3 easy natural treatments for sunburns

Soothe the itching and pain of a sunburn with these natural one-ingredient remedies.

We try our best to avoid them with sunblock, sunglasses, hats and shade, but lovers of outdoors activities are bound to get burned once in a while. Wether it’s a cloudy day when sunscreen didn’t cross your mind or the time you forgot to pack your sunscreen on a long hike, sunburns can be a painful problem.

Unfortunately, there’s not much scientific research on natural sunburn treatments. So we can’t say that any of these treatments actually speed up the healing process. However, they can all calm the pain and itching, making the sunburn experience more comfortable.

1. DIY aloe gel

Yes, it’s easy to find all kinds of aloe vera products at the grocery store or pharmacy, but making your own one-ingredient gel is really easy. Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald says gel fresh from the plant may be better than the bottled kind, because some store brands use a lot of filler ingredients. Aloe vera plants are a great addition to the garden if you live in a warm climate, and are also low maintenance as indoor potted plants.

To make a gel, cut a fat leaf from the center of the plant. Let any yellow liquid drain off. Carefully trim off any spines and cut the leaf in half. Scoop out the gel using a spoon. You can blend the gel in a food processor or with a fork. For extra soothing coolness, store your aloe gel in the refrigerator.

2. Yogurt

© tacar/Shutterstock

Yogurt has anti-inflammatory properties, while its lotion-like texture is easy to apply and can help keep burnt skin moisturized. Use plain or Greek yogurt directly on the affected skin. You can also blend in a few drops of soothing lavender oil.

Cow’s milk can also be a treatment for sun-scorched skin. Make a compress by soaking gauze or cloth in cool milk and applying it to the burned area for 15 to 20 minutes.

3. Strawberries

Flickr user Andrea/CC BY 2.0

It’s lucky that strawberries are in season during some of the sunniest months. Prevention reports that the tannins in these berries helps soothe sun-damaged skin. Mash a few berries into a paste and apply to the burn for a few minutes, then wash off with cool water.

It’s a good idea to follow this treatment with a moisturizer, such as coconut oil.

Give ice the cold shoulder

Remember: Never apply ice directly to a sunburn or any other type of burn. The temperature extreme can further damage your already vulnerable skin and cause an ice burn. If you do want something extra cold, wrap an ice pack in a thick towel and consider limiting contact to just a few minutes.

Tags: Beat the Heat | Beauty Treatments | Health | Summer

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