Updated April 2020
It’s that time of year again! Summer is here and outdoor fun is calling!
But we all know what happens when we stay out a little too long and get too much sun:
I’ve had a few bad burns in my day and I’ll tell ‘ya, it can be downright miserable! Not to mention, it’s not at all good for your skin.
After trying some home remedies myself, and asking friends what works for them, I have come up with 15 of the best natural remedies to help soothe and heal a sunburn.
What Is A Sunburn?
We know that when you are in the sun for too long your skin can get burned, but have you ever wondered why?
After a little research, I found that when we’re in the sun for a while our body starts producing more melanin to protect the skin from damage.
Melanin is a pigment that is produced by our skin cells, helps absorb UV light, and is what causes our skin to look tan.
The problem is melanin is only able to provide so much protection. If we are in the sun for quite a while, sunburn can occur.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.
Tips For Sunburn Prevention
While getting a little sun is good, getting too much is not.
In fact, too much sun can increase wrinkles, cause discoloration, rough skin, and has even been linked to skin cancer and eye damage.
That’s why it’s essential to take precautions if you’re going to be out in the sun for long periods of time.
Useful Sunburn Prevention Tips
Wear protective clothing– a hat, shirt with sleeves, and long pants can help keep the sun off your skin if you are going to be outside for a long time.
Use a natural sunscreen- apply according to directions before going outside and after swimming. Be sure to opt for a natural sunscreen though, because chemicals in sunscreen have been found to absorb into the bloodstream and even cause problems with fish, wildlife, and coral reefs! Looking for good, natural options? EWG has great info on what to look for and the best sunscreens available.
Stay out of the sun from 10-2– this is when the sun is strongest. Some say you shouldn’t spend long amounts of time in the sun between 10-4. Just an FYI though-sunburn can happen even if it is an overcast day so be careful no matter what time you go out!
Be careful with certain medications– some medications can cause sun sensitivity. Look up your meds or ask the pharmacist if any can cause sensitivity. That way you can take precautions and not find out the hard way!
Use caution with essential oils– I love essential oils but it’s really important to have a good understanding of them before using. Certain oils, especially citrus oils, can cause skin damage if used in the sun. You could experience itching, burning, or blisters. These effects can even be seen hours after exposure. Be sure to skip the oils or products with essential oils if you’re going to be out in the sun.
Best Home Remedies For Sunburn Relief
So what do you do if you happen to get a sunburn? Here are 15 natural remedies to help soothe and heal!
Cool Shower Or Bath
Just like any burn, cool water can help relieve the pain. To help even more you can add 2 cups of baking soda to the bath or try adding some oatmeal. Both are known to be soothing.
Aloe vera is a well-known remedy for burns, and for good reason. It is soothing, cooling, and healing. The actual plant seems to work better but many people find relief with store-bought, just make sure it’s as natural as possible and doesn’t contain any preservatives or fragrance.
Raw honey is known to be anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory and has been studied for its effective healing properties, so it’s no surprise that it makes the list of burn healing remedies. Actually, raw honey has been used for thousands of years for burns as well as wounds.
Be sure to look for raw, organic honey.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Like honey, apple cider vinegar is another home remedy that has a long history of success. The reason vinegar works for sunburns is that it can help re-balance skin ph and help with healing. To use vinegar, wet a cotton ball and dab on. For larger areas soak a towel and gently lay on the skin for a few minutes. You could also add a cup to a cool bath and soak.
Coconut oil is said to be a helpful option for sunburn relief. This oil melts easily, absorbs quickly, and can be cooling. It can also help with the dry, tight feeling skin has after too much sun. If you have issues with acne you may want to consider another oil though, some people find that coconut oil can make acne worse.
Peppermint, lavender, and helichrysum are top picks for sunburn relief. There are a few ways you can use them. First, you can add a few drops to your cool bath. You could also add them to a spray bottle with water and spritz lightly a few times per day. Another way to use essential oils is to add a few drops to your favorite carrier oil (be sure to dilute properly!) and gently rub on red areas.
Calendula is a wonderful remedy for healing sunburned skin! In the cream form, it is easy to rub on, has antibacterial properties, and helps stimulate collagen production. It can also help prevent scars.
Some say that using witch hazel for their sunburn gave them almost immediate relief. To use this, soak a cotton ball and gently apply. For larger areas you can soak a cloth and gently apply. Witch hazel helps soothe and reduce inflammation.
Vitamin e can be found in liquid or capsules and can be applied to sunburn to help reduce inflammation and promote healing. This is a great option for the skin if there is peeling too.
This one may seem a bit strange but using freshly brewed and cooled tea can actually draw heat and bring relief to skin that has been in the sun too long. Wet a towel with the cooled tea and apply to affected areas.
Homeopathic Remedies For Sunburn Treatment And Relief
To some, Arnica may not be the first homeopathic remedy that comes to mind for a sunburn but it is a great first-aid remedy and should be considered any time there is pain or swelling.
Cantharis is typically one of the first homeopathic remedies thought of for burns. It is especially useful when there is a burning feeling that is relieved by applying something cold.
Urtica Urens is the go-to remedy for prickly or stinging burns.
Apis mellifica is another that is not always thought of as a sunburn remedy but if there is burning, itching pain with swollen pink skin that is relieved by the application of cold, it should be considered.
And No Matter Which Natural Remedy You Choose…
Be Sure To Stay Hydrated!
Last, but certainly not least on this list of sunburn remedies is to replace fluids and stay hydrated! If you are out in the sun for an extended amount of time it is essential to re-hydrate.
If you’re looking for natural drinks that can help consider coconut water or fruit infused water!
A Few Last Thoughts On Natural Sunburn Relief
While it’s true that sunburns are not good for our skin or health and are often avoidable, it really can happen to the best of us.
If you find yourself or your loved one a little red from too much sun exposure, be sure to cover up or get into the shade, hydrate, and try one or more of these remedies to help soothe and heal!
Hi, I’m Amy
I’m a Licensed Massage Therapist and have a degree in Human Services, but my most important job is being a wife and mom. My goal is to provide others with researched and reliable natural health information just for women so you too can live….
A Radiantly Healthy Life!