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Natural Sunburn Treatments

Spending the day at the beach with your family is fun and makes memories that will last a lifetime. Unfortunately, a day at the beach can leave you with sunburn that lasts several days or more. Staying in the sun for hours without the proper sunscreen can be dangerous, and believe me, it does not take long for the sun’s rays to damage your skin. Children and fair-skinned people are even more vulnerable.

We all know that we should take the proper steps to avoid getting sunburned whenever possible. First, make sure you have sunscreen that has a high UV rating. If you are going to be on the beach during the hottest, brightest part of the day, you need a strong sunscreen. You should apply a heavy coating, and reapply it if you get wet or after a few hours.

Accessories such as a wide-brimmed hat or baseball cap will help protect your face and scalp. If possible, place an umbrella in the sand where you are going to sit to provide a shaded area to sit. Finally, be smart. Do not keep young children out in the sun for extended periods of time. They can burn easily and also become dehydrated. However, if you do happen to suffer from sunburn, you can use the natural sunburn treatments here to help provide some relief.

Aloe Vera

The aloe vera plant has been used for hundreds of years in healing skin irritations. If you have an aloe plant, you can snip off a piece and break it open to expose the gelatinous material. Apply this to the sunburn to help relieve the pain. The aloe will also help prevent blistering and peeling. If you do not have an aloe plant, you can buy aloe vera gel and apply in the same manner. Just make sure you buy a variety without added alcohol, as that can actually irritate your sunburn!

Baking Soda

Practically every home has a box of baking soda. It is used for a variety of things around the house, from cleaning to eliminating odors. It can also be used to relieve the pain associated with sunburn. Mix four tablespoons baking soda in a large bowl of cool water and apply to the sunburned area.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Pour apple cider vinegar in a bowl and use a cotton ball to apply to the sunburned area. If there are open blisters or cuts, this may sting; however, it will speed up the healing process. Apple cider vinegar can also help the itching associated with sunburn. If your sunburn is over your entire body, you can put the apple cider vinegar in your bath water. (By the way, any unpleasant smell should dissipate within an hour or so.)

Cool Water

You need to use cold water in two different applications when you are sunburned. First, you need to rehydrate the body. If you are sunburned, you are most likely dehydrated and should drink several glasses of water to combat this. You should also soak in a cool bath or take a cool shower to provide cool relief to the burned areas.

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Vitamin E Gel

Natural vitamin E (not synthetic) is an ideal treatment for sunburn that has blistered and peeled. Use a needle to poke holes in the capsules. The liquid inside is pure vitamin E oil and can be used to heal sunburn blisters.


Oatmeal baths have been used for many years to provide relief for many skin ailments, including sunburn. You can purchase commercial oatmeal bath products or make your own using either of of these methods:

  • Fill a sock with regular, uncooked oatmeal. Tie the sock in a knot and drop it in the bathtub while the water is on to infuse the water with the oatmeal.
  • Grind one cup of oatmeal in a food processor until powdery. Put this powder in the bathtub and soak for thirty minutes.


Honey is a natural antibacterial agent and has been shown to heal skin wounds. Honey can help stimulate the growth of new skin cells when applied to sunburn. Rub it on the sunburn and let it do what it does naturally.


Cucumber has been used in alternative medicine for many years and can be used to treat sunburn. You can use a lemon squeezer to get the juice out of a cucumber, or you can apply cucumber slices directly to the sunburn. You can make a sunburn lotion using cucumber juice, glycerin, and rose water. Mix these ingredients and apply to the burned areas.

Skim Milk

Although there are no scientific studies to back this one up, many naturalists recommend applying compresses made with skim milk to the affected area every half hour until the burning sensation stops.


Yogurt is not only cooling, it contains enzymes that can help reduce redness and irritation and provide cooling relief. You can use it in combination with essential oils to make your own sunburn treatment.

Green Tea

Green tea has many health benefits, and healing sunburn is on that list. You can apply wet green tea bags to the sunburned area, or you can pour fresh green tea into your bath water.


Chamomile is an herb known for healing and relaxation. Chamomile oil can be purchased in health food stores and used to make compresses or used in a mister bottle. You can also put chamomile flowers directly in your bath water for relief from the painful burn.


Lavender has been used for treating all types of burns for many years. It has healing properties and provides immediate relief from the pain. Lavender essential oil can be found in health food stores and on the Internet. It should be mixed with jojoba oil and vitamin E oil to maximize healing.


Take an aspirin immediately after you come home from the beach. The aspirin will reduce the swelling associated with the sunburn. (If you are like me and cannot take aspirin, an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen will also work. Acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, will not work in this case as it is a painkiller but not an anti-inflammatory.) Some people suggest taking the aspirin before going to the beach to prevent the burn or grinding it into a powder that can be used to make a paste to put on the burn. This has not been proven scientifically; however, many people swear that it works.

Sunburn is a painful condition that most people experience at least once in their lifetime. Treating the sunburn naturally is simple and as close as the kitchen. You can use several of these methods or find the one that works best for you and keep it in your pantry. (Just remember that no matter what your grandmother tells you, butter will not help a burn!) Enjoy the sun, but be prepared when the sun’s rays take their toll and leave you looking like a lobster.

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