Provided by
Woman’s Day

10 Ways to Soothe Sunburn

Health Search

Drug Search

Explore and compare medications

Maybe you skipped the sunscreen because you didn’t think you’d be outside for very long, or perhaps you forgot to reapply after a dip in the pool. Whatever the reason, your skin is red-hot to the touch and seriously painful. Now what? You can pop an aspirin and apply a standard drugstore treatment that contains a numbing agent like Lidocaine, or you can try one of the following natural remedies.

To Stop the Pain:

1. Slather on aloe. If you’re going to buy it in a bottle, the best choice is one that contains no added colors or fragrances. (A good option is Aubrey Organics Pure Aloe Vera.) But aloe straight from the plant may be even better and possibly more effective, says Lynne C. David, ND, a naturopathic doctor at the Center for Integrative Medicine at the George Washington University Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Purchase a plant at a garden store or florist, and then just split open a spear and rub the gel on your skin.

MORE FROM WOMAN'S DAY

2. Milk it. Soak a clean cloth in cool milk and apply it to the burned area for 20 minutes, says Hadley C. King, MD, a clinical instructor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York. Make sure you use whole milk; the fat content is what’s soothing. Reapply every two to four hours.

3. Soothe with baking soda. You use it to deodorize your fridge, clean your house and bake bread…but did you know that you can use baking soda to treat sunburns, too? Just dissolve a spoonful in water to make a cooling compress, or add 1/2-cup to a tepid bath that you can soak in, says Dr. King.

4. Try vinegar. According to Dr. King, a popular folk remedy is to use white distilled vinegar or apple cider vinegar to relieve sunburn pain. She admits there’s no science proving it works, but says that it can’t hurt to try it. Just soak a cloth or towel in a solution of half vinegar, half water and apply it to the affected area.

5. Heal with herbs. The herbs comfrey and calendula promote tissue healing and have anti-inflammatory properties, says Dr. David. Ask at your local health foods store for a cream that contains this combo, or try Country Comfort Herbal Savvy, which contains both of these herbs as well as aloe vera. Or you can buy calendula tea bags, wet them and apply them to sensitive areas of your skin, leaving them on until you feel better. Mint tea bags are also a good pick, as mint has cooling, pain-relieving properties. If you don’t want to apply tea bags directly to the skin, you can brew the tea, let it cool and then dip cotton balls into it to dab onto the affected area.

To Help Repair the Damage:

6. Drink up. “Dehydration is a serious side effect of sunburn,” says Andrea Donsky, co-founder of NaturallySavvy.com, a website for natural, organic and green living. She recommends drinking plenty of water (your healthiest option) and other fluids to help re-hydrate the skin and fight dryness.

7. Let honey help. A thin layer of raw honey (the unprocessed kind; it should say “raw” on the label) spread on the affected area can reduce inflammation and help fight free radical damage incurred by the burn, says Donsky.

8. Lock in moisture. Dr. David recommends Burt’s Bees Aloe & Linden After Sun Soother, a creamy lotion containing bee pollen, coconut oil, aloe and linden extract to calm and moisturize inflamed skin. Dr. King is a fan of Bach Rescue Cream, a homeopathic moisturizer with flower essences that hydrates and soothes the skin while fighting inflammation. She recommends applying the lotion right after a cool to lukewarm shower, when your skin is still a little damp.

9. Get more vitamins. It won’t dull the sting of a sunburn, but an extra helping of antioxidants can help your body repair itself faster, says Dr. King. For a few days after getting sunburned, she recommends taking 1,000 mg of vitamin C, 400 IU vitamin E, 15 mg beta carotene and one to two tablespoons (or three to six capsules) of liquid flaxseed oil. Donsky also recommends loading up on vitamins, but she prefers to get extra A, C and E from food. “Carrots, spinach and red bell peppers are rich in vitamin A; citrus fruits and dark leafy greens offer plenty of vitamin C; and avocado, almonds and wheat germ are packed with vitamin E,” she says.

10. Go fish. Donsky says omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in salmon, sardines, herring and anchovies, can help reduce inflammation and promote tissue healing from the inside out. Not a fish fan? You can also get these healthy fatty acids from walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, chia seeds and hemp seeds.

Follow Yahoo Health on and become a fan on

Follow @YahooHealth on
Related Health News