The top natural remedies for nixing sunburn fast

Fun in the sun is essentially a rite of summer. Beach days, afternoons by the pool, and backyard barbecues are part of many people’s seasonal traditions.

The good news: Studies show all that time outdoors can be a positive thing for your mental health.

The bad news: The risk of sunburn increases the more time you spend in the sun. You probably know the dangers (most notably, skin cancer) and how to mitigate sunburns (regular sunscreen application, for one). However, things happen sometimes. Maybe you forgot to reapply, or perhaps you missed a spot on your back. In the short term, sunburns can be painful and do a number on your self-confidence. It’s understandable you want to know how to quickly get rid of sunburn.

There are some natural ways to reduce pain and redness so you can get on with life. Here are a few of the most effective.

a bathroom counter with three unbranded creams and plant

Use aloe vera

Aloe vera, a tropical plant, has long been heralded for its healing properties, and there’s science behind this claim. According to one 2018 study, aloe contains a compound called aloin (or barbaloin) that boasts anti-inflammatory benefits, and a 2007 systemic review also found that it helped heal first and second-degree burns. There are several products on the shelves at your local store that contain aloe vera, such as from recognized brands like Banana Boat and Vaseline. However, you can also go the DIY route and make a comforting spray. You’ll need a large aloe leaf, melted coconut oil, vitamin E oil, peppermint or eucalyptus essential oil, a blender or vegetable peeler, and this recipe from Elle.com.

Soak in an oatmeal bath

If you’re looking to get rid of sunburn fast, your best bet may be in your pantry rather than your medicine cabinet. Experts share that drawing a cool bath and pouring in one cup of whole oats can lessen inflammation. A 2018 study of patients with eczema in the U.K. found that oatmeal helped hydrate dry and irritated skin, something you may need post-sunburn. A soothing oatmeal bath may sound like a spa-day luxury, but it’s actually pretty easy to do at home. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

  1. Oats can clog drains. You have two options for mitigating this extra headache: Blend the oats or put them in something.
    a. If blending, pour one cup of oatmeal in a blender and blend until the powder is very fine. To ensure this step is complete, test the oatmeal when you think you’re done by putting it into water. If it absorbs, you’re good to go.
    b. If it does not absorb and you don’t have time to keep blending or don’t want to blend at all, there’s a quicker option.  Simply place the oatmeal in a cheesecloth or pantyhose.
  2. Add the oats to a bathtub full of lukewarm water.
  3. Indulge in a luxurious soak for 15 to 20 minutes.

Apply cold compresses

Ice helps cool regular burns and reduces inflammation when we’re having other issues, such as swelling. It’s only natural, then, that applying cold compresses would aid in alleviating sunburn pain. However, the goal is to reduce pain, not add to it. Don’t apply ice directly to your skin, as it can lead to frostbite. Instead, wrap the compress in a sock, blanket, or towel and then place it on the spot of the burn. You can do this every couple of hours until you feel better. If you don’t want to use cold compresses, you can take a few short showers or baths instead. The Skin Care Foundation stresses the keyword is short, though, because long showers can dry out your skin. Limit them to a couple of minutes.

a person holding a full, clear glass of water in their hand

Drink water

Guzzling water is arguably the simplest and most natural remedy for healing sunburns. The American Academy of Dermatology Association says drinking water can help hydrate your skin’s surface. As a bonus, it can help reduce your risk of dehydration in hot weather. Not everyone finds drinking eight glasses of water per day — let alone extra — a cinch, though. There are ways to make upping your water intake easier, however. If you find water bland, try adding lemon, lime, or even some berries for extra flavor. You can also get water through foods with high water content, like watermelon and cucumber.

As much as we may try to protect our skin from the sun, chances are you’ll have a sunburn a few times in your life. It happens. When it does, you’ll likely want quick relief. Natural remedies include cold compresses, oatmeal baths, drinking plenty of water, and aloe vera. Moving forward, the best thing to do is to avoid getting sunburned altogether. If you frequently forget to reapply sunscreen, set reminders on your phone every two hours. Wearing a hat and sunglasses can also provide extra coverage, as can sitting in the shade, such as under a tree or umbrella.

BlissMark provides information regarding health, wellness, and beauty. The information within this article is not intended to be medical advice. Before starting any diet or exercise routine, consult your physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the United States Health & Human Services department has a free online tool that can help you locate a clinic in your area. We are not medical professionals, have not verified or vetted any programs, and in no way intend our content to be anything more than informative and inspiring.

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