After the winter we had, sun worshippers everywhere are feeling deprived. If you’re lucky enough to go somewhere warm, sometimes the lure of the hot sun can cause you to forget sunscreen … and a couple hours later you’re walking in with an angry sunburn. Unless you’re genetically blessed with a skin tone that does not burn (I am not), I’m sure you’ve experienced varying degrees of sunburn. When you have it, you’ll do anything to get rid of that hot, dry, itchy skin that’s been in the sun too long. Here are a few at-home sunburn treatments to help ease your pain.
Take a Bath
There are a few things that you can add to COOL bathwater that will sooth the burning and itching:
- Baking soda: Add a few large tablespoons to the water
- Oatmeal: Go ahead and dump about a cup in
- Oatmeal powder: This can be found at the pharmacy (or grind it yourself with a mortar and pestle or a coffee grinder)
- Vinegar: Add two cups to the water
- Add soap, bath salts, oils or anything with fragrance. This can irritate your skin further.
- Stay in the bath for more than 10 minutes. This can dry out your skin even more.
- Dry off with a towel. Air dry and allow the baking soda/oatmeal to remain on your skin.
I’m serious about the cool water part – adding hot water to your already-burned skin will make it worse. It doesn’t have to be an ice bath – just make it a step below lukewarm.
Potatoes are actually known for their pain-relieving power (who knew?), and work exceptionally well on minor skin irritations, like sunburn. You can create a potato paste by putting a couple of spuds in the blender. Soak some cotton balls or gauze in the puree and apply them to your sunburn. Another option is to slice the potatoes and lay them directly on your skin.
Soaking a clean washcloth in cold milk and applying it to your burn can instantly relieve some pain. The coolness will remove the heat from your burn, and the milk will leave a layer of protein on your skin. The properties of milk will generally have a cooling effect on your burn. Milk is a far better option than oils or thick creams, which tend to trap the heat in the burn.
Tea does a lot of good things for the body, but easing sunburn pain is probably one of the lesser-known benefits. Green tea contains certain antioxidants, like tannins, which help heal skin and relieve pain when applied. Just bring some water to a boil, steep a couple of green tea bags and let it cool. Consider adding some fresh mint leaves – they’ll add a cooling effect to the tea. After it’s cooled, apply the tea directly to your burn using a soft washcloth or cotton balls.
Plain yogurt has tons of enzymes and probiotics that have healing power. Just apply the yogurt liberally to your burned skin and let it sit for 5–10 minutes. After, rinse with cool water. Make sure you don’t accidently grab vanilla yogurt!
There are plenty of other items in your fridge that could ease your sunburn – like cucumber – but the most important thing is to drink lots and lots of water. Staying hydrated is key when fighting sunburn. Pain relievers such as aspirin can also reduce the pain and swelling associated with sunburn.
We all know the best thing to do is to avoid sunburn altogether (here’s the part where I tell you to reapply your sunscreen), but that doesn’t always happen. Let us know what you do to get rid of your sunburn!