Natural Treatments and Home Remedies for Sunburn

Fortunately, there are a number of natural sunscreens on the market today so you do not have to choose between getting burned and slathering chemicals on your skin.

You know you’ve had too much sun when your skin is red and inflamed or worse, blistering and peeling.

ALLOPATHIC TREATMENT

A doctor may recommend an anti-inflammatory, like aspirin, to combat pain and inflammation. They may suggest hydrocortisone cream. Apart from that, treatment in most cases will be home treatment, unless your very young child is burned.

Treatment for a sunburn is primarily for relief of pain and discomfort.

 SELF TREATMENT

The suggestions below are self-treatments that others have found helpful for this condition and are offered as information for your further research.

FIRST STEPS

  • Cool the skin. Wrap an ice pack in toweling and apply to the burn. Do not place ice directly on skin ever. Apply for 10-15 minutes at a time.
  • Cool the skin with a cool or tepid bath, shower or moist compresses. Do not rub the skin or use oils or soap.
  • Application of oils or lotions should only occur AFTER the skin is cool.

AVOID

  • Antihistamines
  • Local anesthetic creams

HERBS AND SPICES

TEAS AND OTHER LIQUIDS

Green or black tea, cooled and applied by compress, will help to cool the skin. Wet teabags can be applied to burned eyelids.

ESSENTIAL OILS

Some essential oils that have anti-inflammatory properties may be added to a cool bath. Just add a few drops to the bathwater. In addition, when you are ready to put lotions on your body, you might look for products that contain some of these essential oils. There is no information available about the safety of essential oils for infants, children, or pregnant women (for any condition).

  • Green tea
  • Lavender
  • Marigold
  • Menthol
  • Roman Chamomile
  • Tea Tree

OTHER THINGS YOU CAN DO

  • Apply aloe vera directly from the plant.
  • Apply diluted apple cider vinegar.
  • Baking soda paste (with water)
  • Bathe in water to which baking soda has been added; air-dry without rinsing
  • Calamine lotion (w/o antihistamines)
  • Cold skim milk applied by compress
  • Cool colloidal oatmeal bath
  • Cornstarch paste (with water)
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
  • Eating pomegranates may provide some protection because of the ellagic acid content.
  • Epsom Salt bath
  • Epsom salt dissolved in water; spray on skin
  • Organic, virgin, expeller-pressed coconut oil for rehydration AFTER the skin is cooled; apply with a compress
  • The strained liquid from lettuce boiled in water
  • Thin slices of potatoes or cucumber for small areas
  • Witch Hazel applied by a compress
  • Yogurt applied topically

OTHER SUBSTANCES AND SUPPLEMENTS

The cost of having a blood test to determine if you have nutritional deficiencies is likely to be negligible compared to over-consuming expensive supplements that you do not need.

  • Astaxanthin taken regularly for weeks before exposure may help increase protection.
  • Green tea extract may help stimulate immune function during exposure.
  • High doses of Vitamin D taken immediately after exposure may reduce swelling and inflammation,
  • Vitamins C and E may offer small benefits against sunburn.

HYDRATION

You will need extra water with sunburn and the resulting rise in body temperature. Water is essential and a main nutrient for the human body. Without it, you cannot survive for many days. Water transports nutrients throughout the body, protects the eyes and mouth, lubricates joints, regulates your body temperature and removes waste from your body. Hydration is directly related to brain functions. Staying hydrated is fundamental for a healthy body, so how much is enough? There are so many differences in people (i.e., how much we sweat), as well as the diets we consume (a lot of water comes from healthy, whole foods), but a general rule is to consume enough water that your urine is clear, but not so much that you dilute your nutrients. If you are taking certain supplements that make your urine yellow, then you can start out with the formula of drinking ½ to one ounce of water for each pound you weigh. If you weigh 130 pounds, drink 65 to 130 ounces of water a day.

ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES

CAUTIONS

  • Any burn, no matter how light, is a sign of skin damage.
  • Avoid sun exposure until you are healed.
  • Citrus essential oils may make your skin more sensitive to UV radiation.
  • Do not apply alcohol.
  • Do not apply lotions with antihistamines.
  • Even tanning increases your chance of skin cancer and promotes accelerated skin aging.
  • High altitudes may exacerbate your reaction to UV rays.
  • Let peeling skin flake off without helping it along.
  • Protect your young children from the sun as their skin is vulnerable; remember to protect their eyes as well.
  • Risk of sunburn is increased by a number of drugs.
  • Sunburn accelerates skin aging and increases your chances of developing carcinomas and melanomas (skin cancer).
  • Sunburns in children under 1 year old are considered an emergency.
  • The closer you are to the eqator, the greater your chances of sunburn.
  • UV rays are most powerful between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • You can burn on an overcast day; UV rays penetrate clouds.

WHEN TO CALL A DOCTOR

  • Failure to heal within a few days
  • Headaches
  • High fever
  • Pain, chills, weakness
  • Severe blistering
  • Signs of infection

PREVENTION

  • Use a full-spectrum, natural sunscreen product, minimum 30 SPF.
  • Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before exposure and every 90 minutes during exposure.
  • Wear hats and UV-protective sunglasses.
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