The first thing that we seem to type in to Google after getting a gnarly sunburn on our tropical vacation is, “How to make a sunburn go away faster”.
Obviously, the first thing you should have done was take preventative measures to make sure you didn’t get a sunburn (like buying the best tanning lotion), but sometimes even with those measures taken, the sun overpowers us.
It can even happen when we aren’t out sunbathing. Having even 15 minutes out in the sun during certain times of the day can give you a burn. When your skin comes in contact with UV rays, it damages your DNA, making it necessary for the body to kill off the damaged cells and rejuvenate.
The redness and burning is essentially that process of your healthy cells destroying the damaged ones.
Luckily, there are some remedies that you can perform at home to treat your sunburn and help it to disappear faster.
The 6 Remedies
The #1 Remedy - Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is the ultimate remedy for sunburns.
It’s the pulp of a popular succulent plant that has been correlated with sunburn healing for many generations.
The jelly-like substance is an excellent moisturizer and can help to keep the skin nice and hydrated. It has also been shown to help treat 2nd and even 3rd degree burns. There are two ways you can find Aloe Vera.
First, look online or at your local pharmacy for Aloe Vera lotions. There’s no doubt that they will have some available next to the sunscreens. If you want to go all natural, you can peel the skin off of an adult Aloe Vera plant, blend it up into a nice pulp, and apply it gently to the affected area.
#2 Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is probably one of the most popular types of oils for skin and hair care.
This is because it has a wide array of anti-microbial properties from the lauric acid. It is also great to use as an anti-inflammatory agent, hence it being on our list.
Take a cool shower first before applying coconut oil to your skin to make sure that it isn’t dry.
Begin applying it directly to the sunburned areas of your body with a cotton pad or your hands.
Be very gentle. You only need it to appear as an ultra-thin film atop your skin.
There’s no need to soak yourself here! This thin film will help to keep your skin from drying it out so it can get to work repairing itself quicker.
#3 Manuka Honey
Another excellent anti-bacterial source that can be found in most household pantries is honey. It can help to suck out the fluid from blisters that appear on the skin and then keep them covered to prevent any sort of infections.
It can also act as a protective agent if you get the urge to break the blisters. Organic honey is certainly the way to go here, as using honey with too many sugars or additives may have an opposite effect.
#4 Coconut Milk
Coconuts have so many beneficial properties. We all know that person who is on the coconut oil kick right now, and coconut milk is very similar. Not only does it have tons of antimicrobial properties that aid in cell growth and repair, but it also has the same soothing properties as regular milk. If you ask any tropical islander, they’ll tell you that they’ve used coconut milk to help remedy their sunburns.
First step is to purchase a coconut, grate the inside, and soak it up in warm water for just under 10 minutes before mixing it up in a blender. You want it to have a milky property when it’s all done, so don’t be afraid to go really fine with it. Obviously you can purchase coconut milk at the store, though this is the more natural route. When it’s a nice and blended milky substance, put it in the fridge for a bit, and let it cool. When it’s cool, use a cotton pad or something similar to apply it to your sunburned regions.
Most people have a carton of milk in their homes, though most don’t know that it is an excellent remedy for sunburns.
It is a very gentle agent that can be used on the skin, as long as you don’t have any sort of dairy allergy to worry about.
We highly recommend using skim milk if you can, as it leaves less of an “oily” feeling on the skin, though whole milk will work just fine. Simply fill a small bowl full of milk, take a cotton pad, dip it in the milk, and apply it very carefully to the areas where the sunburn is noticeable.
Using fresh tealeaves, brewed and cooled, can also be an excellent soothing agent for sunburns. This is because tealeaves contain certain anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that work in harmony with your body to heal it.
Some properties of tea are know to be great for reducing the risk of cancer, and we all know how dangerous skin cancer can be after a sunburn.
For the how-to, simply boil a few cups of water and add tea like you normally would until it is steeped and very concentrated.
When it’s done, ice it to bring it down to a room temperature or cooler. Like the milk method, use a cotton pad to dip in the tea and apply it to the burned areas on your body. If you don’t have any cotton pads, you can also use a spray bottle with the tea inside.
When you were a baby, your mom or dad probably used cornstarch to help you with nasty diaper rashes. Just like it helps to heal diaper rashes, the properties of cornstarch can help to heal sunburns.
All you have to do is take a few tablespoons of cornstarch and mix it with a little bit of water until it is in a paste-like state. We recommending standing in the shower or somewhere where you don’t mind getting a little paste-y, as this method is certainly messier than the other two.
Take a wet washcloth and begin applying the cornstarch paste very gently to the affected areas. Cornstarch can also be a great ingredient to put on your bed sheets if your sunburn is really bad, as it will help you from chafing throughout the night.
This next method is for those who have very serious sunburns on large regions of their bodies. Oatmeal baths are a wonderful way to give your bad sunburn a fighting chance. Essentially fill your tub with oatmeal and add water before soaking in it.
As an addition, you can add lavender essential oil to it. Lavender oil is another great remedy for many different skin issues, as it has some great anti-inflammatory properties. Before you add your oatmeal to your bath, make sure that you grind it up to a really fine powder so it will go down your drain when you’re all done with your bath!
What If My Sunburn is really bad?
If your skin has begun to swelter or blister, there’s a strong chance that you have serious 2nd degree burns on your skin from a severe sunburn.
Usually blisters can take more than a day to appear, but you’ll start to feel the pain before then. This means that your burn was so bad that the top layer of skin has completely died and released fluids to form those blisters.
If it gets this bad, Manuka honey is your best bet.
Like we said to begin with, the best way to heal a sunburn is to not have one at all. Wear sunscreen as often as possible and reduce your prolonged exposure to the sun. Every sunburn you get damages one more layer of skin, leaving you more and more vulnerable each time.
If you get a sunburn that is really bad, we recommend seeking medical attention to get ointments, painkillers, or treatments, as the measures we’ve listed here are more supportive than anything. Stay cool this summer and have fun!