6 Natural Ways to Treat a Sunburn

Sunburns are never fun for anybody. Not only is there some initial pain, but you want to minimize your risk of permanent skin damage, or even skin cancer, by not getting burned in the first place. If you’re going to be outside, regardless of whether it’s peak sunburn hours or any other daylight hours, a broad spectrum SPF is a must. Seeing “broad spectrum” on an SPF label means that the formula is protecting you from both UVA and UVB rays.

The most effective way to avoid getting sunburned is to stay out of the sun during peak hours, usually from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

However, even when we do our best not to get overexposed to the sun’s rays, sunburns can happen to the best of us. There are plenty of natural remedies to help soothe the pain of overexposure, most of which you can find in your pantry or at the nearest grocery store. Check out these natural sunburn remedies, but cross your fingers that you won’t need to use them this summer.  

Aloe

This is an oldie but a goodie for a reason. Aloe is as soothing and cooling as it is good for skin health. While there are tons of over-the-counter aloe gels that you can buy, the leaf of an aloe plant is your best bet to ensure you’re getting concentrated and potent healing.  

Oatmeal

The anti-inflammatory properties of oatmeal make it a popular ingredient in a lot of daily moisturizers. To help soothe a sunburn with oatmeal, draw yourself a cool bath and pour some oats in. There’s no harm in letting the oats touch your skin, but most people like to use a tea strainer or wrap the oats in cheesecloth so that they don’t clog their drains. Easier cleanup is always ideal when your skin is sore to the touch.  

Milk

Many people think a milk bath is the way to go, but you’ll get the most benefits if you just apply the milk directly to your skin without diluting it in water. You can use a washcloth or a gauze pad soaked in milk as a cool compress. You’ll feel instant relief from the coolness soaking on your skin, but the milk proteins will help to fight inflammation as well.  

Yogurt

Much like milk, the proteins in yogurt are known to speed up the healing process when dealing with a sunburn. The coolness from your refrigerator will certainly help bring down inflammation, while probiotics help heal and restore the skin. Just make sure to pick a plain, unflavored yogurt.

Apple cider vinegar

ACV has so many healing effects for the skin and hair because it helps to balance pH. People know that it’s great to help prevent breakouts or reduce hair buildup, but most don’t know that the same logic can be used with sunburned skin. Applying ACV to the skin post-burn will help prevent blistering, itching and overall irritation of already delicate skin. The trick is to always mix it with water, no matter where or when you’re using it topically. It’s great to mix in a cool bath or on a cold, wet washcloth compress.

Honey

Honey is an anti-bacterial miracle that most people overlook when it comes to burned skin. Although it’s a messy option, it’s highly soothing and anti-inflammatory. It’s best to use Mānuka honey or unfiltered, raw honey to get skin-healing effects.    

No matter what at-home remedy you choose to relieve your sunburned skin, you should remember to keep out of the sun while your skin is healing — and stay hydrated!

Lisa Bensley is the founder of BeautyByBenz, a health and beauty blog that is really just an excuse to buy too much makeup. When she is not writing, she's probably boxing, obsessing over her Dachshund, Stanley, reading, or binge-watching Law & Order: SVU. Follow her (and Stanley's) antics on Instagram.