10 Natural Remedies to Soothe Your Post-Sun Skin

As much as we try to avoid sunburn, sometimes even the best of us can be left red and sore after a day in the sunshine. Sunburn occurs when our skin's defenses to UV rays are overwhelmed, and a toxic reaction takes place, resulting in the burning sensation we are all too familiar with. We know that the best way to prevent sunburn is to wear an adequate amount of sunscreen, but it's estimated that 31 per cent of American's don't use any kind of protection at all! 

In these cases, and sometimes even for those who diligently smother themselves in SPF, we get caught out. For when this happens, we've gathered 10 natural remedies to relieve you of the pain and aftermath of sunburn, so you can soothe irritated skin, cool burns, and speed up the healing process.

All of these remedies are cost-effective and easy to use, and will save you an expensive trip to the pharmacy! Give them a try when you first notice your sunburn, but if your pain persists and skin shows no sign of healing, it may be worth consulting your doctor. 

1. Baking soda

Baking Soda is an alkaline, which has been proven as an effective skin-soother, especially on sunburned skin. It also has antiseptic properties, which can relieve the itchy sensation and reduce any inflammation and redness. To see if Baking Soda can relieve your burns, fill your bathtub with one cup of baking soda and soak your skin for 15 minutes. If bathing isn't your bag, then you can also mix four tablespoons of baking soda with a little warm water to make a paste, and then apply it directly on the affected area with a cotton round. Wash it off after 10 minutes and continue this until your burns feel better.

2. Oatmeal

Not just a breakfast staple, oatmeal can also help soothe and moisturize your skin, while reducing painful irritation. Thanks to their healing powers, oats have been used to treat eczema and other skin conditions due to their anti-inflammatory properties. Try adding one cup of oatmeal to a bath of warm water and soak for around half an hour. Allow your body to air dry or pat dry if needed, rather than rubbing. Alternatively, you can cook oatmeal with water until it has a runny consistency, let it cool, and then apply to any specific sunburned area. Don’t rub as it will irritate your skin further! Leave on for half an hour and rinse off.

3. Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is the most well-known go-to for sunburn, as it works well as an anti-inflammatory, while soothing and cooling the skin. The gel of the Aloe Vera plant also contains properties to help skin repair faster, encouraging the healing of any damaged skin cells. To treat your sunburn with Aloe Vera, extract the gel from a section of the leaf and put it into the refrigerator for around half an hour. Apply the chilled gel on to the sunburn and allow it to dry up on its own, letting the skin absorb the gel. 

4. Black Tea

Tea can help sun burn too, as its full of antioxidants which ease irritated skin. Tea has tannins which help protect the skin from UV radiation damage and reduce inflammation while helping restore the skins pH balance. Brew two or three tea bags in hot water for a few minutes. Remove the tea bags and allow it to cool down to room temperature. Soak a cloth in the cooled tea and dab it onto the affected area. Allow it to dry completely and reapply as needed.  

5. Apple Cider Vinegar

Surprisingly, apple cider vinegar can soothe sunburn pain! Although it's an acid, when diluted with water, its properties help speed up the healing process, too. Add a cup of cider vinegar to a bathtub of lukewarm water and soak for around half an hour. This will help balance the pH levels on the affected area and help the skin rejuvenate. Alternatively, you can mix equal amounts of apple cider vinegar with cool water and, using a cloth or paper towels, place them over the sunburn until soaked through. If you have any cuts, avoid getting this vinegar into these as it may irritate and sting. 

6. Cool Compress

Applying a cold compress is the easiest way to soothe the burn, as it will help soothe the itchy and irritated skin. The ice cubes also constrict the blood vessels, reducing inflammation. Wrap some ice in a damp cloth and place on the burn, continue as much as you need to ease discomfort. Don't apply the ice directly on to your skin as it can cause more damage. 

7. Milk

Milk includes fats, protein and a pH that can have a soothing effect and comfort the various symptoms of sunburn. Mix a cup of skimmed milk with water and add ice cubes. Soak a cloth in the milk and apply to the area.

8. Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil is everywhere in the beauty industry at the moment, so it’s no surprise it can help your sunburn, too. It’s full of fatty acids and works as a moisturizer which helps speed up the healing process. The vitamin E in it also works as an antioxidant, which helps soothe inflammation. Warm some extra-virgin coconut oil in a microwave and gently massage it into the sunburned area. 

9. Honey

Honey works as a great antibiotic and helps keep the moisture in the skin. It will also ease inflammation and swelling. Apply a thin layer of natural honey on to the burn and allow it to dry on its own. Wash off and repeat as necessary. 

10. Potatoes

Potatoes contain natural starches which will help draw the heat out of your skin, which in turn speeds up the recovery process. Peel two large potatoes cut them up and blend into a paste. Apply on to the affected area, let it dry on its own and then take a shower.

Final thoughts

While there are many ways to help soothe your sun burn, you also need to keep out the sun after, too (which may seem obvious, but if you're on holiday it can be hard to do). Burnt skin is even more sensitive, so whilst your skin is healing, cover up with loose layers (tight layers will only make it worse), stay in the shade and slather on the SPF 50. 

*Top tip* putting sun screen in the fridge will make the application feel great on sore skin and help cool the burn, whilst making sure you stay protected so you don't make the same mistake twice.


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