the itchy sensation associated with sunburn.
- Fill your bathtub with cold water, add one cup of baking soda and stir well. Soak in the water for about 15 minutes. After getting out of the bath, pat dry or allow your body to air dry. Do this once daily until you get positive results.
- Alternatively, mix four tablespoons of baking soda with enough water to make a paste. Apply the paste directly on the affected skin using a cotton ball. Leave it on for 10 minutes and then wash it off with tepid water. Follow this remedy once or twice a day for several days depending upon the severity of your condition.
Oatmeal can also help treat sunburned skin. It has soothing properties that help the skin retain its natural moisture and reduce irritation.
- Fill the bathtub with cool water, add one cup of oatmeal to it and mix thoroughly. Soak in the bath water for about half an hour. After getting out of the water, air dry your body and avoid rubbing the skin with a towel. Do this once daily until you get rid of the sunburn symptoms.
- Alternatively, cook oatmeal with enough water until it has a runny consistency. Let it cool completely and then apply it liberally to the damaged skin. Do not rub the oatmeal on your skin. Leave it on the skin for half an hour and then rinse it off with cool water. Follow this remedy two or three times a day as needed.
3. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera has excellent anti-inflammatory properties that help deal with the various symptoms of sunburn. Plus, it has soothing properties that can ease the pain associated with sunburn.
- Extract the gel from a section of an aloe vera leaf.
- Put the gel in the refrigerator for half an hour.
- Apply a light coating of the chilled gel on the sunburned skin.
- Allow it to dry on its own so the skin can fully absorb the medicinal properties.
- Do this five or six times daily for several days.
If you do not have an aloe vera plant, you can buy aloe vera gel from the market.
4. Black Tea
Black tea is full of antioxidants that are very beneficial for treating irritated and sunburned skin. Tea has tannins that help protect the skin from UV radiation damage and reduce inflammation. It also aids in restoring the skin’s pH balance.
- Brew two or three teabags in a pot of hot water. Allow it to sit for a few minutes.
- Remove the teabags and let the liquid cool to room temperature.
- Soak a cloth in the solution and dab it on the affected skin.
- Leave it on until it dries complete and reapply three or four times, as necessary; you need not wash it off.
- Do this daily for a few days until your condition improves.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
A great astringent, apple cider vinegar can soothe sunburn pain and also speed up the healing process. Also, the acetic acid present in apple cider vinegar helps ease itching and inflammation.
- Add one cup of apple cider vinegar to your bathtub filled with lukewarm water. Soak in this water for about half an hour. This will help balance the pH level of sunburned skin and promote healing. Follow this remedy once daily as needed.
- Mix equal amounts of apple cider vinegar and cool water. Soak paper towels in the solution and place them over the affected skin area. Leave them on until the towels are dry. Repeat several times a day for a few days until your condition improves.
Note: Avoid using apple cider vinegar remedies if you have abrasions on your skin.
6. Cool Compress
To reduce inflammation and pain associated with sunburn, you can apply cold compresses on the affected area. Cold compresses cause the tiny blood vessels to constrict, which in turn will reduce inflammation.
- Wrap a handful of ice cubes in a damp cloth.
- Hold the compress over the affected area as long as it is cool.
- Apply several times a day as needed to relieve discomfort.
Never apply ice directly on the skin as it can damage your skin.
The fat, protein and pH in milk have a soothing, anti-inflammatory effect on skin that can give you comfort from various symptoms of sunburn.
- Mix one cup of skim milk with four cups of water. Add some ice cubes to the mixture.
- Dip a clean cloth in the solution and apply it to the sunburned area for half an hour.
- Then, gently pat dry your skin with a soft towel.
- Repeat the process every four hours for a few days until the pain and irritation subside.
The cold temperature will constrict blood vessels and reduce swelling, while the milk will create a protein film that helps ease pain.
8. Coconut Oil
Since coconut oil is loaded with skin nourishing fatty acids, it works an excellent moisturizer to reduce the symptoms of sunburn.
The vitamin E present in coconut oil works as an antioxidant, which helps decrease inflammation caused by sunburn. Because coconut oil is very light, it also is absorbed quickly by the skin and can provide results within a few days.
- Slightly warm extra-virgin coconut oil in a microwave.
- Liberally rub some of the oil on the sunburned area and gently massage it.
- Do this three times daily for several days to promote healing.
Honey works as a natural antibiotic and helps trap moisture in the skin, which is essential for treating sunburn. Plus, an enzyme present in honey helps repair damaged skin. Honey also decreases inflammation and swelling associated with sunburn.
- Apply a thin layer of natural honey on the affected skin and allow it to dry on its own. As the moisture in the honey is absorbed into the skin, it will speed up healing and minimize pain. Apply honey two or three times daily for a week.
- Also, eat one tablespoon of honey with a glass of lukewarm water three times a day to boost the immune system and speed up healing. In fact, you can eat honey on a regular basis to enjoy good health and glowing skin.
Raw potato is excellent for relieving a sunburn as the natural starches found in potatoes will help draw heat out of your skin.
- Peel two large potatoes and cut them into small pieces.
- Blend the pieces in a blender to make a paste.
- Apply the paste on the affected skin and let it dry on its own.
- Then take a cool shower.
- Repeat the process once daily for a few days until all your symptoms are gone.
All these remedies are suitable for treating minor sunburn causing the skin to be red or sore. In cases of severe sunburn that include blistered or broken skin, you need to try some other useful remedies for severe sunburn.