Summer sun brings summer fun—and also the potential for sunburns. You did your best to protect yourself, but if your skin is red and painful after a day at the beach, you're probably searching for quick relief. The good news is that most sunburns heal quickly and without complication, though they can be itchy and irritating for a few days.
Make your burn feel better while your body does its thing by reaching for one of these common household products to soothe the affected area.
If you don't already have an aloe vera plant on hand, consider getting one—they're useful for treating a whole host of minor ailments, including sunburns. The gel inside the leaves soothes and cools minor sunburns at home while also helping restore vital moisture lost.
Cut a leaf in half and scrape out the gel, then rub it over the burned skin. If you don't have a plant, buy pure aloe vera gel without any additives from the store and use that. Just remember to give it a test on a small patch of skin to test for allergies if you've never used it before.
Though this may give some readers pause, cider vinegar can help relieve inflammation and itchiness from a sunburn. Draw a lukewarm bath and add 1 cup of apple cider vinegar to the water. Soak in it for 15 to 20 minutes or until your bod feels better.
You can also opt to place a damp washcloth dipped in a vinegar-water mixture onto the burned area if you'd rather not soak in it. Just remember to dilute the vinegar, as it's acidic and can further irritate the burn if you use it in its usual concentration.
Witch hazel is loaded with natural compounds such as tannins that can help soothe burns and skin irritation. Some studies show that lotion with 10% witch hazel can decrease the reddening in sunburns, while others reveal that it can also increase skin growth.
All you need to do to treat a sunburn is soak a cotton pad with witch hazel and gently pat it against the affected area. Just make sure that the witch hazel you choose is alcohol-free to avoid irritation.
Oatmeal is used in skin products for a reason: it's soothing. The antioxidants in oatmeal can alleviate dryness while also reducing itchiness in skin conditions, including sunburns. If you're a little red around the shoulders, fill a bath with lukewarm water and mix in 1 cup of powdered oats. Soak for at least 15 minutes for best results.
While you don't want to put ice directly onto a burn because it can further damage the skin, using a cold compress can help alleviate pain and swelling. Take an ice pack wrapped in a soft, lint-free towel and place it on the painful area for 10 to 15 minutes, as needed, for relief. If you don't have ice or an ice pack on hand, try using a bag of frozen veggies.
While remaining hydrated is important to daily skin health, it's especially important when you've got a sunburn because your body redirects moisture from other areas to help heal the affected area. That's where drinking plenty of water, a little more than usual, for a few days comes into play. Not only can it help prevent you from getting dehydrated, but it will also help your skin heal more quickly.
Cold-pressed, organic coconut oil can be used as a sunburn remedy as long as you time it correctly. Thick oil can trap heat within the skin, making it more uncomfortable if you try to use it the first few days after burning.
Once any blistering is gone and the skin has cooled, coconut oil can soothe the dryness, itchiness, and irritation as the burn continues to heal. Just slather the partially healed area with coconut oil and allow it to moisturize your skin like lotion.
Sticky honey is a well-known home remedy for all sorts of conditions. Dating back to use by ancient Egyptians, honey can improve the speed at which you heal and alleviate pain while also reducing the risk of infection. It can also help moisturize the burned skin, which goes a long way toward alleviating discomfort.
For best results, use medical grade or raw, unfiltered honey. Manuka honey, in particular, comes highly recommended. All you have to do is rub the honey onto sunburned skin—it even works on tender, burnt lips—and let it work its magic.
Like oatmeal, baking soda can provide some much-needed relief if you have a sunburn. This multipurpose powder balances the pH levels of your skin, which can soothe inflammation and redness. Mix 2 ounces of baking soda into a lukewarm bath and soak for at least 15 minutes to alleviate your discomfort.
Once you rinse off, be sure to add a layer of lotion or moisturizer to prevent your skin from drying.
Yogurt has all sorts of probiotics and enzymes that not only protect your skin when you eat it but also soothe a sunburn when applied directly. Before you reach for any old yogurt in your fridge to apply to a burn, make sure it's plain. For more of a soothing effect, chop up some cucumbers and mix them into the yogurt.
Then, place it over the burn and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse it off using lukewarm water.