Sunburns are just the worst. We’ve all experienced that moment when fun in the summer sun quickly turns to extreme discomfort, pain, inflammation, swelling, intense heat, redness, blistering (in the most severe cases), and eventual skin peeling. Sunburns are quite literally radiation burns since UV (Ultraviolet) rays are actually a form of radiation, and they need to be treated seriously and promptly. That doesn’t mean you need to pull out the hydrocortisone steroids and Lidocaine. Here are 7 Natural Sunburn Remedies that actually really do work for fast sunburn relief.
- Cool Oatmeal Bath
Oatmeal is a common natural remedy for soothing skin irritation. For a sunburn, you can create a paste with ground-up rolled oats and water to apply to the area as a compress. Alternatively, you can create a sachet of ground oatmeal using a tied-off cheesecloth or disposable paper tea bags and let it steep in a cool bath. If you have a tub strainer, you can toss the oatmeal directly into the tub without worrying about it going down the drain. Relax in the bath and let the oatmeal-infused water soothe and calm the inflammation of your sunburn.
- Cooling Cucumber Compress
Fresh cucumber is loaded in cooling natural anti-inflammatories and antioxidants and feels very cooling and soothing on sunburned skin. Take a whole cucumber from the refrigerator, and cut into slices. Place the cucumber slices in the freezer for 5-10 minutes and apply directly onto sunburned skin. Alternatively, you can puree the cool cucumber and create a compress using the pureed flesh from the cucumber, or soak a cloth in the cool cucumber juice and apply directly to your sunburn.
- Ice Bath or Cold Shower
Sometimes the simple things provide the quickest relief. Sunburned skin is holding a lot of heat and that heat needs to be released for your skin to start healing and the discomfort to subside. Make the effort to cool sunburned skin by applying cold compresses. You can create an ice bath using cold water an ice cubes, or use ice to make an ice water cold compress, but don’t apply ice directly to the sunburn. Instead soak a face cloth or compress in the ice water and apply the compress to the sunburn. Or take a cool shower or bath, but be careful to avoid harsh soaps which can potentially irritate the damaged skin even further.
- Herbal Tea
According to research, the tannic acid in tea may help pull heat form a sunburn, while catechins (an antioxidant compound) repair skin damage. Huna Nourish Skin Nutrition Beauty Tea contains very powerful yet gentle herbal anti-inflammatories and works really well as a topical herbal compress. You can also try Green tea, Black tea, Chamomile or Calendula tea if you have on hand. This can be particularly helpful if you’re burned around your sensitive eye area. Try soaking tea bags in cool water and place them on top of closed eyes to decrease inflammation, relieve heat, and soothe pain. If you’re using loose-leaf tea, place the herbs into disposable paper tea bags and steep in cold water, or soak a cloth in cold infused tea then apply as a cold compress.
- Huna Calendula Healing Oil
Calendula is an incredible plant that is scientifically proven and medically demonstrated for treating damaged, wounded and inflamed skin. Calendula Oil added topically to a sunburn will immediately provide pain relief because of its analgesic properties, and its potent anti-inflammatory benefits will calm, soothe and reduce the heat, redness and inflammation of sunburn. Huna Calendula Healing Oil is our all-time fav treatment for even the most severe sunburns. It contains Huna’s exclusive organic garden-grown Calendula officinalis in a double-strength infusion, with additional Calendula Supercritical CO2 Extract added for intense high-potency healing action. Highly recommended for all sorts of damaged skin- from sunburns, burns, cuts, wounds, scratches, irritations, eczema, rosacea, dermatitis, inflammatory reactions, broken, abraded or otherwise compromised skin. It has won two international awards for Best Healing Oil and is also 98.5% Organic, 100% Plant-based and Vegan, GMO-free, Gluten-free, Certified Cruelty-free, and Biodegradable. Check out Huna Calendula Healing Oil here and have a bottle on-hand all summer long to effectively treat everything from sunburns, insect bites and stings, cuts and scratches, and even skin rashes.
- Aloe Vera
Evidence in medical literature shows that aloe vera may really help wound healing. If you are fortunate enough to have an aloe plant in your home, simply break off a leaf and apply the juice and pulp from the inner aloe vera leaf. I’m not a huge fan of the drug store version of aloe vera gel because it is often loaded in alcohol, artificial colors and fragrances and other additives. If you can find pure, organic aloe vera gel or juice without any additives, that would be a good substitute for the whole plant. Tip: Store your aloe gel or juice in the fridge so it is cool to apply to sunburns, and it also promotes a longer shelf-life.
- Natural Anti-inflammatories
When a sunburn is severe, it can cause a significant amount of inflammation in skin, which shows up as skin feeling very hot to the touch, redness, swelling, and in very severe cases- blistering. Huna Nourish Skin Nutrition Beauty Tea is packed with anti-inflammatory botanicals commonly used in Herbal Medicine to treat and relief skin inflammation from the inside-out. Have it on-hand in your home medicine cabinet and brew a cup of Iced Nourish Beauty Tea when sunburn strikes.
There are other natural anti-inflammatories such as Turmeric root and Ginger that can be taken internally to help target inflammation at the source and work to reduce and calm the body’s inflammatory reaction and reduce pain. One of my fav ways to consume Turmeric root is in Golden Milk. (Here’s a great dairy-free Iced Golden Milk Latte recipe from 40 Aprons). Try adding some fresh grated Ginger for extra pain and inflammation relief.
Alternatively make an Iced Ginger-Lemon tea by filling a pot with cold water and adding a 1-2 inch chunk of sliced or grated ginger (depending on your tolerance for ginger spice). Bring water to a boil, then turn off the heat and cover. Let cool down, then strain the ginger water into a pitcher, add a squeeze of fresh lemon, and sweeten to taste (if desired) with stevia, maple syrup or raw honey. Store in the fridge and sip often when experiencing sunburn symptoms.
Wishing you speedy natural healing friends!
Written by Heather Urquhart, Herbalist, Botanist, and Certified Natural Cosmetic Formulator.