You’ve remembered your wide-brimmed hat. You’ve liberally applied—and reapplied—your natural sunscreen. You’ve even sought out the parasols and beach tents. But those rays over the weekend still got you. Dreaded sunburns happen to the most diligent of us. They’re like reminders of how vulnerable and exposed our skin is. The scarlet color, the discomfort, and the blisters are all cries for hydrating, anti-inflammatory, healing care—which is what these five totally natural remedies offer—along with much-needed instant sun-burn relief.
Buttermilk contains lactic acid, which helps in redness reduction, gently exfoliates the skin and regenerate new skin cells. Soak a cotton pad in raw buttermilk and gently apply to the burn area, leaving on for fifteen to twenty minutes. You can also Infuse ground yarrow, elder flowers, stinging nettles, chamomile, or calendula—all anti-inflammatory botanicals—in the raw buttermilk to add additional antioxidants and healing polyphenols.
Apple Cider Vinegar
The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar naturally reduces pain, itching, and inflammation. Pour a cup of organic apple cider vinegar into a lukewarm bath and soak for ten minutes. (You can add a few drops of lavender essential oil or UMA Pure Calm Wellness Bath Oil for aromatherapy and soothing hydration.)
Potatoes are an incredibly versatile vegetable long used for various medicinal treatments. Rich in potassium and vitamin B6, raw potatoes can be used as a natural salve for burned and scalded skin. Grate the flesh of a potato and mix with water. Gather it in a soft cloth (cheesecloth or gauze work well) and apply like a poultice to the burned skin for several minutes. You can also slice raw potatoes and place them directly on the skin.
Aloe Vera Gel
There’s good reason why this succulent plant gets top billing for a sunburn salve. The gel offers instant relief to sunburned skin, even more so if it’s been chilled. It aids in the healing of sunburns and mild burns, according to studies, and is abundant in vitamins A, C, E, B12, choline, and folic acid. Aloe Vera is also rich in antimicrobial properties and Auxins and plant hormones auxins and gibberellins, which research has shown to support wound healing. Take the gel from a fresh aloe leaf, or buy organic aloe vera gel from your health food store (sans additives), chill, and apply it directly to skin. Reapply several times a day as needed.
The anti-inflammatory and nutritional phytochemicals in in these delicious, juicy, plump berries are abundant. Their natural astringent tannins help to alleviate the sting of sunburn and the ellgic acid reduces oxidative stress to the skin and prevents collagen breakdown. Mash a cup of organic ripe strawberries and apply as a balm to sunburned skin. Leave on for at least ten minutes before washing off with cool water.
Oatmeal has been used a healing topical for centuries. It anti-inflammatory properties cool the skin and help to avoid the formation of sunburn blisters. Add colloidal oatmeal to cheesecloth or gauze, run cold water through it, discard the oatmeal, soak the compresses in the liquid, and apply directly to sunburned skin. You can also add a cup of colloidal oatmeal to a lukewarm bath and soak for up to ten minutes.
It is essential to heal the skin both externally and internally. A sunburn is a sign of dehydration, an imbalance in the body that can be reset with drinking water and eating water-rich foods like watermelon, honeydew, beets and cantaloupe. Sipping on cooling peppermint or spearmint tea helps to increase blood flow to the burned area, soothe the inflammation, and speed up healing.