Last Updated: 11th October 2016
The therapeutic effects of sun exposure can be experienced only in appropriate and measured timeframes. If you get all excited about summer and hit the great outdoors without proper protection, then you could become a victim of sunburn.
In this article, I will discuss the best possible home remedies for sunburn relief. Try them and be careful the next time you venture out.
According to International Dermal Institute, Sunburn is the skin’s response to extreme ultraviolet exposure and indicates severe damage. The redness caused by sunburn may seem like a temporary irritation, but they cause long-lasting damage to the skin.
The redness is the body’s inflammatory response and is a result of dilating blood vessels. Then the skin will start to lose moisture and hydration. Slowly the skin cells will start to thicken, and this action will produce melanin.
Sun exposure can lead to tanning. It is an attempt to stop the ultraviolet rays penetrating deep into the skin layers and damaging the DNA of the cells. The body can cope with the minimal amount of sun damage but if the DNA is damaged and the inhibition of repair mechanisms occur, it can lead to skin cancer.
Your skin starts to peel after the sun damage. Peeling after sunburn is getting rid of the damaged cells which are at risk of losing control and becoming cancerous. The mass death of cells results in the peeling off damaged skin and new cells replacing the old cells.
Dangers Of Sunburn
Dermatologist Dr. Leffell of the Yale School of Medicine says sunburn can increase the risk of skin cancer. A person who has five or more sunburns in his or her life has doubled their risk for melanoma according to Skin Cancer Foundation. Melanoma occurs after a brief and intense exposures such as to blistering sunburns.
UVA rays penetrate into the skin and destroy collagen and elastin tissue that results in fine lines and wrinkles which are signs of premature aging. This action may result in uneven pigmentation, age spots, melasma-the darkening of facial skin and sagging and deep wrinkles.
Sunburn may aggravate skin conditions including eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea. Other harmful effects include dehydration, second-degree burns, and secondary infections, corneal burns, macular degeneration, and cataracts and in extreme cases, death may occur.
How To Avoid Sunburn In The First Place
A few sensible steps to avoid sunburn will maximize the benefits while limiting any adverse effects.
Dr.Mercola gives you these safety tips.
Wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face and eyes. The skin in these areas is much thinner than the other parts of your body. Make sure that you wear a broad spectrum sunscreen when you venture out.
Build an internal sunscreen with beneficial antioxidants. Interesting isn’t it? A potent antioxidant Astaxanthin protects against sun damage when taken on a daily basis. You should take it a couple of weeks for it to build up in your system. You can also apply it topically. Just add astaxanthin to coconut oil and your lotion is ready.
Moisturize your skin naturally by applying organic coconut oil all over the exposed parts.
Best Home Remedies For Sunburn
Dr. Mercola writes that potatoes contain starch-based compounds which help soothe sunburn. The skin benefits of potatoes are numerous; they are used to remove dark circles, in the treatment of wrinkles, for treating dark spots and facial blemishes.
You can use potatoes for skin lightning, for dry skin, to remove dead cells, as a natural cleanser and to promote healthy hair growth. Potatoes work well on minor skin irritations, burns, bites and scratches. It also reduces inflammation.
Potatoes contain a high concentration of vitamin B6. This nutrient is involved in over 100 enzymatic reactions. Many amino acids and nucleic acids require vitamin B6 for protein synthesis and creation of DNA. Due to this process, vitamin B6 is essential for the formation of new cells. So potatoes help a great deal by assisting in the formation of new cells and promoting healing to the sunburnt areas.
- 2 potatoes
- Cotton balls, cotton pads and facial tissue.
- Wash and scrub the potatoes. Cut them and blend them. You can also grate the potatoes, but it takes time. You don’t need to remove the peels.
- Blend the potatoes until they become liquid. If the mass is too dry and sticky, add a small amount of water.
- Soak cotton balls and apply to the sunburn. You can soak gauze and lay it over the burn, or you can slice potatoes and place them directly on the sunburn.
To avoid all the harmful effects of sunburn, it becomes essential to treat it as soon as possible. Aloe vera contains 150 vitamins, minerals, and trace elements and works wonders for your skin. It contains glycoproteins which relieve pain and inflammation.
It stops burning sensation and prevents swelling. It contains polysaccharides which help repair damaged skin cells and trigger the formation of new ones.
Aloe vera contains lidocaine which relieves pain and aloectin B, which strengthens the immune system, prevents infection and speeds up the healing process. The aloe juice soothes, hydrates and moisturizes the skin. It penetrates deep into the skin layers and promotes healing.
Aloe vera gel
Cut open the aloe vera leaf lengthwise. Scoop out the gel and apply on the sunburn using your fingertips. Allow it to sit until it is dry and gets absorbed into the skin. Rinse it off with cool water, repeat this process 2-3 times a day.
Homemade Aloe Vera lotion
- Aloe vera gel- ½ cup
- Beeswax -1 tsp
- Vitamin C powder-1 tsp
- Large carrots -2
- Emulsifying wax one tsp
- Sesame oil-1/2 cup
- Clean, peel and grate the carrots and cucumbers. In a saucepan heat sesame oil and add carrots and cucumbers and cook for 30 minutes in low flame.
- Remove from heat and strain the vegetables. Add beeswax and emulsifying wax to the mixture in low heat and stir until melted. Add vitamin C powder and aloe vera gel and stir until smooth.
- Remove from heat and pour into a jar. Allow it to become cool. Apply to sunburnt skin daily for 2-3 times until healed. Store the lotion in the fridge for two months.
The hydrating aloe gel can be used with other natural ingredients to treat sunburn. You can use
- Aloe vera and cucumber
- Aloe vera and lavender oil
- Aloe vera and helichrysum oil
- Aloe vera and yogurt
- Aloe vera and vitamin E oil
- Aloe vera with turmeric
- Aloe vera with apple cider vinegar. They are great combinations to soothe sunburnt skin.
You can use aloe vera gel to treat your sunburned scalp. The mixture of aloe vera, tomato, oatmeal, and yogurt works on your sunburnt face and brings back the lost suppleness and beauty glow.
Egyptians used honey as a topical salve for skin burns. Kathy Kemper M.D. author of The Holistic Pediatrician says honey works better than antibiotic creams and speeds up healing, reduces infection and minimizes pain.
Dr. Joshua Levitt writes in The Alternative Daily that honey supports the immune system and fights off harmful bacteria. Honey supplies the building blocks such as a complex array of proteins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, vitamins and other nutrients for cells.
Dr. Mercola advises you to use high quality raw organic honey or Manuka honey which has powerful medicinal qualities. The Grade A honey you get from most grocery stores may contain high fructose corn syrup which can increase infection.
Courtesy of esthetician Raechel Cunningham-Lowe
You need two cups of raw uncooked oatmeal. The oatmeal consists of soothing healing properties. It serves as a moisturizer and exfoliator.
Pour it into a tepid to warm bathtub. Add one cup of whole milk to the water. Add one tsp of honey to the bath. Soak in the tub for five to ten minutes, rinse off and gently pat your body dry.
You can apply honey to a bandage and wear it on a larger area. Apply a thin layer of raw honey to the slightly damp skin using circular movements. You can leave it for 30 minutes and gently wash with warm water.
Honey and natural oil concoction
You can create a soothing balm with honey and natural oils to treat and nourish your sunburnt skin. Create a mixture of honey and coconut or jojoba oils. Add a dash of nutmeg or cinnamon, and turmeric for an aromatic treat. Massage the concoction onto the sunburnt areas.
Honey and aloe gel
Mix one part raw honey to two parts aloe vera gel and apply to the sunburned skin. Honey restores hydration and both honey and aloe gel contain powerful inflammatory compounds to calm burned skin and speeds up recovery.
Having a lot of skin benefits up its sleeve green tea comes to your rescue to treat sunburn. Green tea improves complexion, fights aging signs, reduces puffy eyes and dark circles, works as a skin toner and makes your hair shiny.
Green tea contains tannic acid, theobromine, and polyphenols which help and heal sunburned skin by neutralizing the damage from exposure to UV rays. A study published by Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications Journal says that EGCG found in green tea prevents a type of skin cancer called melanoma by inhibiting genes that activate inflammation.
You can drink green tea to get added sun protective benefits. According to British Journal of Nutrition supplementing green tea catechins can help you make more resistant to ultraviolet radiation and therefore premature skin aging. The researchers say that oral doses of green tea can make their way to skin tissues and limits the effects of UV radiation. They conclude saying green tea exerts protection against sunburn inflammation and potentially long term UVR- mediated damage.
Soak 3-4 green tea bags in cool water. Use the tea bags as a cold compress on the sun burnt areas and wash your face with the cold tea extract.
Brew 2-3 cups of green tea and cool it in the fridge for some time. Soak a soft cloth and apply to the sunburnt areas. Repeat two to three times a day to relieve pain and redness.
Boil 4 cups of water and take it off the heat. Steep 4 to 6 green tea bags in the water until it is cool. Pour this strong tea into a tepid bath and take a relaxing dip.
These pretty pot marigolds contain anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and antigenotoxic properties. These healing properties are especially beneficial for burns. Calendula poultice made with fresh marigold blossoms can help in the faster healing of sunburns.
This humble flower is excellent for sensitive skin, making it perfect for using with babies and children. Calendula has high amounts of flavonoids and helps protect cells from unstable molecules called free radicals.
It helps to heal wounds faster by increasing the blood flow and oxygen to the affected area. This process helps the body to grow new tissues. Calendula improves skin hydration and firmness.
Crush a tablespoon of dried calendula flowers or ½ a cup of fresh blossoms.
Put hot water over them to make a paste of sorts.
Put the crushed flower paste on the sunburnt skin directly and cover the mixture with a cheesecloth or towel.
Leave it for an hour. Remove the wrap and rinse with cold water. Allow to dry. Follow it up with a calendula salve which is completely optional.
- ¼ cup dried calendula petals
- 1/8 cup grated beeswax
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 10-20 drops of lavender essential oil
- In a small crockpot put calendula petals and olive oil and heat on low flame for 3 hours.
- Spread cheesecloth over the top of a glass measuring cup and secure with a rubber band.
- Slowly pour the olive oil on the cheese cloth.
- Pour strained oil into a heavy saucepan, add the beeswax and simmer. Add the essential oil and stir gently.
- Remove from heat and pour it into a clean container and let it cool.
- Fix the cap and you can store it for about one year.
- Apply this salve onto the sunburnt area to aid the healing process.
Take the idea of sunburn seriously and apply sunscreen to enjoy the outdoors. Wear protective gear and keep yourself hydrated. These small steps will ensure a safe and healthy summer.
It is best to try these natural remedies for your sunburn before resorting to drugstore or medical treatments. Aside from the fact that homemade remedies don’t have side effects, they are proven effective and the ingredients are very handy.