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Sunburn Remedies

Last Modified on May 18, 2016

DMSO, Coconut Oil  
1 User Reviews | 1 YEA

on 03/05/2010

[YEA]  This is a remedy I found worked for sunburn:

After working up on our roof one day, my boyfriend and I got a bit sunburnt. Naughty, I know.

I keep DMSO in the cupboard for other uses -- boyfriend's inflammatory back pain, my foot pain (plantar fasciitis) as well as other general inflammatory ailments. I had read it was useful for healing heat burns, so I thought I'd try it for sunburn. Everything I've read about DMSO warns to make sure the skin is completely clean of chemical residues. I guess the only way to be sure is to very thoroughly exfoliate the area, so I did this in the shower with a "skin-peel" cloth (no soaps or other chemicals, it's purely mechanical exfoliation). After I'd towelled off I dabbed on some DMSO with a cotton swab. For anyone who's not familiar with the effects of DMSO -- it provides almost instant relief for pain when applied topically. So the burning stopped as soon as I put this on. I let it soak into my skin for about 5 mins, then with another cotton swab rubbed extra-virgin coconut oil into the skin. Well, what a relief! It took the stinging and heat out of my skin straight away. I repeated this several times that night, wearing a clean cotton t-shirt (with no fabric softener in it, just to be sure). It healed really quickly, didn't peel like my boyfriend's sunburn did, and kept my skin looking really good.

It seems like DMSO helps your skin absorb more of what you put on it, so it stands to reason that the EVCO was more able to penetrate my skin and help it "heal". I'm sure the antioxidant properties of the oil were a help to my sun-damaged skin -- as we all know, sun exposure stimulates production of free-radicals, which can cause cancer. I'm not saying this will stop you getting skin-cancer from sunburn, but it did help heal the damage or prevent it from being as bad as it should have. There are also some studies which have suggested a certain level of protection offered by extra virgin coconut oil, that it helps the skin's natural defences where UV light is concerned. Perhaps this is because EVCO is one of the closest substances to human sebum.

Egg Whites  
3 User Reviews | 3 YEA

Posted by Lecia (Copenhagen, Denmark) on 08/14/2012

[YEA]  Egg whites! I apply raw egg whites to my skin and wait until it dries (which takes only a few minutes), or a little longer. Then I rinse it all off (just water, no products). It takes a few hours to work, but the result is almost a miracle, no burn at all!

It also smoothens the skin, and since I only eat the egg yolks, I have been using the whites on my skin often.

Posted by Lolita (Cushing, Oklahoma) on 11/04/2009

[YEA]  It is amazing what egg whites can do. My sis-inlaw got on this website after seeing that her niece was developing a bad sunburn and she used paper towels and egg whites and put it on her back where it was the worst. Our niece never complained about the burn or any of the usual discomfort that comes with a burn also as bad as the burn was it should have left scars and you couldn't even tell anything was ever there thanks- Lolita

Posted by Jennifer (Highland, California) on 06/23/2008

[YEA]  A few day's ago I went to the beach and didn't put on any sunblock. I was there for about seven hours and I got severely burned. I had been putting Aloe Vera on my skin for a few days and it was helping, but then I put raw egg whites on my skin. It felt disgusting but it helped a lot. I just used enough egg white to cover my skin and I slept with it on, so it had a few hours to work.

Green Coconuts  
1 User Reviews | 1 YEA

Posted by Steve12 (San Jose, Ca) on 08/05/2013

[YEA]  Being fair skinned I always burned very easily. 12 years ago I started buying green coconuts from the Asian grocers for a dollar apiece. I would take 2 a day by pouring the liquid into a blender and then scrapping the coconut meat into the blender and make a coconut shake. Very delicous. So after a year of this I visited Panama and took suba lessons. I was out in the sun with out sunscreen and I didn't burn and ever since then, even without the coconuts I tan much easier than before.

Lactic Fermented Foods  
1 User Reviews | 1 YEA

Posted by Zark (Emerald City, The Land Of Oz) on 05/17/2016

[YEA]  Sunburn: Sour lactic fermented foods work nice and fast to reduce redness and swelling. Lactic ferments include: Yoghurt, Kombucha, Sauerkraut. Apply directly to sunburn.

I was in quite a bit of pain from sunburn and a lady near to me said she used to get sunburnt all the time when working in the construction industry (one of the most male dominated professions I imagine..). She said their remedy of choice was Greek Yoghurt. She was quite specific in that it should be real Greek Yoghurt and none of that sweet junk if you want this to work. She said it works straight away. I reckon it should be sour so as to maximise lactic acid, so the older batches are presumed to work better.

Working on the principal that it was lactic acid, I applied kombucha to the sunburn, using tissue paper to dab it on (as I didn't have yoghurt in the house). Success! I took photos and could see a reduction in redness within 10 minutes. It is really quite noticeable. The swelling has greatly improved too.

I suggest that sauerkraut juice would also be a nice and easy one to try.

(PS: The she also recommended aspirin for reducing swelling. But I really wanted to focus on cultured foods as that is more in keeping with the spirit of this website.)

Lukewarm Bath  
1 User Reviews | 1 YEA

Posted by Snowdonx (What City, Australia) on 12/21/2009

[YEA]  Severe Sunburn Handling

Basically I had really severe sunburn, apparently when the pores on the skin start to close this can cause severe itching which had me running around the house like a nutcase because i couldn't sit still. Called ambos and hospital and nurse and theres nothing they could advise other than shower. So I started to think outside the box, water is generally soothing and when you sit in a bath i remembered the skin wrinkles this wrinkling basically increases the surface area of the skin and my theory was that it would in turn help the pores of the skin remain open.

So I spent a fair bit of time in the bath each day where it was painful some times up to 4 hrs in the bath the water was at just under luke warm temperature. Mind you I had used a 600ml bottle of the synthetic aloe vera which is no where near the same as the unsynthetic which disgusted me because I hate it when they start making synthesised versions of natural products.

Anyway to cut a long story short the bathing worked a great deal, I ended up sleeping in the bath a couple of times.

This was a painful lesson. If you are working out in the sunlight or aren't getting a regular exposure to sunlight then you will burn easily and may have a severe reaction. The funny thing is i was at the beach with a group of friends and this other guy who works outdoors got the same amount of burning was in the sun longer and basically had no ill effects.

As for the severe itching i encountered i don't know how successful that will be in the bath because it had calmed down a fair bit after the ambulance came and spiked up a couple of times but when i was in the bath everything felt much better. Also this severe sunburn seemed to leave some kind of permanent damage to the pores or skin in general.

1 User Reviews | 1 YEA

Posted by Citygirl27 (Richardson, Tx, Usa) on 11/01/2012

[YEA]  Oatmeal is great for sunburn relief. Add a cup of oats to your bathwater. Just skip the flavored ones. This is how the leading similar product that begins with an A became popular. Surprised this is not in your sunburn remedies.

1 User Reviews | 1 YEA

Posted by Emily (Jackson, Tennessee) on 06/09/2006

[YEA]  Mix equal parts of hydrocortisone cream and hemorrhoid cream and rub onto sunburned skin before bed. Although the smell is awful, by the next morning, the soreness and redness will be gone. It is amazing how this will work for the worst of sunburns!

1 User Reviews | 1 YEA

Posted by Alice (Auckland, New Zealand) on 01/01/2010

[YEA]  Potato helped my sunburn

I had forgotten to put on sunscreen when I went to the beach today. I got back to discover my legs were as red as a lobster, and felt like they were burning.

I remembered reading potatoes does wonders with a fever, so I sliced some raw potato and put them on my thighs. The potatoes were cool and soothing, and gave me longer relief. Aloe vera wasn't this effective. The potato slices are sitting on my thighs while I type this up. Give it a go, it helps the burning feeling!

Sour Cream  
1 User Reviews | 1 YEA

Posted by Maria (Los Angeles, Ca) on 08/30/2009

[YEA]  For a bad sunburn, I have always used plain sour cream by applying it generously over the affected area. It needs to remain on skin for 1-2 hours and then be washed off with just water. This does an excellent job of soothing away the redness and burning sensation. For a really bad burn, you can reapply every hour or so throughout the day. Truly the best thing I have found to work for me.

Sun Queen's Recipe  
1 User Reviews | 1 YEA

Posted by Sun Queen (Colorado, US) on 06/23/2014

[YEA]  Colorado sun can be brutal and burn skin in no time flat. I recently got a severe burn and I made my own "lotion" that worked like a miracle. First, I have to note that I tried an experiment: applying pure bergamot oil to my left leg immediately after coming in out of the sun and then to my right leg about 4 hours later. My left leg never burned, peeled, or hurt, but rather turned brown and skin stayed healthy. My right leg was still red, peeling, and tender after a week. I used the below lotion on both legs every night before bed and every morning after a shower, which kept my left leg healthy and helped my right leg heal.

Sunburn Relief: (All organic, pure ingredients) 1/2 cup Coconut Oil, 1/4 cup Castor oil, 1/4 cup Pure Aloe Vera liquid (not the gel or with any additives), 1/4 cup ACV, 2 Tbsl vitamin E oil, Then 3-20 drops of the following: Bergamot oil, Tea Tree oil, Neem oil, Tamanu oil, Rose oil, Almond oil, Grapeseed oil, Rose Hip Seed oil, Jojoba oil, Rosemary oil, I don't add the ACV if the skin is broken (cracked or peeling) because it stings too much. If your skin is badly burned, be sure to cool it off with ACV or earl gray tea (bergamot) cold compresses before applying the oils, because oil can sometimes magnify the heat.

Sunburn Prevention Diet  
1 User Reviews | 1 YEA

Posted by Amber (Portland, Oregon) on 02/20/2009

[YEA]  This remedy is more of a prevention. Eating more raw foods, especially greens and foods high in antioxidants can actually promote less burning and faster bronzing. In addition, there have been studies that have shown an oil or extract from brocolli is an excellent sunblock.

I have experienced success in this as I practice a raw food diet. Last summer I was eating about 1 cup of brocolli daily, as well as lots of berries (most helpful are blueberries, I had about 1/2 cup per day). I am fair-skinned and tan pretty easily, but I have never tanned so fast and without any burning for about the past 10 years. I also started staying in the sun about 1/2 the time I usually lay-out, and I still tanned, better than in the past! I admit I lay-out in the peak hours, which I should probably discontinue to do. Anyway, I thought this was my imagination but I since read about this from others on raw food forums, and done some research online, specifically about these foods, on

I am not suggesting that anyone toss care to the wind and stay in the sun all day just because you have eaten these foods, but it is something to note. I mean, could you imagine that there are nutrients out there that help our bodies be more resilient towards the sun's effects? I suppose after learning this, it makes sense!

Perhaps during the summer months, one could add a brocolli salad (my recipe: blend brocolli in food processor: add garlic powder, salt and olive oil, sun dried tomato flakes and pumpkin seeds/'s amazingly good!) and a smoothie to thier healthy snack routine. It's healthy and it can't hurt!

4 User Reviews | 4 YEA

Posted by Simone (British Columbia) on 06/12/2015

[YEA]  Hi since summer is coming I thought some people might like this. It came from my daughter's Bubba. Many years ago I was burnt so bad that even a sheet on my skin was painful. She told me to brew some tea bags and let them steep. I used regular black/orange pekoe. When the tea is luke warm (too cold will make you tense up), have someone lightly squeeze the bag and dab all over. The moisture and tannins in the tea help keep the skin from drying out. The best part was there was no bad peeling and it turned into a tan faster.

Drink extra water to help keep your skin hydrated. You may want to do it a few times over a day or two. I have passed this on to others over the years with great results. Of course prevention is the best remedy.

Posted by Anita (Muskegon, Mi) on 05/26/2010

[YEA]  I too use tea bags for sunburn in the tub. I find the best results with black tea and even better with a Chinese Black tea. I just asked at one of my favorite Chinese restaurants and they were so kind they gave me a couple boxes, but, it is not hard to find at health stores. For acute burns and chemical reactions that make you feel like your on fire-tea is a natural neutralizer. My father was a physician and this was one of his remedies. I was harvesting hot peppers from garden and making fresh salsa. I washed my hands liberally, and chopped other veggies for about an hour. Since I had even done up the dishes I was sure any acidity was long gone. Rather embarrasing, I went to urinate and in wiping process transferred via toilet paper residual pepper acicidity. Thought I was going to die! Wow! Called Dad, got in tub with 5-7 tea bags and within 2 minutes the pain lessened and by 15 I was totally back to normal. Also, like the young lady stated with burnt hand. Take 3-4 bags and steep in hot water for 10-20 sec. Open bags and like a poultice place over area and cover with a damp cloth or gauze. If blistering has started leave on for at least 30 minutes. The blistering will be gone and you avoid scarring. Hope this is helpful. Anita