Homemade Sunburn Relief

Ouch!  Got my first sunburn of the year.

There is a triangle of red, crispy skin on my back.  That's what you get when you wear a shirt with an opening in the rear.  Apparently, my back doesn't get much sun, because it's the only part that burned (thankfully), but it sure is sore.

Though we try to be careful, sunburn happens, especially on those first few hot, sunny days.  So what can you do to relieve some of the pain and minimize skin damage?  There are numerous home remedies out there for sunburn relief, and many of them are inexpensive, using ingredients you likely already have at home (my favorite kind of home remedy).


Probably one of the simplest remedies for sunburn out there is apple cider vinegar.  You can either pour some onto a cloth and dab it onto burned skin, or you can put some in a spray bottle (this works best) and spritz it on.  Gently apply the vinegar to the sunburned areas to relieve pain and itching (avoid the eyes and any open cuts).  If you keep a spray bottle of vinegar in the refrigerator, it feels even nicer when applied.

Aloe Vera Juice

If you have an aloe vera plant, any easy sunburn remedy is to cut off a leaf, slice it open, and apply the juice to your skin.  If you do not have an actual aloe plant, you can buy aloe vera juice by the jug.  My local grocery and department stores carry aloe vera juice in the Health & Wellness department.  You can place this juice in a spray bottle in your refrigerator for instant relief that you can spritz on.

Olive Oil

The Greeks have long used olive oil as a skin moisturizer and ointment, and for good reason.  Olive oil has anti-inflammatory and moisturizing properties, making it a gentle fix for sunburned skin.  Simply apply a light coating of olive oil to the sunburn; a little goes a long way, so you won't need to use much.

For an extra boost, why not try infusing some olive oil with skin-friendly herbs, such as calendula or lavender.  

Baking Soda

Adding 1/2 cup of baking soda to cool bath water will help to sooth sunburn.  Soak in the bath for around 15 minutes, and when you get out, allow your skin to air dry.  Spritz on some aloe vera juice or apply a good moisturizer, such as calendula infused olive oil.

Herbal Infusions

Infusions are made basically in the same way as tea.  An ounce of dried herb is steeped in 6 ounces of boiling water for 15 to 20 minutes, the herbs are then strained out, and next, since we are applying the infusion to sunburned skin, the infused liquid is refrigerated.

Some of the best herbs to use for a sunburn infusion are:  calendula, lavender, chamomile, chickweed, green tea, common plantain, and witch hazel.  It is quite likely that you have some common plantain (Plantago major) growing wild in your yard, so be on the lookout for this useful "weed."  It not only works well on sunburn, but the juice from the leaves of this plant works wonders on bug bites and other skin irritations.

Once your herbal infusion has cooled, it can lightly be applied to sunburned areas using a cool, damp cloth or it can be poured into a spray bottle and spritzed onto the skin.

More Sunburn Relief Recipes

Aloe Vera and Vinegar Sunburn Spray

1/4 cup aloe vera juice
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
5 drops lavender essential oil

Put all ingredients into a spray bottle.  Shake well to combine.  Spray on sunburned areas.  Keep refrigerated.


Lavender Sunburn Oil

1/2 cup olive oil
20 drops lavender essential oil

Mix oil and lavender, apply to skin after taking a cool bath.


Oatmeal Bath for Sunburn

1/3 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup baking soda
4 bags green tea

In a grinder or food processor, grind together the oatmeal, baking soda, and green tea (remove the leaves from the tea bag) until powdered.  Add the mixture to a lukewarm bath and soak for 15 minutes.  Follow with a moisturizer.

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