We should always try to avoid getting a sunburn even though, at times, the power of the sun can unexpectedly sneak up. The redness, irritation, peeling, pain, swelling, and unsightly blisters… sunburns can last from 3-7 days, and are highly uncomfortable. Sunburns are actually acute inflammation of the skin cells, caused by ultraviolet rays of the sun.
Many people are unaware that the chemicals they put on their skin can cause sun exposure to produce inflammation. When sunburn does occur, nature offers us many cooling, soothing remedies to take away the sting and bite.
Natural Remedies for Sunburn:
- Aloe Vera Gel or Cream. One of the best and quickest ways for treating mild sunburn, this African plant has extreme anti-inflammatory effects on burns. Aloe Vera also helps to heal wounds and preventing scarring. Rub the natural form of the gel (available in many health food stores, or even better, buy an aloe plant for your home) into the location of the burn and leave on the skin. Reapply as necessary. On a side note, aloe vera juice also has many health benefits when taken internally.
- Coconut Oi.l A cooling oil that soothes burns, rub coconut oil onto the affected location.
- Milk. Many people are unaware of the cooling properties of milk. If aloe vera gel is unavailable, dip a gauze pad into milk and apply it directly to the sunburn.
- Hydrotherapy. Taking a short, lukewarm bath, or using cool towel compresses aids in keeping the burn moist and cool. Do NOT use hot water, as this further strips the already damaged oils from the skin.
- Ozontated Olive Oil. Gently rub the ozonated olive oil paste on the sunburned area and let sit. This will help the area heal without blistering and/or peeling. O2-Zap works great for this.
- Increase Water Intake. A sunburn dehydrates the insides of the body, as our natural healing mechanisms attempt to bring more moisture to the burned area. Stay hydrated to avoid the headaches and fatigue that may accompany a sunburn.
- Sandalwood and Turmeric Paste. An ancient Ayurvedic remedy, these herbs have a cooling affect on the skin. Mix equal amounts of these two herbs with a little cool water. Apply to sunburned area and leave for 15-20 minutes.
- Vinegar. White vinegar has been known to ease the pain of a sunburn when applied to the skin. Apply to the skin as a compress, using a small towel soaked in a mixture of water and vinegar. I would NOT recommend using apple cider vinegar, instead of white vinegar.
- Eat More Sunflower Seeds. Studies show that increased intake of Vitamin E foods can help decrease the inflammation of a sunburn. Sunflower seeds, as well as many other seeds, are full of Vitamin E. Other foods that are high in Vitamin E include wheat germ, soybean oil and most raw nuts. You can also rub vitamin E on the burn to cool the area.
- Use Cooling Essential Oils. You can quickly relieve a burn by soaking a wet towel in water containing several drops of cooling essential oils. Oils that reduce burns and inflammation include lavender, sandalwood, chamomile, eucalyptus, rose hips, and buckthorn essential oils. They can also be directly added to a warm bath.
- Fresh Air. Bask in the moonlight! Burns heal quicker in the fresh air, than wrapped in bandages, which can cause the burn to hold more heat in.
Do you have a natural remedy you use to help with sunburns? If so, I want to hear it. Drop a comment below and let me know what you do for relieving sunburns.
-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DABFM