The best natural sunburn remedies help soothe the pain and redness, are common items that you may already have on hand, and are easy to make and apply. I also love natural products that really support our skin health if we’ve gotten too much sun. So here’s my go to, best of sunburn relief tips and tricks.
This super pale girl goes from day-glo white to day-glo red and then back to white again. Sadly, I’ve had my share of burns, so when people talk good quality sunscreen or natural sunburn relief, I’m all ears. Here are my best natural sunburn treatments that *really* work to relieve the pain and damage of sunburn, along with a couple of tips for getting ready for the summer sun!
Hi! (Can you see me and my big white hat?)
Sunburn Prevention Tips
Sadly, I’m not the only one in my family that got the pale skin genes. I’ve got four kiddos who are just as blessed with fair complexions. So first, let’s talk prevention. If you’re dealing with a bad burn, these tips may really help you next time around.
- Wear sun protective clothing and a hat. This is really our first line of defense. I’m a BIG fan of swim shirts or rash guards for my kids. This made going potty tricky for my younger girl, until I figured out that life is WAY easier if we pair a rash guard with a two piece suit underneath. Adding a swim shirt means that you’re covering less skin with sunscreen. Plus, our worst burns always happened on shoulders or where straps would rub off the sunscreen. With rash guard shirts, that’s prevented.
- Use a good sunscreen and apply enough of it. If you’re using a mineral sunscreen, they work by creating a barrier on your skin. So be sure you’re using enough to actually create a nice coat. If you’re making your own sunscreen, be sure to read my post on DIY Sunscreen: Myth Busted…make sure you’re using something that provides you with enough protection.
- Reapply often. I know…really original. But really important.
- Take breaks and enjoy the shade.
- Work your way up to full on sun exposure by going out for short periods of time early in the season.
- Take your fish oil supplements! This one is based on circumstantial evidence, but so far I’m hearing from my friends who regularly take fish oil supplements that it makes a BIG difference in how well they handle the sun.
Natural Sunburn Remedies
I’ve had my share of bad burns, and I remember how miserable it is to try to sleep when your skin is throbbing, painful, and hot. Our first day in the sun last year was too long, and we all got a bit too red for my liking. Some of my family members chose to tough it out…and they were lobsters by the next day and they peeled. Others used the sunburn treatments below, and their skin healed up quicker and without much or any peeling.
This first sunburn remedy that we employ is an old farmer’s tip, and I know it sounds weird, but I swear it’s worth trying.
- When you come in out of the sun, and think you’ve gotten a little too much sun, DON’T SHOWER.
OK, I know that this may be a hard sell, but soaping up is thought to wash off the natural protective oils that the skin creates to help heal and repair the burn, and legend has it that it removes the protective vitamin D.So give it a shot and let me know what you think…those who showered right after our burn were much worse off than the ones who didn’t. (We rinse but don’t soap up, or simply wait until the next morning to shower.)
- For pain relief, cold tea is amazing. Just plain black or green tea makes an incredible difference and gives great sunburn relief. I like to add in a bag of peppermint tea if you’ve got it for adding cooling and comfort.
If you’ve got a chilled down pot of (unsweetened) fresh tea on had, awesome! If not, I’ve got you covered. Now most instructions for this sunburn treatment call for steeping teabags in hot water, allowing to cool, dabbing with the cooled teabag, blah-blah-blah.
Ain’t nobody got time for that when your skin is on fire.Here’s my super quick trick for instant sunburn relief tea: stick a family sized teabag and a mint teabag into your blender with 16 oz. of cool water and a few ice cubes. Blend for a minute or so until totally pulverized, and strain through a paper towel. Voila…fresh cold tea.To apply: soak down a washcloth and lay over the burned skin, or simply spritz on with a spray bottle, and let the tea soak into the burn. It’s SO AMAZINGLY soothing and took the heat right out of our skin. Tea may stain clothing, so you may want to wear an old tank top for this sunburn treatment. You can keep the leftover tea in the fridge for several days.
- The final sunburn remedy is one that I like to put on to encourage deeper healing. I mix up a couple of tablespoons of aloe gel, vitamin D drops (or you can poke a hole in a capsule if you’ve got that), and a drop of lavender and or carrot seed essential oil. Blend well, and smooth over your sunburn to encourage healing. If you don’t have the oils, just the vitamin D and aloe are very effective, but I love to add a oils for that extra boost of skin nourishment. (See resources below for my favorite brands and recommendations.)
This combination of sunburn treatments worked so well that it’s now my go-to for natural sunburn remedies! It’s not too messy, it’s quick, and it really works to take away the pain and encourage quick healing of our skin.
Natural Sunburn Relief Resources
Here are a few products that I use in my own home to create our sunburn treatments (affiliate links)
A note on Essential Oil brands: If you already love a certain brand of essential oils, then please use what you love! 🙂 I happen to really enjoy the following brands, and they will provide Mass Spectrometer testing on the batches of oil so you can see how pure and unadulterated the oils are. Eden’s Garden, Plant Therapy, and NOW oils all offer very high quality products. (And they’re affordable too!)
Aloe Gel– This is a really great natural/organic brand at a very good price. I’ve also used just the cheapie WalMart
Carrot Seed Oil– Said to nourish, and rejuvenate skin (read more on carrot seed essential oil here)
Lavender Oil– Is a classic go to for burns. This is a large 2 oz. bottle at an amazing price. And I can vouch for the scent and effectiveness of the NOW oils.
Vitamin D drops– This brand has 2,000 iu per *drop*. It’s good stuff!
Do you have favorite natural sunburn remedies? What works for you?
Love your advice. I’ve pinned so I have it handy because I always seem to have one burn each summer. Love the idea about using your blender to create cold tea. I’ll have to remember that one. thanks!
Gwen Brown says
Thanks, Carol! I love instant fixes when we are in need. 🙂
Thank you Gwen! From one day-glo white girl to another, thank you! I am currently, unfortunately, using the tea method you mentioned to soothe my legs where I missed spraying!
Gwen Brown says
Hope you get quick relief. <3
I went sea kayaking and where my shirt rode up my arms I got really burnt. The red areas would turn white if I pressed down with a finger. I also got burnt on my feet in the gaps in my sandals. I fully expected my skin would peel. I had some cannabis infused salve (may not be permitted in all locations) made with cannabis and beeswax. I rubbed it in a few times that night and the next morning. The skin healed nicely with zero peeling.
Shannon Sailor says
Apple cider vinegar! Cools the skin and speeds healing! My daughter got a bad burn a few weeks ago- we rubbed ACV on it and not only did it soothe her skin, but by the next morning her sunburn was gone!