With all the time indoors most of us spent this spring, we are all ready to go enjoy some summer sun. Unfortunately, with overeager sun-soaking comes an unpleasant side effect if you are not careful — sunburn.
Most of us have felt that hot, stinging, sometimes throbbing reminder of a summer day well spent. Thankfully, there are several natural remedies for sunburn that are safe and effective to ease the pain and speed healing.
A sunburn is essentially a form of radiation burn from too much exposure to ultraviolet light. The redness that comes from sunburn is the result of dilated capillaries in the skin bringing extra blood to tissues to promote healing. While our bodies are designed to tolerate and even thrive with moderate sun exposure (to help produce vitamin D), extreme or excessive radiation damage to the skin increases your risk of melanoma and other skin cancers.
Even with the best protective gear and heavy sunscreen use, sunburn is likely to happen at some point. Be prepared with some of these natural remedies for sunburn that ease symptoms safely and effectively:
Aloe vera — this is probably one of the oldest and most common recommendations for treating sunburn. Aloe contains aloin, which has strong anti-inflammatory properties, plus it helps keep damaged skin moisturized while healing. The plants are easy to grow and provide readily available medicine when you need it. If growing your own is not an option, look for 100% aloe vera gel or juice, preferably in a glass container. Aloe with other ingredients and additives can leave a sticky film on the skin and be difficult to clean off, especially on painful burns.
Cool compresses — a soft cloth soaked in cool water can be effective for reducing the heat of a sunburn. Herbal preparations of black tea, chamomile, nettles, calendula or St. John’s wort added to the water can offer additional relief.
Essential oils — Some essential oils are known for their therapeutic effects in the case of sunburns. Menthol-based oils, such as peppermint, are known to have cooling effects. Lavender is well known for its ability to relieve pain and inflammation and has long been associated with helping heal burns.
Soothing baths — a lukewarm bath can help ease pain, inflammation, and heat from sunburn. Adding ingredients like baking soda, oatmeal, apple cider vinegar, or herbs can have a further soothing effect.
Stay hydrated — the body needs adequate hydration to heal and replace what was lost during your time in the sun.
Manuka honey — honey has been prized for its medicinal properties for millennia. It is an effective dressing for first- and second-degree burns due to its anti-inflammatory, moisturizing and antimicrobial effects.
Witch hazel — an ingredient in traditional Native American medicine, witch hazel is known for the ability to soothe skin irritation and inflammation, making it a strong choice for sunburn relief. It can also be used in combination with herbal tinctures or apple cider vinegar as a topical spray to the affected area.
Sunburns are a frequent side effect of summer fun. It is important to protect yourself as safe as possible while also still getting the sun exposure your body needs to stay healthy. When sunburns hit, these natural remedies for sunburns will help get you feeling better faster.