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Natural remedies for sunburn that actually work

We all know that sunburn is better prevented, rather than treated by host of remedies. Mistakes do happen. Despite your best efforts to protect your skin from sun damage, you end up looking like a lobster – that’s been left in the pot too long.

It’s easy to underestimate the amount of exposure our skin gets from the sun, especially on holiday, as redness doesn’t happen for several hours. So it is inevitable that at some point in our lives we will get sunburnt. We have some tips and tricks to help you minimise the immediate effects of sunburn.

Natural food remedies for sunburn

  • Potatoes – The starch in potatoes will help to take the sting out of sunburn and reduce inflammation. Cut a raw potato in half and rub it over the most painful spots.
  • Oatmeal – Works as an anti-inflammatory due to the polysaccharides in it. Add a cup of oatmeal into a tepid bath water and, have a soak as. It’s said the oatmeal will coat and heal your skin, while the water will cool you down and keep your skin hydrated.
  • Milk – A cool milk compress is one of the quickest ways to treat sunburn. The initial coolness of the milk will help reduce the heat from the sun burn. While the protein found in the milk will protect your skin, helping to heal and sooth any discomfort.
  • Baking soda and corn starch – Both of these can relieve the inflammation and itching. By adding a few tea spoons to your bath water before you get in. It will also reduce the red appearance of the sunburn.
  • Plain yogurt – Live yogurts contain enzymes and probiotics that help to heal our skin and help to speed up recovery.
  • Strawberries – The tannin acid content of strawberries help to reduce the sting from sunburn. Mash a few and slather it on the sunburned skin for instant relief.
  • White vinegar – The acetic acid in the vinegar acts like an anti-inflammatory and can kill the pain sunburn causes, along with helping to heal the burns.
  • Green tea – The catechin compounds in Green tea, help to protect your skin against the suns radiation. While the tannic acid helps to relieve the pain and heal damaged skin.
  • Tomatoes – The lycopene in tomatoes is a very effective antioxidant, it helps to protect your skin from sun damage – which can happen without us even realising it. The high water content in tomatoes is very effective when treating sunburn.
  • Cucumber – Cucumbers can give instant relief to burnt skin, due to the antioxidant and analgesic properties in them. They are great for reducing swelling, redness and pain.
  • Honey – Honey is said to speed up the healing process, reduce infection and ease pain.
  • Aloe – Aloe Vera is known for its cooling and soothing properties. Break a leaf from an aloe plant and rub the juice onto sunburn for instant relief. If you don’t have a plant, buy a bottle of pure Aloe Vera gel. Chill it in the fridge before applying to the sunburnt area, this is more practical for treating larger areas.
  • Witch hazel – Apply cotton gauze to the skin that has been soaked in witch hazel. This will help to reduce the pain and itching due to the tannins in the witch hazel. It will also fight off any bacteria and repair any damaged skin.
  • Lettuce – Lettuce has natural pain killing properties. After boiling lettuce leaves in water, let the water cool then dip cotton wool balls into the water, and gently wipe over the affected areas.
  • Keep hydrated – Keep a bottle or glass of water close by, as your body is likely to be dehydrated, due to the amount of time you have been in the sun. Keeping hydrated is necessary to heal your damaged skin.

Do not soak in a bubble bath or scrub your skin with soap, as this can dry out and intensify your already irritated skin. If you want to take a bath, make sure the water is a cool or tepid bath. When you’re finished do not rub yourself dry, as you can irritate your skin or burst blisters which can cause an infection. Instead pat yourself dry and apply a cooling moisturiser as it will help to sooth your skin. Tip – keep your moisturiser in the fridge for an extra refreshing treat for your skin.

If you have sunburn get out of the sun as soon as possible, stay indoors or in a shaded area until your skin heals.

Have you tried any of these natural remedies? Did they work for you?

Prevention is always better than treating sunburn – it can also pose a huge danger in increasing the risk of developing skin cancer. You can reduce the risk of sunburn by following these tips.

The sun’s rays are strongest during the hours of 10am and 4pm. If you can’t stay indoors between these times, try and stay in a shaded area. Reflection off water, sand, or snow can make the sun’s burning rays stronger, so be mindful of this.

  • Apply sun cream 30 minutes before you go outside.
  • Wear sun cream that protects from both UVB and UVA rays.
  • Apply a generous amount of sun cream to skin that will be exposed to the sun. Reapply every 2 hours or as often as the label states. Especially if you are swimming or sweating.
  • Reapply after swimming.
  • Use a lip balm that has sun protection.
  • Wear sunglasses with UV protection. Wear a hat or other protective clothing. Light coloured clothing will reflect the sun more effectively.

Click here to find out what food can offer you sun protection from the inside out.