Sunburn Remedies

| Modified on May 16, 2024

While most individuals agree that a sun kissed glow makes an individual appear more healthy and vibrant, the truth is that the sun damages the skin. Even more than just a tan, a sunburn is the result of overexposure to the sun without adequate protection. Aside from simply avoiding the sun, several remedies exist for treating a sunburn and avoiding further complications with the condition.

What is Sunburn?

Sunburn can be described as the red, painful appearance of skin following sun exposure. While the severity of the burn typically affects symptoms, common indications of sunburn include pinkness or redness, skin that feels warm or hot to the touch, pain, tenderness, swelling, fluid-filled blisters, headache, fever and fatigue. Sunburn is caused by overexposure to ultraviolet light.

Home Remedies for Treating Sun Overexposure

The focus of treatment for sunburns centers on reducing inflammation and pain. Natural treatments also protect the skin from further damage and replenish vital nutrients in the skin. Apple cider vinegar, aloe vera and coconut oil are among the best treatment options.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a natural anti-inflammatory agent. When applied to a sunburn, the substance naturally soothes the skin and reduces pain. The vitamins and minerals in apple cider vinegar also help replenish lost nutrients in the skin to speed recovery.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is an especially effective treatment for sunburn. The substance contains a variety of vitamins, including A, C and E as well as folic acid and choline, which replenish and rejuvenate the skin. The substance also contains several amino acids and fatty acids that function to relieve inflammation and redness.

Coconut Oil

Coconut is effective for treating a variety of health conditions including sunburn. Coconut oil contains a unique combination of fatty acids that relieve inflammation and revitalize the skin. The moisture that coconut oil offers also prevents peeling that commonly results from sunburns.

Sunburns are often painful and can cause additional peeling of the skin, future wrinkles and other unhealthy skin conditions. However, natural treatment options relieve the pain associated with burns and prevent further damage.

Aloe and Peppermint

2 User Reviews
5 star (2) 

Posted by Mama To Many (Tennessee, US) on 06/21/2014

I was experimenting around with making a lotion and stumbled upon something that has been a help to our family for sunburn.

The day I made the lotion (recipe below) first was a day my son had worked outside all day and had a sunburn on his neck. He applied this to his neck and the skin was soft the next day. It also was immediately soothing. Today I was outside for hours in the heat of the day and had some sunburn when I came in. This lotion felt very good, and also was cooling as I was quite hot.

I have used the lotion other times just for fun. I love peppermint.

Peppermint-Aloe After Sun Lotion

1 Tablespoon Sunflower Lecithin

2 Tablespoons Almond Oil

6 Tablespoons Aloe Juice

10 drops peppermint essential oil (I may have used more.)

Put into a container and shake well. For longer term storage, it might be wise to add some Vitamin E. I have had it for a month or two and it is fine, just sitting on the counter.


~Mama to Many~

EC: Thanks, Mama to Many!  I'm sure it will come in handy this summer for many of us.

Replied by Mama To Many

I sent in a recipe for an after sun lotion years ago. I didn't have any on hand when my daughter came home from kayaking with a sunburn.

I used plain aloe and peppermint and it worked so well. It was immediately cooling. I have a pump bottle of aloe gel. She just added a drop or two of peppermint oil to each pump or two of aloe gel.

If you don't have aloe on hand coconut oil would be a substitute to consider.

~Mama to Many~

Aloe Vera

3 User Reviews
5 star (2) 
1 star (1) 

Posted by Kimberly (Fl, Usa) on 06/09/2015

I recently got sunburned (my bad for not using sunscreen) I didn't think I was outside long enough. Well I tried every suggestion on the website - but the most I got was 5 minutes temporary relief. I even bought aloe vera sunburn gel. But when my spouse read about the gel there was not that much aloe vera in it. We had 99.9% Aloe Vera juice in the refrigerator. It was quite a shock going on (was cold being in the refrigerator) but this helped me more than anything. It also took a lot of the redness away. I used it several times through out the day. Hope this suggestion helps someone else if they happen to get sunburned.

Replied by Zark
(Emerald City, The Land Of Oz)

Aloe Vera didn't work for me. I had very severe sunburn on my legs, so bad that they were swollen. I give this remedy 1 star.

What did work was yoghurt. The swelling improved noticeably in a matter of minutes. Greek yoghurt is the one you should use wherever possible, and sourer the better.

Aloe Vera
Posted by Jamie (Nova Scotia, Canada) on 05/01/2008

Aloe plant helps to get rid of sunburn. the actual aloe plant all you have to do is cut a peice off the full plant. Rip it open and apply. put it on as soon as the area get red it should work to get rid of it faster.

Apple Cider Vinegar

15 User Reviews
5 star (13) 
1 star (2) 

Posted by Cheri (GA) on 07/08/2023

Worked amazingly well! My son came home with his face feeling like it was on fire from being out on the lake all day without sunscreen. He was panicking because of how intense the pain was. I soaked paper towels in 1/2 water & 1/2 ACV mix and applied to his face (obviously keeping the vinegar away from his eyes). We only soaked for 15 minutes and he said his pain went from a 10/10 to a 2/10. Minutes later and he said the pain just keeps gradually decreasing. This was a godsend!!

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Marsh (Colo) on 05/18/2023

In 1977 a group of friends went to Mexico. Thinking I wouldn't burn in my youthful 'wisdom' haha. Well, I burned so badly that bending to sit felt like my knees would burst, even the hair on my legs growing out felt like needle pricks. At dinner, the waiter took me to the kitchen to show the cook. He gave me a bottle of white vinegar and told me to put it in a tub of cool water and soak for a long time. The next day, the swelling was gone as was the heat from the burn. My husband was on a lake 3 years ago, blisters started forming on his face. Put about 1/2 cup ACV in a bowl of iced water, soaked a washcloth, applied it, then aloe, and back and forth - next day no burn. After getting the garden ready yesterday and not wanting to put suntan lotion on because my skin was dusty, I'm paying for it now. The ACV took out the burn but it's itching like crazy. Back to the ACV and aloe. Both need to be applied for quite some time in order for it to work. The skin needs to absorb the liquid, don't wring the cloth out. Be sloppy with it in order for it to work.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Jill (Chicago) on 07/07/2014

I got a sunburn over the weekend. I always break out when I'm in the sun but it was only about a half hour so I didn't think it would affect me like that. A day later it started itching like crazy. I tried ACV, plain white vinegar, and aloe. None of them helped at all. I had to break down and buy some hydrocortisone. I've been slathering it on. Maybe the natural products I tried aren't meant to treat an allergic reaction to the sun.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Jordanna (Tel Aviv, Israel) on 04/21/2013

I'm a big fan of apple cider vinegar, so when I saw it listed as a cure for sunburn, I wanted to try it. I used it only on the right side of my body, and left the left side untouched so I could see if it did anything. The ACV made no difference.

Replied by Gert

Were you doing this to prevent sunburn? I thought it was for relief after you are sunburned. It works for that pain, as does coconut oil. To prevent sunburn, take astaxanthin ( 1 every day). I've been taking astaxanthin for arthritis and haven't burned for years--I don't do anything else and am in the garden or creek many hours a day.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Dave (Minneapolis, Mn) on 10/25/2012

After reading these posts on Apple Cider Vinegar as a remedy for sunburn, I ran downstairs to apply it to mine. I burned pretty bad after foolishly spending 8 minutes in a tanning bed (having light skin & not tanned or had much sun exposure in months), forgetting to bring with me to the tanning salon my usual jar of Virgin Coconut Oil (which I usually lather on before tanning). I've looked like a lobster since and it's painful to even wear clothes.

I mixed the ACV 1/2 & 1/2 with water, soaked a smooth, thin rag in it, and wrapped it over my sunburn. Instant relief! ... and I've been using aloe vera gel & coconut oil for days (with some success, but not like this).

I do smell like a pickle & generally don't prefer the ACV smell, but having this much relief makes it easy to overlook. I'm grateful that a simple google search for sunburn relief led me here. :)

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by L. Farmer (Peoria, Az) on 07/13/2011

I managed to fry my thighs despite my liberal use of sunscreen yesterday. I remember hearing about this site, so decided to look for sunburn remedies. I am generally fairly skeptical of these sorts of things, but decided the only risk involved in me trying the ACV remedy for a sunburn was me smelling like a pickle. So, I gave it a shot. I'm happy to report that although it wasn't a 100% cure, it sure took away most of the red and most of the pain. I was quite amazed. I have survived MULTIPLE sunburns in my lifetime, but have never found such quick relief! I'm a believer! Long live ACV!

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Tiffany (Honolulu, Hi) on 06/26/2011

ACV is absolutely amazing, my younger sister had an absolutely horrific sunburn after a day out with her friends family, blistered on the entire upper half of her body, me and mother have never felt so awful for her. We tried aloe, lidocaine, cold towels, and when we saw this site we had to try it. She said she felt so much better she can actually sleep now. I thank you guys so much for the help! Instantly relieved with one light coat. <3

Replied by Zoey
(Clarksville, Tn)
Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Raul (Dallas, Texas) on 06/13/2009

I just got a horrible sunburn from washing cars to get money to go to summer camp so i looked up some cures and it took me to this site. Since ACV is the most popular one i decided to try it and it worked perfectly i started feeling relief instantly. Although i do smell like a pickle. i would also recommend trying the coconut oil.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Elaine (Coventry, Rhode Island) on 08/25/2008

I have been using apple cider vinegar to treat sunburns since I was a kid. My grandmother was a nurse and used this method to no avail. I use it full strength on a sponge or several cotton balls. When it dries you can rub on some aloe gel so you don't smell like a pickle! LOL Amazing the money you can save with home remedies! (Not to mention how things like this really impress the kids!)

Replied by Naomi
(Dallas, Texas)

spray tans are cheaper and better for your skin in the long run

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Joyce (Joelton, Tn) on 08/25/2008

The ACV does work well for decreasing the misery of sunburn. My daughter doesn't like it because she said it keeps you from tanning while working it's good. Personally, I prefer to use anything that will prevent that miserable blistering and peeling, and do without any tan.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Beverly (Pikeville, Kentucky) on 06/10/2008

I just had to post this! Today I got a really bad sunburn. One of those that make you look like a lobster. I was hurting all over and found this site with acv as a cure. I bathed for twenty minutes in a tub of lukewarm water and 2 cups of apple cider vinegar. After I got out I covered myself in coconut oil and within minutes no more pain. It went from pain to a tingle and now -even though its still red-it doesn't hurt at all! TRY THIS IT WORKS!!!!!!!

Replied by Melly
(Austin, Texas)

It is the coconut oil that removes sunburn pain. In fact if you used it for moisturizer, when exposed to sunlight for a long time even at the beach, you get a nice tan with no burn. It is very healing to the skin and internally too. Melly

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Cyndi (Roethis, Austria) on 06/07/2008

I have always known ACV is good for sunburn, one cup in a tub of water and the sunburn is gone! So, when I was at work alone and severly burned my hand, I put ACV in a sink of water with ice cubes. I had to wait until someone else came into work before I could go to the hospital. On and off for about an hour I kept soaking my burnt hand in the ACV solution. When I arrived at the hospital my hand was bandaged and treated and I was told to return the next day to have this treament repeated. The next day I went back to the hospital and as the bandages were removed, the doctor was shocked! The deep red welt, the blister and all signs of a burn were gone.I had only a pink line. When I explained I had used ACV and ice, the staff were amazed! It truly worked a miracle, where I would have had a scar and therapy, I had onle one day of discomfort. I thank my mother for this.