13 Cooling Home Remedies For Sunburn

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13 Cooling Home Remedies For Sunburn
Infographic – herbs-info.com Photo sources – see foot of article

Going out for a swim, whether on the beach or in your pool, is a fun way to enjoy your summer. However, if you’re not careful, getting exposed to the sun’s harsh ultraviolet rays can give you painful sunburn. When it comes to sunburn, prevention is always better than cure. The best prevention is, of course, to cover up. However, this is not always possible or desirable. Make sure to apply safe and natural sunscreen to shield your skin from the sun’s rays. If worst comes to worst and you manage to get yourself burned, here are 13 home remedies you can use to deal with sunburn.

1. Apply Cool, Soothing Compresses

Inflamed, sunburned skin is usually warm to touch and painful. To treat this, soak a clean towel or cloth in a basin of ice cold water. Apply the cold compress over the affected area several times a day for no longer than 15 minutes. The cold water will reduce inflammation and help reduce the pain.

2. Use Witch Hazel

Witch hazel is a natural astringent with anti-inflammatory properties. In one study, witch hazel was found to be an effective treatment for sunburn with almost the same effect seen in other commercially formulated creams and lotions. To use witch hazel on your sunburn, soak a clean towel or cloth with water, then add a few drops of witch hazel solution. Gently pat the towel on the skin, being careful not to rub it too vigorously. [1]

3. Apply Apple Cider Vinegar Soaks

Vinegar contains acetic acid, which acts like a natural anti-inflammatory and helps dry out weeping sunburn. When using vinegar on your skin, make sure to dilute it with water in a 1:1 ratio. You can then apply it using a clean cloth or spritz it on your skin using a spray bottle. [2]

4. Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe vera has long been touted as the go-to plant for mild cases of burns. Since the gel is conveniently contained in the plant’s stalk, it makes for a handy first aid treatment for sunburn. Aloe vera works because it contains a soothing sugar called mannose-6-phosphate, which helps with inflammation and promotes wound healing. [3]

5. Soak With Baking Soda

Baking soda is known for its purifying properties and is a common household ingredient used in cooking and cleaning. It can also be used to soothe inflamed skin when mixed with your bath water. To use baking soda on your sunburn, simply fill your bathtub with water and add a few spoonfuls of baking soda for a soothing soak.

6. Chamomile Tea Compress

We often use chamomile as a relaxing beverage, but its medicinal use stretches way beyond teas. Chamomile is used in herbalism as a safer alternative to topical steroids like hydrocortisone. You can harness chamomile’s anti-inflammatory effects by soaking a clean towel in freshly steeped chamomile tea, then applying it over the affected area. [4]

7. Elevate Your Legs

The legs are often neglected whenever people apply sunblock before swimming. This can result in severe sunburn on your legs. If you find yourself a victim of leg sunburn, lie down and elevate your legs on a few pillows. This will decrease the fluid buildup in the area, thereby reducing the swelling.

8. Use Cornstarch

Cornstarch is traditionally used as a topical drying agent. It soaks up moisture and soothes the area when your sunburn is wet and weeping. To use cornstarch on your skin, you need to make it into a paste. You can make a cornstarch paste by combining water and cornstarch, then applying a thin layer on your sunburn to let it dry.

9. Try A Milk Compress

Using milk with your cold compress can help soothe the pain of your sunburn. The cooling effect of milk combined with its moisturizing properties can help with making your healing process more comfortable.

10. Use The Water From Boiling A Lettuce

Lettuce leaves contain a potent anti-inflammatory substance called triterpene lactones. Use the water from boiling the leaves with you cold compress for an added soothing effect. [5]

11. Take An Oatmeal Bath

Oatmeal is a marvelous skin soothing ingredient used in cosmetics and in medicine. The component responsible for its skin conditioning properties is called avenanthramides. This help with the inflammation, pain, and itching often seen in sunburn. To make an oatmeal bath, blend one cup of oatmeal using a food processor and add this to your warm bath water. [6]

12. Add Green Tea To Your Bath Water

Green tea is naturally rich in antioxidants and has been found to have anti-inflammatory properties as well. The tannic acid found in tea has a mild astringent effect that helps with the swelling while Epigallocatechin-3-Gallate reduces cellular inflammatory response from within the skin itself. [7]

13. Yogurt

You can use store bought yogurt as a cooling skin mask to help cool down your sunburn. Just chill your yogurt in the fridge and apply a thin layer to the affected areas.

Further Reading

How To Make Your Own Sunscreen Using Natural Ingredients

17 Home Remedies For Sunburn

Top 10 Home Remedies For Sunburn


[1] Anti-inflammatory effect of hamamelis lotion in a UVB erythema test (1998). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9621139

[2] Common sunburn treatment myths debunked. https://fashionista.com/2013/06/common-sunburn-treatment-myths-dubunked

[3] Aloe Vera: A Short Review (Indian J Dermatol. 2008). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2763764/

[4] Proof of efficacy of Kamillosan(R) cream in atopic eczema (2000). http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/10799352

[5] Anti-inflammatory activities of triterpene lactones from Lactuca sativa (2010). https://www.researchgate.net/publication/228480415_Anti-inflammatory_activities_of_triterpene_lactones_from_Lactuca_sativa

[6] Mechanism of action and clinical benefits of colloidal oatmeal for dermatologic practice (2010). http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/20865844

[7] Polyphenolic Antioxidant (-)-Epigallocatechin-3-Gallate from Green Tea Reduces UVB-lnduced Inflammatory Responses and Infiltration of Leukocytes in Human Skin (1999). http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1751-1097.1999.tb03267.x/full

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