5 Effective Home Remedies to Treat a Painful Sunburn

May 7th 2016

Sunburns are a painful part of summer fun, but some easy home remedies can help soothe the pain using ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. These simple treatments can get you back to enjoying the sunshine in no time.

Stay Cool

One of the simplest ways to relieve the pain of a sunburn is to use a cool compress against your skin. Avoid ice, which can further damage your sunburned skin. Instead, simply soak a cloth in cool water. You can also use cold milk, which leaves a protective and healing layer of protein on the surface of your skin.

Staying cool can help relieve other symptoms of too much sun exposure, including dizziness and headaches. After a bad burn, take it easy for a day or so and stay indoors under a fan or air conditioning.

Take a Bath

Hot baths only cause more pain, but a cool bath can help soothe your symptoms. Consider adding a little apple cider vinegar to the tub, which can help balance your skin and encourage faster healing. A few tablespoons of baking soda can also be soothing.

If you don't mind a little potential mess, oatmeal baths can be a very effective way to soothe your sunburn. Simply add the uncooked oatmeal to your bathwater, using one to two cups for an average-sized tub. To help avoid cleanup later, you can put the oatmeal in a tube sock and tie off the top.

Aloe Vera and Vitamin E

Aloe vera and vitamin E are two compounds that have been shown to soothe and heal sunscreen. You can buy lotions containing these ingredients in most stores, or you can use aloe vera directly from the plant. Some over-the-counter sunburn lotions also contain pain-relieving compounds, such as lidocaine, which can bring quick relief.

Cool As a Cucumber

Cucumbers and potatoes both contain naturally occurring compounds that can help soothe your sunburn. Mash up a few cucumbers or small potatoes into a thick paste, then apply it to your skin. Leave it on for about 10 minutes, then take a cool shower to rinse it off.

Have Some Tea

Staying hydrated after getting a sunburn is important, but tea can also provide topical relief. It contains tannic acid, which creates a cooling sensation and may help restore your skin's natural pH balance to promote healing. Boil the tea, then chill it and use a cloth to apply it to your skin. You can also lay the used tea bags directly on your skin.


Although the best way to handle a sunburn is to avoid getting one in the first place, it's easy to forget to reapply sunscreen or engage in other protective measures. Most burns are mild, but the pain and discomfort can linger for days. You can help your burns heal and ease the pain using some easy and effective home remedies.

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