10 natural remedies to get rid of sunburn
There’s nothing like relaxing under the summer sun, book in hand, waves lapping against the shore. It’s easy to waste the hours baking away—but forget to don appropriate sun protection and you’ll spend the rest of your vacation bright red.
Sunlight is made up of many different types of radiation, including infrared radiation (what makes sunlight feel hot), visible light (this allows us to see sunlight), and ultraviolet radiation. It’s this last form of radiation that causes a sunburn.
It can disrupt important molecules and wreak havoc on your body’s immune system; when UV radiation hits your skin, pigments called melanin absorb it to shield your DNA from harm.
Once your cells are damaged, they produce warning signals, which catalyzes your body to produce an inflammatory response. Many different types of blood cells are sent to the area of burn—this is the reason your skin becomes red and painful to the touch.
Sometimes the sun gets the best of us, but if you’re dealing with a painful, red sunburn and want to get some sweet relief, there are 10 great home remedies for sunburn relief to pick from—and most of them you probably already have in your home.
Wrap an ice pack or a bag of frozen veggies in a soft towel and apply to the burn. Never place ice directly on skin as it can cause frostbite and more damage.
2. Cool water
A cool (but not too cold) bath, shower, or moist compress takes away heat and pain. Don’t scrub skin or use products like bath oils, soap, or bubble bath.
3. Aloe vera
The gel from inside this cactus plant eases discomfort, speeds healing, and moisturizes skin. Either split a plant leaf and apply the sap directly to skin, or buy pure aloe vera gel at your local drugstore.
The sticky stuff’s been used as a topical burn salve since Egyptian days. Studies suggest it may work better than some antibiotic creams at speeding up healing, reducing infection, and minimizing pain. Note: Skip this remedy for babies younger than 12 months, as accidental ingestion of the honey could put them at risk for developing infant botulism.
Finely ground oatmeal (sold as colloidal oatmeal in drug stores) works as an anti-inflammatory when mixed with bath water. Make your own by pulverizing a cup of instant or slow-cooking oatmeal in a blender or food processor until it has a smooth, fine consistency. Pour into tepid bath water and soak.
6. Witch hazel
Wet a washcloth or cotton gauze with this anti-inflammatory astringent and apply to the skin three or four times a day for 20 minutes to minimize pain and itching.
Place a washcloth or cotton gauze soaked in cool milk on the reddened area to create a protein film that eases discomfort and reduces heat.
8. Baking Soda or Cornstarch
Soaking in bathwater mixed with baking soda or cornstarch can relieve inflammation and itching.
9. Cider Vinegar
Acetic acid in vinegar alleviates pain, itching, and inflammation. Pour one cup of white cider vinegar into tepid bath water and soak.
10. Coriander Oil
Studies suggest rubbing this essential oil onto sunburned skin may reduce inflammation.
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