Everyone enjoys spending time in the sun, but too much exposure to the harmful UV rays that cause sunburns is a good way to ruin an enjoyable vacation. Luckily, plenty of home remedies can help soothe the burning and aching skin that results from this unfortunate condition.
Potatoes are a centuries-old pain reliever that works exceptionally well on scratches, bites, and minor skin irritants. Experts suggest the potassium and starch in the root vegetable help draw heat away from the skin. Simply slice a raw potato or blend the pieces into a thick paste and apply it to the burned area.
Inexpensive and always in your kitchen, baking soda is a natural sunburn treatment. Baking soda possesses both alkaline and antiseptic properties, making it a good choice for soothing the itchiness of a burn. A cool bath with a cup of baking soda can ease inflammation and itching. You can also mix a quarter cup of soda into a cup of water and use a cotton ball to dab the inflamed skin.
The anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and cooling properties of aloe vera make it an excellent natural treatment for sunburns. In addition to easing the pain of the burn and moisturizing the skin to minimize peeling, some studies suggest the plant could even help speed healing of mild burns. If you have a plant at home, just split open a leaf and apply the sap to the burn. Many natural aloe vera gels are available from health stores, as well.
When a sunburn sets in, often the first thought is how to alleviate the sometimes agonizing heat and pain it causes. Cool compresses made by soaking a cloth in cold water and then laying it across the skin can soothe immediate pain. For a bit more impact, you can try soaking cause in witch hazel. The infused liquid will not only cool the skin but can also ease inflammation.
Sunburns are dehydrating, so it is essential to drink lots of fluids if you've been out in the sun for a long time. Water is always a good option for hydration, but water-rich fruits like watermelon and drinks that contain electrolytes can also offer relief. If your sunburns often come with headaches, dehydration and electrolyte dysfunction are likely the causes.
Red, inflamed skin is a well-known and painful part of a sunburn. Applying a poultice of plain yogurt can help ease these symptoms. Yogurt is full of probiotics and enzymes, which can help speed healing. The creamy snack is also moisturizing and soothingly cool.
Soap can irritate a sunburn. When recovering from burns, try to avoid using soap, or choose a very mild one and be sure to rinse the skin thoroughly after cleansing. Cool showers are an excellent quick fix for the pain and heat of a sunburn, but avoid rubbing the burned areas, both when under the water and when toweling off. Also, be sure to add a unscented moisturizer to burned skin after a shower.
Mint can cool down sunburned skin naturally. The cooling plant has soothing properties that can quickly ease the pain of damaged skin. Boil water and steep the tea for about an hour. After the mixture has cooled in the fridge, soak a cloth and use the tea as an alternative compress. The tannic acid in black tea can also help soothe burnt skin, as can polyphenols like those found in green tea.
If no amount of yogurt or baking soda is providing long-term relief for your sunburn, over-the-counter painkillers can ease the pain in between the application of home remedies. These medications can soothe itching and inflammation, but it is important to remember they are blocking the pain, not getting rid of it. Take care to still treat the burned areas gently, avoiding abrasive clothing, scratching, and repeated sun exposure.
Unscented natural moisturizers without scents or harmful chemicals are essential for keeping sunburned skin in good health while it heals. Peeling might occur, but if blisters develop and burst, this will only prolong the healing time and could pave the way for infections. Even a minor sunburn leaves skin sapped of moisture. In addition to lotions, oils such as coconut, which is high in saturated fats, can also keep skin healthy.
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