Natural Ways to Treat a Sunburn


Sunburns may be a common occurrence for you, but they shouldn’t be! They’re a painful sign that you didn’t protect your skin and perhaps spent too long in the sun.
Everyone needs to protect their skin, regardless of whether you get tan or not. Even people with darker skin can get burns, which comes with many risks to your health.
(If you need some natural sunscreen options, check out my blog article on the topic here.)
However I do encourage some sun exposure in moderation as it is wonderful for you physically and mentally. And since none of us are perfect, even the best laid plans fall short sometimes. When that happens and you start seeing that pinkish hue appear, it’s best to act quickly. After all, it can take up to 24 hours for the full effects to appear! (Source)
Symptoms of Sunburn:

  • Red, tender skin that is warm to the touch
  • Blisters that develop hours to days later
  • Severe reactions (sometimes called sun poisoning), including fever, chills, nausea, or rash
  • Skin peeling on sunburned areas several days after the sunburn

As soon as you see the signs, get yourself to the shade and treat it with some natural remedies.

Why Aloe is Everyone’s First Choice

If you ask anyone who has experience with sunburns, they will tell you one thing: use aloe. There are different forms of aloe, including the gel and using the actual aloe leaves, but aloe will always be the top recommendation for treating a burn. Aloe is amazing for reducing inflammation, providing a lot of hydration to the burn, and helping to reduce blistering and long-term effects.
If you’re purchasing your aloe from the store, make sure to check the ingredients list and choose a high quality aloe that is without preservatives or unknown chemicals. My personal favorite (when I’m not using the plant) is this one.
Another helpful tip? Refrigerate your aloe gel! It won’t change the consistency, and the cool temperature is a wonderful relief for that burn.

Essential Oils for Sunburn Relief

Since peppermint is a pain-relieving oil, it is a great choice to treat your sunburn. You’ll also feel immediate relief with the cooling sensation it provides. Lavender is another great option since it is a soothing oil with anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. You can even make your own spray by combining the two oils with fractionated coconut oil or distilled water, then spritzing on your burn as needed. Of course, be sure to use high quality, pharmaceutical grade oils such oils from Young Living or DoTerra.

Make Sure You Stay Hydrated

The more hydrated you are, the better your body will be able to fight off the damage that you get from a sunburn. During and directly following your exposure to the sun, drink plenty of water—even if you don’t see a burn. A hydrated body will distribute fluids to the areas that need hydration, and your body will be able to more easily begin the process of healing. It also helps if you run some cool water over your burned area. This will stop the heat from continuing to affect the layers of skin where the heat is trapped. You don’t want to apply ice immediately, as it can irritate a fresh burn.

Try an Oatmeal Bath

With this remedy, all you have to do is put some uncooked oatmeal in the bath! If you don’t care for the oatmeal floating freely around in the water, then you can place the oatmeal into a stocking to make it into a large tea bag. You don’t want the water to be too warm or too cold—it should be about room temperature. Once the oatmeal has soaked for about 30 minutes, get into the water and relax.

Apple Cider Vinegar Spray

Make your own apple cider vinegar spray by combining one part cool water and one part ACV in a spray bottle. You can also add a cup to your bath and soak, or dab a washcloth in your 1:1 ACV and water mixture and apply it directly to the burn.

Black Tea

The tannic acid and theobromine in black tea helps heal sunburn. To use this method, fill a pitcher with warm water and place 3-5 bags of black tea in it. Steep your tea until the liquid is just about black. Then dip a soft washcloth in the tea and apply it to your burn.

When to Be Watchful

The redness that forms in the sunburned area can be expected, but any more than that can be an indication that you have received a severe burn that has penetrated into the deeper levels of your skin. One major sign of this is when you develop blisters in the burnt area. As soon as you see this symptom, closely monitor the burn over the next 24 hours to make sure it doesn’t progress further. And stay out of the sun until it heals!
BONUS TIP: To avoid peeling, hydrate your skin religiously! You can use good old coconut oil for this. Gently massage it into the burned area at least twice a day to help prevent your skin from peeling.
Hopefully you can avoid having to use these tips this summer, but if not, now you are prepared with natural options!