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Sunburn Relief Remedies

Being out in the sun without sunscreen is never a good idea. I'm one of those people that always remembers to put it on my kids. But it always seems that after I do the three of them I always forget to do myself! I have ended up with a sunburn a couple of times. Normally it is nothing major, just a little red that turns to a nice tan in a day or two. However, this last trip to Myrtle Beach was another story.

We were only out on the beach in Myrtle Beach for about 2 hours and it was a nice over cast day. The sun was behind the clouds most of the time and there was a nice small breeze. I never thought I would get burnt to a crisp! When I got home I looked like a lobster. That night I was fine. The next morning, I couldn't hardly move! The second and third days were even worse!!! I turned to the Internet to find out what I could possibly do to help cool the burn and sooth the itch and I found a ton of information. Here are some things I have tried and others I will keep in mind for the future.

Aloe Vera - This is a plant from northern Africa that is great to have around the house (however, it is poisonous). We had one growing up that my mom would use on my mosquito bites. Just break a little part off, put the juice on the bite and it would quit itching. Now this aloe vera comes in lotions and gels and helps with soothing, moisturizing, and healing when applied directly to a sunburned area. This is the most common use for sunburns.

Baking Soda - Take a bath in baking soda and water to help sooth a sunburn. Fill the tub with cool water, add 1-2 cups of baking soda, and soak for 30 minutes. When you get out of the tub, try to air dry. If you use a towel it will rub all the baking soda off.

Cabbage - Put the cabbage in a food processor and mash it up until it is a nice paste. Apply to the sunburn to relieve pain and speed up healing.

Cucumbers - Not just great for the eyes and face, cucumbers are also great for soothing and healing a sunburn. Grate cucumbers and mix them with some milk to form a paste and apply to the sunburn. You can also just slice the cucumber and put the slices directly onto the burn.

Lavender Oil - Wet your skin with cold water and then apply 1-2 drops of lavender oil to the sun-burnt areas.

Meat Tenderizer - Mixing meat tenderizer with water and applying it to the sunburn helps sooth the itching of a sunburn. This also works for rashes.

Oatmeal - Oatmeal is a huge hit in my house. It is one of the main things that have helped with sunburns and rashes. Fill the bathtub with cool water and add 2 cups of regular oatmeal. Soak your body for 30 minutes and it helps to sooth and heal your sunburn.

Potatoes - You can peel the potatoes and use their skins to put on your sunburn (with the whole potato still being edible, could be for dinner!) or you can mash the potatoes and apply them onto the sunburn. Either way it will help sooth and heal the sunburn.

Stay Hydrated - The best thing you can do for your sunburn is to make sure you drink water. Staying hydrated will help your body get back the moisture that the sunburn is taking away from you body. Granted, this alone probably can't heal your sunburn but it will help it heal faster.

Tea - I just recently read about this one and everyone seems to love it. You boil a pan/pot of tea, really strong, using 4-6 tea bags. Put it in the refrigerator and let it cool then use towels (the tea will stain the towels) and dip them into the tea, ring them out, and place them directly on the sunburn. If you don't have towels that you want stained with tea it might be best to put the tea into a spray bottle and spray directly onto the sunburn. I've heard a lot of great things about using tea on sunburns so this is what I will try next time (hopefully there isn't a next time but just in case).

Vitamin E Creams

Vinegar - I'm not real fond of the smell of vinegar so I'm not sure this one is for me but some people say this works great. Use half vinegar and half water to soak a clean towel in. Wring the towel out and apply it to the sunburned area (just like the tea). You can also use a spray bottle with half vinegar and half water and spray that onto the sunburn. If using vinegar you want to avoid any broken skin (blisters, etc) and avoid your eyes.

Vitamin E - Another one I personally know helps. Buy the Vitamin E cream at any local store. Make sure it doesn't have any harsh chemicals in it as some are not straight Vitamin E. Apply the cream two to three times a day and it will accelerate the healing process of the sunburn and help prevent any scaring that may occur. (Also works great for stretch marks with pregnancies)


My advice to you - If you are going to be out in the sun during the day, whether it is just out window shopping or going to the beach or swimming pool, put on sunscreen. It is best to reapply your sunscreen every 1 - 1 1/2 hours. SPF 15 does not work as well with keeping the sun off your body as an SPF 75 does. I always use SPF 45 on me and my kids and reapply every hour and a half. My kids have never come home with a sunburn! If you use the spray sunscreen (the kind you don't have to rub in) I would reapply that every hour if you are in and out of the water. It's easy to miss spots with the spray.


Ken Williams on July 05, 2014:

Had never heard about baking soda for a sun burn before, sounds like a great idea though. I don't think there is much baking soda can't do :)

LisaKeating on June 16, 2014:

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Got a sunburn this past weekend. I did not use sunscreen and was at the pool for hours. It is a routine that I have to get used to. I am an older adult. We never used sunscreen when we were kids. Thanks for this reminder of the importance of prevention as well as the treatments for relief.

CassyLu1981 (author) from Spring Lake, NC on May 01, 2014:

Peggy W - I had no idea it was poisonous either! I remember hearing it is to animals but that was years ago! You are so right, sunscreen is best no matter what you are doing outdoors. I just recently found out I have skin cancer from being out in the sun when I was young without sunscreen. Although that doesn't happen to everyone, I'm still taking extra precautions with my kiddos! Thanks for the comment and checking out my hub :)

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 28, 2014:

Aloe vera is my go to plant for any kind of burns or small sores or scratches. I never heard anything about it being poisonous. They even sell bottles of aloe juice for ingestion! Nice to know about alternatives. Yes, one can get a sunburn even on cloudy days as you found out. The best bet is to always use sunscreen if planning an outing outdoors.

CassyLu1981 (author) from Spring Lake, NC on September 25, 2012:

healthylife2 - The aleo vera plant seems to be a favorite of the older generation. That's what I always remember my grandmother using and even my mom when I was little. Glad you enjoyed the list, hopefully they will help if you ever need them. Thanks so much for the votes and shares :)

healthylife2 on September 24, 2012:

Excellent hub on natural ways to deal with sunburn. My grandmother in Florida always kept an aloe vera plant that we used for sunburn and it worked well. I wasn't aware that cabbage and cucumber worked as well. Thanks for providing so many options. Voted up and shared!

CassyLu1981 (author) from Spring Lake, NC on September 06, 2012:

oldbury - I had never heard of that one before either. There are so many things you can do for a sunburn, I'm glad you might be able to use these next time you are out in the sun too long. Thanks for the comment :)

oldbury from Thailand on September 06, 2012:

Meat Tenderizer, wow Ive never heard of that one before. I will certainly try this one next time I spend to long in the sun. Some useful info here that I haven't seen before, thanks.

CassyLu1981 (author) from Spring Lake, NC on August 11, 2012:

LetitiaFT - I'm so glad you found this hub useful! I couldn't believe how burnt I got on a cloudy day. Hopefully this hub helps you when you need it!!! Thanks for the comment and stopping by :)

LetitiaFT from Paris via California on August 11, 2012:

Goodness! Clouds are so treacherous aren't they? The only remedy I knew of was aloe vera. All the others werenewto me. Thanks for sharing su h useful tips using things we often have on hand!

LetitiaFT from Paris via California on August 11, 2012:

Goodness! Clouds are so treacherous aren't they? The only remedy I knew of was aloe vera. All the others werenewto me. Thanks for sharing su h useful tips using things we often have on hand!

CassyLu1981 (author) from Spring Lake, NC on August 08, 2012:

Simone - I know! Vinegar for a sunburn? I'm not sure I could handle the smell of it long enough for it to work on me! I know I will try all the rest of the remedies before I go to that one :) Thanks for the comment!

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on July 24, 2012:

This Hub was full of surprises- I had never heard of some of these things being good for sunburn relief. Vinegar? Who would have thought???

CassyLu1981 (author) from Spring Lake, NC on July 08, 2012:

Emma - Spanish oranges huh? That is kind of neat to know. I can understand about the weather there, not sure I could ever get used to that. Thanks so much for the votes and the comment :)

Emma Kisby from Berkshire, UK on July 08, 2012:

Hi CassyLU1981 - great hub with wonderful practical ideas. Especially as I'm a pasty-skinned Brit! Whenever we're lucky enough to get sun, we're out in it, which is a bit of a shock to the skin.

Also the weather here changes a lot, so if you're out and about on a cloudy day, then the sun comes out, you're not always prepared with the sunscreen. Then we end up with sunburned shoulders, etc.

I do try to be sensible, but now and again I get burned - so I will try one or two of these. The baking soda one looks intriguing. We once rubbed Spanish oranges on our sunburned backs on holiday in Barcelona as a kid, and that was quite soothing too. Voting up!

CassyLu1981 (author) from Spring Lake, NC on July 07, 2012:

K - so glad you found this useful :) Thanks for the votes and the comment :)

Kristi Sharp from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota. on July 07, 2012:

Cassy, terrific job! I keep two aloe plants for healing purposes. I learned some great new ideas from your hub! Useful and up. -K

CassyLu1981 (author) from Spring Lake, NC on July 06, 2012:

Simone - Well, hopefully, once a summer is enough for you to get sunburnt. I know I won't do it again! I'm really glad you enjoyed my advice. Thanks for the comment :)

CassyLu1981 (author) from Spring Lake, NC on July 06, 2012:

jeannieinabottle - I've never understood how the cloudy days are the worst. Doesn't make much sense since the sun is behind the clouds most of the time! I'm glad I learned though, we went to the lake today and I didn't forget to sunscreen myself along with the kids LOL No sunburn for me today!!! Thanks for stopping by and the comment :)

CassyLu1981 (author) from Spring Lake, NC on July 06, 2012:

teacherjoe52 - I could not IMAGINE falling asleep in the sun. I have never done this (thank God) and hopefully never will! Aleo Vera is what I always grew up using too. thanks for the comment :)

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on July 06, 2012:

Having already been sunburned this summer, I've become pretty sensitive to this subject. Great advice, CassyLu1981!

CassyLu1981 (author) from Spring Lake, NC on July 05, 2012:

lillygordon - Hopefully some of these remedies might help you if you need them :) Thanks for stopping by and the comment!

CassyLu1981 (author) from Spring Lake, NC on July 05, 2012:

spartucusjones - I think everyone has had at least one good burn. We are headed to the lake tomorrow, lets hope I remember to sun screen everyone before we walk out the door! Thanks for the comment :)

Jeannie Marie from Baltimore, MD on July 05, 2012:

Thanks for the info. I just had a really bad sunburn, too. It seems like the cloudy days always get you more than the sunny days. Besides the initial burn, the itching and peeling is just terrible. It's especially tough on your back... it's so hard to scratch! :-)

teacherjoe52 on July 05, 2012:

Very good information.

I once fell asleep on a raft in Hong Kong and ended up looking like a boiled lobster.

Aloe vera is the best

lillygordon on July 05, 2012:

It's really fun being at the beach, and sometimes we tend to forget that we've been under the sun for quite some time, good thing there's a list here on how to remedy sunburn.

CJ Baker from Parts Unknown on July 05, 2012:

Well detailed and practical hub! I have had my share of bad burns in the past as well. One of these days I am going to smarten up and follow your suggestions. This is definitely a hub worth saving for future reference.

CassyLu1981 (author) from Spring Lake, NC on July 05, 2012:

lindacee - The sunburn was not fun at all! I had never hurt so bad. I know now better though LOL Thanks for bookmarking :) Hopefully it will help you if you ever need it! Thanks for the votes and comment too :)

Linda Chechar from Arizona on July 05, 2012:

Ow! That sounds like a wicked sunburn! Hopefully you did not get water blisters. I love all of your sunburn remedies and will bookmark your Hub just in case I need them (for burns and rashes). I have always been a proponent of the aloe plant. It comes in handy for so many things. Likewise for vitamin E. I loved the way you incorporated your own experience into the Hub! Voted up, useful and interesting!

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