Remedies and Relief for Sunburn

Updated on November 17, 2016
Remedies for Sunburn Relief
Remedies for Sunburn Relief | Source

Sunburnt Skin

No matter how many precautions we take to fight the sun's harmful UV rays, the dreaded and excruciatingly painful sunburn still occurs. Even when we know the dangers, and know to regularly apply sunscreen and avoid the sun at peak times, we still get "lobster skin" sometimes. I experienced a horrific sunburn on my back when I was 12 and abroad in Spain. The memories are still very vivid 30 years later. For the first time, I knew the feeling of sore, red skin. It felt as if my skin was on fire. The pain was unbearable. My skin was so sensitive that even putting on a T-shirt hurt. My mum had to buy a hideous, full-length, over-sized caftan style shirt/dress that hung out away from my burning, red skin. It was not a fashion piece that a 12-year-old girl wanted to wear, I can assure you. To this day, my back is so sensitive that I always avoid the sun.

Adequate sunscreen should always be applied when outdoors for extended periods of time.
Adequate sunscreen should always be applied when outdoors for extended periods of time. | Source

Sunburn Relief

You'll find several sunburn solutions in your kitchen, fridge, or garden. Having said that, there are some distinct winners for providing sunburn relief, cooling the skin, and helping to reduce any pain.

1. Cool / Lukewarm Bath or Shower

Having a cool or lukewarm bath will help ease the pain, heat, and redness.
Having a cool or lukewarm bath will help ease the pain, heat, and redness. | Source

When sunburned, adding water back into the skin is important.

It is preferable and recommended by dermatologists to take cool or lukewarm baths or showers rather than "hot as you can stomach" ones.

Hot or warm water will only irritate the burn more and delay the healing process, in my opinion.

2. Honey

Locks in moisture and is antibacterial.
Locks in moisture and is antibacterial. | Source

A natural humectant, honey locks moisture into the skin, which is important when treating sunburn. It has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and may be used in different ways:

  • Apply honey directly to sunburn, or apply it first to some gauze and then place the gauze over the skin.
  • Mix honey with some milk and apply to the skin.
  • Add honey into the bath. Or, make a poultice with oatmeal, milk, and aloe vera gel and have a bath with it. It will help add moisture back into the skin and reduce or prevent peeling.

3. Green Tea

tea has tannic acid which is great for sunburn relief.
tea has tannic acid which is great for sunburn relief. | Source

Tannic acid in tea helps soothe the skin and draw the heat out from the sunburn. It may be applied in a variety of beneficial ways:

  • Add 6 – 8 tea bags to your cool bath and soak in it.
  • Make a large brew of strong tea (5 – 6 tea bags) and allow it to chill in the fridge. Apply by steeping towels or compresses in it and apply to the sunburn. Reapply when towels start to warm and absorb heat from skin. Do not use your best towels as tea may stain.
  • Use the cold, chilled tea in a spray bottle and spray the skin. Cooling Face and Body Sprays are easy to make and utilize naturally cooling ingredients, including green tea.
  • Pop a used tea bag (not just out of the pot, but allow it cool to room temperature) directly onto the area.
  • Have some already made tea cubes in your ice cube tray. These are perfect for cooling down the skin with the added benefits of tea.

4. Raw Potatoes

The starch in the potato works to draw out heat.
The starch in the potato works to draw out heat. | Source

It is said that applying raw starchy potato to the skin helps draw out the heat from a sunburn. It may be applied in different ways to small sunburnt areas:

  • Hold a raw potato to the area for as long as possible.
  • Grate potato and apply as much of the juice as possible.
  • Blend raw potatoes in a blender and squeeze out the juice through a sieve or cheesecloth. Apply the juice directly to the sunburn.

Top of the must have list for treating sunburn at home. 100% pure gel is the best, if possible.
Top of the must have list for treating sunburn at home. 100% pure gel is the best, if possible. | Source

5. Aloe Vera Gel or Plant

Aloe vera will help cool the skin and reduce redness.

The natural plant is the best option. However, if you do not have this option, the gel is the next best alternative. With so many beneficial uses, you will never run out of ways to use this ingredient.

Use it alone or mixed with other sunburn relief ingredients. Cucumber and aloe vera eye gel is ideal to have in the fridge. You can also whip up some in advance for a family day out at the beach.

6. Cucumber

With over 90% water content, cucumbers are an ideal remedy for sunburn.
With over 90% water content, cucumbers are an ideal remedy for sunburn. | Source

Cooling and moisturizing, this ingredient may be used in different ways for relieving sunburn and aiding the skin:

  • Use slices or cucumber pulp directly on the skin (chilled is even better).
  • Mix grated or mashed cucumber with a little milk and apply as a poultice to sunburnt skin.
  • Drink plenty of water to keep hydrated and replenish lost water. Cucumber spa water is ideal if you find it difficult to drink enough water.
  • Cucumber face wash is also beneficial to use on any facial sunburn and will help cool your face after a day or so.

Have you ever had sunburn?

See results

7. Oatmeal

Oatmeal prevents peeling and adds lost moisture back into the skin.

  • Add a few cups of oatmeal to your cool bath and soak for 20 – 30 minutes.
  • Make a poultice of oatmeal with a few egg whites (depending on area size of sunburn) and apply to skin. Leave on for 15 minutes before gently removing with cool water.

8. Milk

Great for adding to a bath or applying directly to sunburn.
Great for adding to a bath or applying directly to sunburn. | Source
  • Add a large quantity of milk to your bath before soaking for 30 minutes.
  • Soak towels in milk and apply across sunburn.
  • Reapply, if needed, when towels become room temperature or warm. Use small face clothes for small areas of sunburn.

More Sunburn Tips

  • Keep a body spray of water in the fridge to use for cooling down and hydrating the skin.
  • Add 1 or 2 drops of lavender or peppermint essential oil to your spray for extra healing properties.
  • After the skin has cooled down and the pain has subsided, keep the skin regularly moisturized with Vitamin E Oil.

What Are People Using

These are more ingredients that people have had success with. Maybe your favorite is among them!

Some examples: Vinegar, Yogurt, Lettuce, Mint, Cabbage, Cocoa Butter, Diaper Cream, Shaving Cream, Baking Soda, Cornstarch, Egg Whites, Witch Hazel, Tomatoes, and Mustard.

If you have any more tips and remedies that have worked for you please feel free to let me know in the comments section. It is always wonderful to hear new solutions!

Reasons To Treat Sunburn

  • Reduce Redness
  • Reduce Swelling
  • Prevent Peeling
  • Pain Relief
  • Cool Skin, Remove Heat
  • Moisturize Skin
  • Prevent Blistering

It is also vital to recognize when medical attention is needed.

Be under no illusion. Severe sunburn is serious and can lead to sunstroke, sun poisoning, 2nd or 3rd degree burns, premature aging, and skin cancer.

Seek Medical Treatment With

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Blistering
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Severe Sunburn
  • Purple Blotches on Skin
  • Skin Rashes
  • Swelling
  • Fever or High Temperature (possible signs of skin poisoning)
  • Chills or Constant Shivering (possible signs of skin poisoning)
  • Burnt Eyelids
  • Severe Pain

Questions & Answers

    © 2013 Suzanne Ridgeway

    Remedies for Sunburn Relief Comments

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      • Carol Morris profile image

        Carol Morris 

        2 years ago

        Great hub, full of important information and tips. Thanks.

      • FatBoyThin profile image

        Colin Garrow 

        3 years ago from Kinneff, Scotland

        When I was a kid I used to get sunburnt all the time. Even now, I sometimes forget and end up with a really sore neck or shoulders. Haven't heard of using honey or potatoes before, so maybe next time I'll give these a try. Great Hub, voted up.

      • profile image

        sasa 

        4 years ago

        Sounds like a very refreshing facial mask Aloe Vera ! It would definitely smell fragrant too. Thanks for sharing :)

      • Suzie HQ profile imageAUTHOR

        Suzanne Ridgeway 

        5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

        Hi GTF,

        How interesting that you were a lifeguard. I am sure you saw plenty of cases of sunburn and even sunstroke. Glad you find these remedies at home useful for the unexpected sunburns which are easy and effective. Appreciate your interest and support!!

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

        Claudia Mitchell 

        5 years ago

        Well - I am very familiar with sunburns. I was a lifeguard for many years and back then, sunscreen was not a big deal like it is today. I got many sunburns and used anything and everything to soothe it. Love that these are natural remedies. Now I just slather on sunscreen and don't stay out as long. Another great hub!

      • Suzie HQ profile imageAUTHOR

        Suzanne Ridgeway 

        5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

        Hi Alicia,

        Lovely to see you and thank you for your nice comment on Bill's hub. Hopefully you will not need these remedies but better to be prepared in knowing what you do, just in case! Thanks so much for commenting :-)

      • AliciaC profile image

        Linda Crampton 

        5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Thanks for all the useful tips, Suzie. Hopefully I won't get a sunburn this summer, but I'll keep some of the supplies that you recommend on hand just in case!

      • Suzie HQ profile imageAUTHOR

        Suzanne Ridgeway 

        5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

        Hi Elias,

        Good to have your visit and comment! Yogurt is an excellent one for cooling the skin down and you have the very best in my opinion - Greek Yogurt is my favorite and could eat it constantly! Had the best ever in Kos 6 years ago. Thanks for dropping in appreciate your interest and input!!

      • Suzie HQ profile imageAUTHOR

        Suzanne Ridgeway 

        5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

        Hi Carol,

        Good to see you! Yes, unfortunately there is a need for these even though we all dangers that go with sunburn and the sun. Appreciate your lovely comments my friend, stay tuned another just launched! Cheers for your votes, pin etc . . .always wonderful to receive the support! Have a great vacation!

      • Elias Zanetti profile image

        Elias Zanetti 

        5 years ago from Athens, Greece

        Very useful hub, Suzie. I have had my share of sunburns in the past and I agree it doesn't feels good :) I have tried yogurt - it's good in relieving the heat. If you want to avoid the peeling then a moistaruzing cream is a necessary companion (and not only when you get a sunburn).

      • Suzie HQ profile imageAUTHOR

        Suzanne Ridgeway 

        5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

        Hi Rose,

        Many thanks for commenting you are always a delight to see. With all your photography sunscreen is definitely a must and having some of these quick remedies "just in case" is handy to have on file. I know I do my best and every so often get a spot in obscure places like back of neck or behind a knee. Hope you find these useful and hopefully you will not have to use them!! LOL

      • carol7777 profile image

        carol stanley 

        5 years ago from Arizona

        Almost missed this one. What great ideas particularly if you forget your sunscreen eh? It would be good if people never needed to use your solutions, however they will..As always so well written and explained. I just wait for your next beauty solution..What is next??? UP, pinning etc.

      • randomcreative profile image

        Rose Clearfield 

        5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

        Thanks for all of the great advice! I have been outside a lot more than usual this year, as I've been taking pictures at every available opportunity. As such, I'm burning much more frequently than usual and have really had to up my protection game. The whole sunburn topic is pretty foreign to me, and I need all of the tips that I can get.

      • Suzie HQ profile imageAUTHOR

        Suzanne Ridgeway 

        5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

        Hi kthix10,

        Hope these remedies will come in useful for your husband, many thanks for checking it out!

      • Suzie HQ profile imageAUTHOR

        Suzanne Ridgeway 

        5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

        Hi Carly,

        Sorry to hear about your kids sunburn. Hopefully these homemade remedies may come in handy, having an aloe vera plant or pure aloe vera gel is worth always having and tea baths seem very effective too. Thanks so much for stopping by and appreciate your comments,votes and for sharing!

      • kthix10 profile image

        kthix10 

        5 years ago from IL

        I can use this for my husband who always forgets the sunscreen.

      • CarlySullens profile image

        CarlySullens 

        5 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

        Thank you for writing this Suzie. I live in Florida and put sunscreen on my kids all the time as do the parents I hang out with. Last weekend the kids were at the pool and all came home with sunburns, even when we re-applied the sunscreen etc. These home remedies are fabulous. I will come here again and again when I need to treat sunburn for my family. Voted up and shared.

      • Suzie HQ profile imageAUTHOR

        Suzanne Ridgeway 

        5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

        Hi midget,

        Thankfully many of us to have suffered sunburn in childhood or early youth have learned lessons. Thanks so much for commenting and interesting to hear your nickname "lobchar" there are always some of those in Ireland when we do get sun unfortunately, still not heeding all the warnings and safety advice. Appreciate you sharing on!

      • Suzie HQ profile imageAUTHOR

        Suzanne Ridgeway 

        5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

        Hi Janet,

        Thanks for visiting and commenting! I too had moles removed (upper arm and behind knee) that thankfully were okay but it showed me I need to be so careful. Good to know you found this useful, appreciate your relaying of your own story.

      • Suzie HQ profile imageAUTHOR

        Suzanne Ridgeway 

        5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

        Hi Bill,

        Many thanks my friend for popping in! Aloe is one treatment most of us know about but I agree with you on potatoes and never thought of a bath of tea but it definitely seems to work. Thanks so much for commenting and glad you found useful. Always appreciate your views, votes, share and pin, have a great weekend!

      • Suzie HQ profile imageAUTHOR

        Suzanne Ridgeway 

        5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

        Hi Sha,

        Thanks for your own tested method for treating blister bubbles. When they burst they can easily become infected, great to hear you found aloe vera plant did the job! Thanks so much for filling me in with your own experience!!

      • midget38 profile image

        Michelle Liew 

        5 years ago from Singapore

        Used to frequent the beach with a friend of mine when we were in our teens and she used to call me 'lobchar" - combination of 'lobster' and "charcoal". I used to get sunburned quite badly. Wish I had read this then! Thanks for sharing, and sharing this too!

      • janetwrites profile image

        Janet Giessl 

        5 years ago from Georgia country

        I also had a severe sunburn on my back when I was a child. I was about 1o. It was so painful and the skin started to peel. Many years later I have had to remove a black mole on my back which was already a skin cancer precursor. Now I'm really cautious and I have never had a severe sunburn since that day back at childhood. Your tips for sunburn relief are very useful. Thanks for sharing.

      • bdegiulio profile image

        Bill De Giulio 

        5 years ago from Massachusetts

        Suzie, wish I knew all of this when I was younger. I too suffered a few bad sunburns and the memory is fresh enough to keep me out of the sun whenever possible. I always knew about aloe but some of these other treatments are amazing. Honey, tea, and raw potatoes? Who knew? Great job with excellent tips. Voted up, shared, pinned, etc...

      • bravewarrior profile image

        Shauna L Bowling 

        5 years ago from Central Florida

        Suzie, I've found the best relief and preventative measure for sunburn bubbles is to remove a frond of an aloe plant, slice it lenghtwise and rub the juice on the burned areas. It relieves the sting and diminishes the sunburn bubbles so they are less apt to peel.

      • Suzie HQ profile imageAUTHOR

        Suzanne Ridgeway 

        5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

        Oh Sue,

        I feel your pain! I have done similar, fallen asleep and paid the price at the coast with the deceptive sea breeze. Glad you were able to reduce the redness with yogurt, it is so good for the skin and is cooling. Thanks so much for sharing your recent experience and remedy you found great. Appreciate your comments!

      • Suzie HQ profile imageAUTHOR

        Suzanne Ridgeway 

        5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

        Hi Chitrangada,

        Lovely to see you again! So glad you enjoyed and found useful ideas. You are probably well used to the sun in India and take adequate care. Thanks so much for your enthusiasm for my work, it is wonderful to receive. Cheers for the votes!!

      • Suzie HQ profile imageAUTHOR

        Suzanne Ridgeway 

        5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

        Hi tobusiness,

        I hate seeing so many suffering here with sunburn. It reminds me of the time I was badly burnt and hopefully these remedies will be easily doable for all. Appreciate your support and interest, thanks so much for voting!

      • Suzie HQ profile imageAUTHOR

        Suzanne Ridgeway 

        5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

        Hi Rose,

        Cheers for your lovely comment. Good to hear you look after your skin in the sun, it certainly is not worth it to neglect it. Appreciate you sharing your own experience, thanks so much for the thumbs up, have a wonderful weekend!

      • Suzie HQ profile imageAUTHOR

        Suzanne Ridgeway 

        5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

        Hi Vinaya,

        Many thanks for commenting, hope these ideas come in handy for your harsh summers. Appreciate your visit and support, have a great weekend :-)

      • Suzie HQ profile imageAUTHOR

        Suzanne Ridgeway 

        5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

        Hi Bill,

        Know the feeling of sunless days here but at least you are armed with your honey if you ever do see a few rays! Mick got the slap on the back as you specified by the way, he was expecting a wallop of a smack but I was worried his back may go into spasm! Have a great one my friend, love to Bev and your brood of chucks!!

      • Suzie HQ profile imageAUTHOR

        Suzanne Ridgeway 

        5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

        Hi Mary,

        So good of you to pop in! Lucky you and well done on taking precautions. Hope these ideas come in handy should you both head to the coast! Thanks so much again, cheers for all your thumbs up and sharing!

      • Sue Bailey profile image

        Susan Bailey 

        5 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK

        I unfortunately got my face burned the other day. I was at my daughters house looking after the animals whilst she was on holiday. She'd taken her sunscreen with her and I thought I'd just risk ten minutes in the sun without any. I fell asleep and woke an hour later with a face like an angry red tomato. I put natural yoghurt on it which has soothed it nicely and taken the redness away.

      • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

        Chitrangada Sharan 

        5 years ago from New Delhi, India

        Very nice and descriptive hub as usual! The natural treatment for Sunburns is the most effective ones, I believe. And you gave the best options meant for Sunburns.

        Well presented, Voted up and useful!

        Thanks!

      • tobusiness profile image

        Jo Alexis-Hagues 

        5 years ago from Lincolnshire, U.K

        Suzie, a very timely and useful hub!...everyone should be aware of the dangers of too much sun, and how to protect themselves and treat the skin for sunburn. Voting up and more.

      • Suzie HQ profile imageAUTHOR

        Suzanne Ridgeway 

        5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

        Hi Kathryn,

        Many thanks for visiting and comments. Good on you being diligent in the sun, it is so easy to get sunburn. Appreciate your loyalty and votes, shares - have a terrific weekend!

      • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

        Vinaya Ghimire 

        5 years ago from Nepal

        Summer in Nepal is coarse. Synthetic sun screens do not work properly. I will love to try these home remedies. Thanks for sharing.

      • rose-the planner profile image

        rose-the planner 

        5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

        Another awesome and helpful article! I have very fair skin and unfortunately, a sunburn magnet. I know all too well how a bad sunburn can hurt and quite frankly be very dangerous. I never go anywhere without a big bottle of soothing and cooling aloe vera gel. Also, I use sunscreen that is at least 35+. Great tips! Thank you for sharing. (Voted Up) -Rose

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 

        5 years ago from Olympia, WA

        I smile now every time I see your tagline. :)

        As for sunburn, wouldn't we have to have sun for that to happen???? Not likely here in Washington. Whew, one disaster averted.

        I like honey, so I could eat it and smear it on my body all at once. Pretty cool, the two-for-one remedy!

        I'm done now.

        Have a great weekend my dear friend. Slap the Mickster on the back for me and give him my best wishes as well.

        bill

      • tillsontitan profile image

        Mary Craig 

        5 years ago from New York

        Another great one Suzie and so topical right now. My husband once had a severe sunburn but fortunately I never have. I love your solutions and will certainly keep some handy when and if we head to the beach this summer. Brilliant my friend.

        Voted up, useful, awesome, interesting and shared.

      • Kathryn Stratford profile image

        Kathryn 

        5 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

        I don't get sun burns as often as I used to, since I am diligent about using sunscreen, but this will come in handy when I do! It is amazing how easy it is to get burned when in the sun.

        Thanks for sharing this with us, Suzie. I have seen some of these solutions, but not all of them, and it seems that most people would have some of these laying around their house. Very handy.

        Voted up and sharing!

        Have a fantastic weekend.

        ~ Kathryn

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