Depending on the severity of the burn sunburns can be very painful, making it difficult to focus on anything other than that hot, itchy, irritating redness. Too much exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays damages skin cells. This can cause either a first-degree burn, which is characterized by red, tender skin and turns into a tan or flakes off as dry skin, or a second-degree burn which can cause severe pain, swelling, and even blisters. Whether mild or serious, a simple home remedy for sunburn can be used to treat symptoms, but perhaps more importantly, to help heal the damaged skin.
Aloe vera gel is one of the most popular natural home remedies for burns, dryness, and irritated skin. There is a good reason for this — it works very well. Aloe vera is a soothing, cooling, natural moisturizer, perfect for speeding the recovery of sunburned skin. If purchasing a gel at the drug store look for a natural product that contains aloe vera, not petrochemical-based ingredients, alcohol, fragrances, or coloring. If you keep an aloe plant in the house you can use the pulp from the fresh plant.
Apply a thin layer to the affected area. You can safely use aloe vera gel every hour to relieve pain and itching.
Another simple home remedy for treating sunburns is a black tea compress. Brew two cups of black tea using bags or loose leaf tea. Soak a clean cotton cloth or sterile cotton gauze in the tea while it cools. Apply the cloth or gauze to the burn for about twenty minutes. Black tea is naturally antibacterial, helping to protect the skin from harmful bacteria. It also has astringent properties, encouraging skin tissue to contract.
You can also use a herbal tea compress to sooth the burning and itching. Make an infusion with dried comfrey, a herb that speeds healing, soothes the skin, and acts as an astringent. Use four teaspoons for two cups of boiling water. Soak the cloth and apply the comfrey compress in the same way as a black tea compress. Do not use comfrey on deep wounds and do not ingest this herb.
A Soothing Bath
Another way to treat a sunburn is to take a healing bath. Use lukewarm water as damaged skin is too sensitive to very hot water. Add any of the following and soak for twenty minutes:
- 6 drops of lavender essential oil — lavender has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and skin calming properties
- 1 cup of oat flour —oats contain silica which will help with the production of new skin cells, and they are rich in mucilage to soothe and moisturize
- 6 cups of chamomile tea — chamomile has natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties
- 2 cups of baking soda to balance and moisturize the skin
All of these bath additives are safe for general use except for chamomile which should be avoided if you have a ragweed allergy.
For quick, cooling relief another option is to apply yogurt to the sunburn. Use plain yogurt. Rub gently into the skin and then rinse off with a cool
to lukewarm shower. Yogurt will moisturize and nourish. While this may be the messiest home remedy it also may be the most accessible for quick relief as most people have a cup of yogurt in the refrigerator.
You can safely use a home remedy for sunburn such as aloe vera gel or an oatmeal bath to soothe and heal the skin. Next time you go out however, make sure to wear a high-quality sunblock. The more sunburns you have over the years, the greater your chances of developing skin cancer.
Balch, Phyllis A. “Prescription for Nutritional Healing.” Fourth Edition (Penguin Books, 2006).
Page, Linda. “Healthy Healing: A Guide to Self-Healing for Everyone.” Eleventh Edition (Traditional Wisdom, 2003).
Natural Family Online https://www.naturalfamilyonline.com/go/index.php/84/black-tea-remedy-and-beauty-tips
photo by Angelcandy Baby (CC/flickr)
photo by Eamonn (CC/flickr)
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