Summer’s coming…what does that mean? Of course, sunburn. Yes, some are more susceptible to it that others – like people with lighter skin and people who spend too much time in the sun. What you may not know is that sunburn can actually happen at any time of the year. This is because it is caused by some degree of exposure to ultra-violet rays.
Whether you have persistent sunburn and are struggling with it or you just want to learn something about prevention, you’ve come to the right place. Please read on and enjoy our amazing & effective home remedies for sunburn!
Causes of sunburn
When UV light is bombarding you, your skin produces more melanin than normal. Melanin is what gives your skin its color. It is the pigment in the epidermis of the skin (top layer). How tanned you can get also depends on melanin. The body produces more of it to protect the deeper layers of the skin, and the tan actually protects it from UV light.
The amount of melanin your body can produce is genetically conditioned. People with lighter skin are more likely to get sunburn because their skin produces less of it. You are best off preventing sunburn, because the redness and stinging is too much to bear, as I am sure you know!
The sun gives off UVA, UVB and UVC wavelengths of ultraviolet light. The last kind never reaches the Earth's surface, but the other two do and can even penetrate your skin, causing skin damage.
What’s worse, sun damage is sometimes invisible. It can prematurely age your skin beneath the surface by altering your DNA. This, in turn, may cause skin cancer like melanoma.
Signs and Symptoms of Sunburn
When you get a sunburn, your skin gets red and starts to hurt. If you are severely burnt, your skin may start to swell. Sunburn may be accompanied by flu – like symptoms such as weakness, nausea, chills and a headache.
After several days your skin will start itching and peeling. This is how the body expels sun-damaged cells.
When to call the doctor
Some more serious signs of sunburn include high temperature, chills and strong pain, dry mouth, exhaustion, dizziness and reduced urination. The last few are signs of dehydration.
In most cases, sunburn is not a serious medical condition, in which case our natural remedies below are sure to help!
1. Potato paste relieves sunburn
Potatoes reduce pain. Really?!
- Several medium-sized potatoes
- Wash and scrub the potatoes well, then cut them into thin slices and put them in a blender. If you don’t have a blender, grate them over a bowl. You don’t need to peel them.
- Add some water if they seem too dry.
- Pour the mixture out of the blender or bowl, soak cotton swabs thoroughly in it and apply to the affected areas.
Alternatively, you can soak gauze in the paste and lay it over the burn. If you’re grating them by hand, try to get as much juice as you can, applying the pulp,
2. Milk is a tried and true remedy
Milk is a tried and true home remedy for the treatment of sunburn. Milk compresses reduce skin inflammation, making the sunburn disappear in no time.
- One cup of milk
- A compress
- Apply some regular cow milk on the compress and apply on the sunburn. For faster results, do this three times a day. Alternatively, you can mix some turmeric powder with milk and apply the mixture on the sunburn.
3. Tomatoes repair damaged skin
Tomatoes are a very beneficial remedy against sunburn because they have a very high vitamin C content as well as a variety of clearing, refreshing, cooling and astringent properties. Their absorbing acids help reduce skin irritation and itching and speed up the regeneration process.
Two medium-size tomatoes
- Cut the tomatoes in half and squeeze out the juice, then rub a little on the sunburn.
- Wait 5 minutes, then wash off with warm water and use a soft clean cloth to pat your skin dry.
Alternatively, you can make a paste with the juice of one tomato and one tablespoon of honey. You could also use a light oil-free moisturizer. If you choose to, use it after performing the remedy.
4. Baking Soda replenishes skin cells
Baking soda is a great natural remedy for sunburn because it contains carbon dioxide, which leads to elimination of irritation. It is an antacid, relieving itchiness and skin pain by neutralizing the damage inflicted by the sun.
Baking soda works well with lemon for a double dose of relief. The acidity of lemon facilitates a compensatory response of the body where the pH increases, going from more acidic (low) to more alkaline (high). When dissolved in water, baking soda also increases the body’s pH and its ability to regenerate the skin cells
- A tablespoon of baking soda
- Half a glass of water
- The juice of one lemon (optional)
- Add the baking soda to the juice of the lemon and wait for it to start to fizz. You can add some water if you want.
- Stir the mix until the baking soda is fully dissolved.
- Apply to the irritated area until the signs and symptoms of sunburn go away.
- Do not overdo it to avoid experiencing the opposite effect.
5. Peppermint refreshes the skin
While peppermint leaves are available throughout the year, they are best when the weather is warm. For this remedy to work, you need peppermint with greenish-purple leaves. If you can’t get leaves, get some peppermint tea bags.
- Several crushed mint leaves or one bag of tea
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- Boil a cup of water, add all the ingredients to it and stir well.
- Let it steep for 5 minutes, then spread on the burn using a cotton swab.
- Repeat as needed.
6. Attack the sunburn with aloe gel
This amazing medicinal plant and its magnificent gel are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to treating sunburn and many other conditions.
There is a trick to this remedy – it will not work with aloe vera gel that is not 100% natural. The gel in pharmacies is supposed to be natural, but it just doesn’t cut it.
You could buy an aloe plant or grow one, get a few leaves and cut them to extract the gel. You could also buy freeze – dried aloe vera, defreeze it and mix with water to get the gel. Stay away from the stuff in stores – they have thousands of ingredients, but little actual gel.
- 250 grams of aloe vera gel
- 150 grams of water
- Mix the gel and the water thoroughly and apply to burn three times daily to speed up healing and relieve the pain.
7. Clean the area with vinegar
Vinegar can help relieve sunburn – you won’t believe how great is it. This remedy will calm the irritated skin, ensuring instant relief. Vinegar has been used for medicinal purposes for ages - if you can’t get apple cider vinegar, regular vinegar will work just as well.
- One tablespoon of apple cider / regular vinegar
- One glass of water
- Add the vinegar to a glass of warm water, let it cool to room temperature and rub on the affected area of the skin.
- Do this several times a day. Again, stop when you feel constant relief, for example if the redness fades and the itchiness is gone for more than six hours.
Note: Do not think this is all apple cider vinegar is good for. It also helps people suffering from heart problems, aids weight loss, reduces blood sugar levels and alleviates symptoms of diabetes.
8. Treat sunburn with chamomile tea
People drink chamomile tea before bed as a sleep aid, to relax and improve their digestion. German chamomile contains a chemical called levomenthol, which has been proven to act as an antiseptic and reduce inflammation. Its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory features will help minimize the discomfort caused by sunburn and are very likely to help promote treatment.
- A handful of dried chamomile flowers or a bag of chamomile tea
- Drinking water
- If you are using a teabag, it should be left to soak in the water for about a minute. If you have dried chamomile flowers, let them soak for about five minutes.
- Press the bag or flowers right on the burn for about 20 minutes two times every day three days in a row until the sunburn fades and/or stops bothering you.
9. Yogurt helps relieve skin pain
Plain yogurt is the best, most effective probiotic out there. Yogurt with active cultures is an excellent remedy to stop discomfort arising from sunburn. Active cultures counteract itching and burning by helping preserve the healthy skin cells (not those destroyed by the sun).
- Some plain, unsweetened yogurt
Dip a cotton swab or ball depending on the size of the burn in the yogurt and rub on the affected area. You will begin to feel relief very soon, but don’t stop the treatment – you need to do it daily for at least five days to make sure the irritation is gone for good.
10. Cucumbers do wonders against sunburn
Cucumbers are very good for damaged skin due to their healing, cooling and astringent properties. They have a host of other amazing medicinal properties such as a high concentration of magnesium, vitamins A and E and potassium, all of which are quite beneficial for damaged skin.
- One fresh cucumber
- Cut the cucumber into thick slices and place on the burn.
- Wait 10 minutes, then remove and rinse off with cool water.
- Do this three times a day. The remedy works best with organic cucumbers.
- Alternatively, you can mix some fresh cucumber juice with a little bit of lime juice in a blender or by hand and apply the mixture to the burn.
- Wash it off once it dries.
Note: Do not exceed the recommended quantity of lime because it is very acidic and there is a risk of your skin getting even worse.
Here is some advice on how to protect your skin from the sun when you're outside:
Wear appropriate clothes. If you have to be outdoors, wear a broad-brimmed hat, a long-sleeved shirt and pants and other sun-protective garments.
Always wear UV-blocking sunglasses
Avoid being outdoors during the hottest time of day. This is usually between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. If you must be outside in that time, at least avoid hot spots without shade.
A married couple was arguing about their next holiday destination. One of them wanted to go somewhere really hot. The other person said, “But it’s 40 degrees Celsius in the shade there!” The other replied, “So we won’t stay in the shade.”
Did they go? I don’t know, but I hope they took some sunscreen with them. You should do the same. Cover your whole body with broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both kinds of rays. I recommend a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Apply sunscreen half an hour before you go outside.
What if there is no sun? This is a dumb question indeed. There is always sun, even on overcast days. If you are prone to sunburn, always wear sunscreen because UV rays are known to penetrate clouds. Reapply sunscreen every couple of hours and every hour if you are perspiring heavily or swimming.
Did you enjoy our list of natural remedies? Sunburn is rarely a life-threatening condition, but it can be quite painful and unpleasant. We hope this article has been helpful and has left you better prepared for any and all possibilities, and you know how to treat sunburn without buying expensive creams and other medication.
Please tell us what you think in the comments section and share this article so you can help other people deal with sunburn.