Sunburn Remedies

| Modified on May 21, 2023
Posted by MTCO (Brisbane, Australia) on 05/21/2023
5 out of 5 stars

Clay will take out the burn and you will not have any redness left over. just hard to keep it moist if it large areas. I have treated numerous burns with Sod Bent Clay with real success. Cover it with food plastic to keep it moist for several hours. redo if necessary. overnight in some cases. cheap and cheerful cure!

Posted by MTCO (Brisbane, Australia) on 05/21/2023
5 out of 5 stars

Clay will take out the burn and you will not have any redness left over. just hard to keep it moist if it large areas. I have treated numerous burns with Sod Bent Clay with real success. Cover it with food plastic to keep it moist for several hours. redo if necessary. overnight in some cases. cheap and cheerful cure!

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Marsh (Colo) on 05/18/2023
5 out of 5 stars

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.

Egg Whites
Posted by Cyndi (Martinez, Ca) on 01/01/2023
5 out of 5 stars

I used egg whites on a sunburn a few years back. I used a blush brush and brushed it on several times creating a layered effect. The egg white completely took the burn out of the skin and I was no longer in pain. It works great and I'll always use it for every burn from now on.

Coconut Oil
Posted by Reader (South Carolina) on 11/26/2022
5 out of 5 stars

Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) for sunburns

Growing up, each time I got a sunburn, my mom would urge me to put aloe on it. As I recall, that helped a little. So did yogurt. But recently, I got a pretty bad sunburn on both arms. I happened to have aloe (in a tube) and coconut oil. Read on EC that coconut oil was good for burns, so I turned it into a science experiment.

On one arm, I rubbed aloe, on the other, virgin coconut oil. 15 minutes later, the results were clear. The coconut oil arm had ZERO pain, and the aloe are was still stinging. I put coconut oil on the aloe arm, and in a few minutes, it was pain free. I'm 100% convinced of VCO's efficacy. I use it for all sorts of skin issues, including scrapes and dry skin. It's out of this world!

Nettle Leaf
Posted by Mama to Many (TN) on 05/07/2022
5 out of 5 stars

My daughter was traveling by plane to a remote area and only had a limited supply of first aid items. She ended up getting a bad sunburn that included blisters. She had aloe and was using that and asked what else she could do. (I love that, though she was remote, we could still text! ) I knew what she had with her as she had asked for a list of first aid items to take with her...I knew she had nettle. And nettle leaf has been amazing for allergic reactions. I gave it to my son when he burned his hands by cutting up too many jalapenos without gloves. Maybe it would help with sunburn; it is a reaction, though not an allergic one? She tried it and it worked! It helped the pain. When the pain began to return, she re-dosed with nettle. She would take 4 capsules at a time.

Nettle is something that I rarely leave home without.

~Mama to Many~

Posted by Chris (Florida) on 04/23/2022
5 out of 5 stars

I fell asleep in the sun to wake up hours later with a horrible sunburn on my face. It was so swollen and dark red that I was really worried. I called in sick for the following day. Same day I visited a friend who told me about the white vinegar cure. While watching TV I kept on laying a washcloth doused in WV on my face. Oh it felt just wonderful! Cool and calming. I did that for probably a couple of hours. When the cloth was getting warm I would dip it again. Next morning when I woke up the burn was not only gone but the skin had paled to where it looked like I never even was in the sun for long. Amazing!

Posted by Uncertain (LA) on 03/19/2022
5 out of 5 stars

Has anyone used Astaxanthin as sun protection? Supposedly it is effective against ultraviolet rays.

Yogurt (and Lactic Ferments)
Posted by Michael (New Zealand) on 01/09/2022

On the rare occasions we suffered from sunburn as children, we had no fancy solutions at hand and the adults seemed to think that it served us right and viewed it as some sort of appropriate punishment! Too long lazing on the beach perhaps? What a weird mindset! However.......

Also, once, when on a tramping expedition here in the mountains of New Zealand back in the day, I was foolish enough to climb over snowy terrain at nearly 9,000 feet in a pair of shorts. That was lovely, until night time in our alpine hut, when my legs started to throb, swelled up ready to burst and turned an alarming beetroot colour! Yeeks!! They were so hot, that between them they kept the whole hut warm like giant hot-water bottles!! Obviously the sunshine reflecting off the snow did the deed on my legs but there was a delayed reaction.

Nothing I could do for that last one except tough it out until they eventually cooled down (we carried minimal supplies).

However, as kids we would resort to self-help by taking some fresh milk from our window ledge (we had no 'fridge or freezer-very few did) and then soaked a tee-shirt in the milk and wore it for a while. Seemed to work a treat too. Maybe the milk was more substantial - I recall there was a high cream content - there was a small bird, very keen on the cream, that would peck it's way through the tops if you did not use a wooden board over the top of the jug.

Just reminiscing again (no cure I'm told)....

Cheers from Down Under

Yogurt (and Lactic Ferments)
Posted by Zark (Oz) on 01/08/2022
5 out of 5 stars

Success! After getting sunburn at the park yesterday I tried Lactic Acid, which I happened to have now in pure powder form. I mixed about half a teaspoon Lactic Acid in ~ 20 ml water (about an ounce of water). Applied it, and relief was instant :-)

So that's confirmation, lactic acid is the key ingredient that alleviates sunburn. This can be found in:

Sour yoghurt (eg Greek Yoghurt), sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi, kefir, and other sour cultured dairy such as sour cream

Apple Cider Vinegar, Coconut Oil
Posted by Cheri (Wellington, Florida) on 07/06/2021
5 out of 5 stars

Apple Cider Vinegar, Coconut Oil for Sunburn

I was hesitant to try this because the thought of any type of vinegar on my lobster red knees was excruciating. But I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep that night if I didn't do something (Aloe Vera gel had done nothing thus far), so I put my faith in these positive reviews and tried it. I placed ACV drenched paper towels on the affected areas. Ooooh, did it send a zinger up my spine when I placed those wet towels on my scorched sunburned skin. But it didn't last long. I let them soak for 30 minutes (totally painless after the first few seconds), then rubbed coconut oil in.

I could feel the difference immediately. I didn't wake up once from the discomfort that night. I would say it took the pain from an 8/10 down to a 3/10. I didn't even apply it the following day because I'm lazy, and because the pain is now very tolerable. It seems like ACV is the answer for every ailment on this site. I have tried it for a bunch of issues and it hasn't worked for me personally. But this time, man, did it deliver. Thank you Earth Clinic! Once again, you spared me a great deal of unnecessary suffering!

CBD Oil and Fresh Aloe
Posted by Angela (NYC/NJ) on 06/26/2021
5 out of 5 stars

I would like to share a miracle remedy for really bad sunburn that I treated my husband and daughter with- the results surpassed my “already high”expectations!

My daughter and husband both had 2nd degree sunburns yesterday and were in horrible pain. My daughter-15--fainted from the pain of trying to walk. Behind her knees was where she was burnt the worst. I was able to treat them from serious pain to pain free within 20 minutes using chilled Aloe Vera jelly (fresh from my home plant) and 1000mg CBD oil with .03%thc. Which I purchased from Dr Sebi's website. I trust the brand completely. The sunburn sting never returned after the first treatment. Here's what I did:

1. Tested an area with a drop of Cbd oil to make sure no reaction.
2. Applied the Cbd oil directly onto the burn, massaging into the skin as carefully as possible.
3. Waited 5 minutes and then did the same with the jelly from the chilled aloe leaves.
4. Kept them hydrated!
5. Gave 0.5ml of the Cbd orally - mixed in a Gatorade. (It tastes gross in plain water) and actually- this was the first step I took, not last!

Within just a few minutes after Cbd application the heat coming off the skin of the burned areas dramatically cooled down. The stinging disappeared and my daughter'sF shaking stopped. The aloe cooled her whole body, as it usually does, giving great relief. She was able to walk back to her bed with my assistance immediately. She felt complete relief and fell right asleep. The whole process was 20 minutes.

Neither my husband nor my daughter experienced the burn or sting again. My daughter's pain behind the knees came back 8 hours after the treatment (when she woke up)so I treated her the same way and she was relieved once again.

Truly a miracle combination

Please note- I read online not to mix the Cbd oil into the aloe jelly. Apply them separately and a few minutes apart.

Baking Soda
Posted by Mmsg (Somewhere, Europe) on 08/26/2020
5 out of 5 stars

Julie, baking soda might be too strong for a harsh burn but it DOES work, and fast - at least for me - for minor kitchen mishaps.

And yes, silver foil also works a treat.

Baking Soda
Posted by Cpn (Somewhere) on 08/24/2020

Try aluminum foil next time. It has worked for sunburn and when I have burned my hands / fingers while cooking.

Baking Soda
Posted by Julie (Tn) on 08/24/2020 4 posts
1 out of 5 stars

I tried the baking soda paste remedy for a bad sunburn on my legs after reading about it here on Earthclinic (from which I've gotten much great information over the years). It backfired, badly. Not only did it NOT remove the heat/inflammation; it made it worse. It stung when applying it, and after I gently washed it off (wincing the whole time), my legs were even redder and felt like they were on fire.

And this morning, I see little pinprick abrasion-like areas of blood where the baking soda irritated the skin so badly. I don't doubt others who say it worked for them; but I can't imagine how.

It's like rubbing salt into a wound (which makes sense considering the sodium level of baking soda). I feel constrained to warn readers against this protocol. If you must try it, proceed with extreme caution. If it stings, don't wait the recommended 15-20 minutes to see if it gets better. Wash it off immediately.

Aloe Vera
Posted by Zark (Emerald City, The Land Of Oz) on 12/21/2018
1 out of 5 stars

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 and Peppermint
Posted by Mama To Many (Tn) on 07/07/2018
5 out of 5 stars

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~

Posted by Zark (Emerald City) on 09/04/2017
1 out of 5 stars

Tea didn't work for me - but yoghurt does! Preferably greek yoghurt - A tip I got from someone who used to work in building/construction industry.

Castor Oil
Posted by Whisperingsage (N Ca) on 07/15/2017 47 posts

That wasn't third degree, that was second degree. Third degree is charred and black.

Rubbing Alcohol
Posted by Noel (Perth) on 12/27/2016
5 out of 5 stars

I've read hundreds of different cures here for all different types of ailments but never posted. However I feel compelled to share this with everyone. For some unlucky people, sunburn means more than just red and a bit of pain, google 'hell's itch' and you will begin to understand the torture that some people, like me on the weekend, go through. The pain and itch is indescribable, and so deep that no amount of aloe, apple cider vinegar, coconut oil peppermint oil, showers or any of the standard natural remedies can fix.

After hours of indescribable torture and trying many other natural remedies including those listed above, I managed to find on one site where someone mentioned rubbing alcohol works, and believe me it does, I was hesitant at first thinking it would burn and sting, but in fact has the opposite effect and cools and calms the skin. Being rubbing alcohol I wouldn't generally advise as a natural cure but if you ever are unfortunate to get the dreaded hell's itch then you will be thanking me greatly, because it is pure torture like nothing else. Just try a small bit on an area first to ensure you have no adverse reaction. In Australia I used one called Isocol which is rubbing alcohol and water.

Good Luck.

Yogurt (and Lactic Ferments)
Posted by Zark (Emerald City, The Land Of Oz) on 05/17/2016
5 out of 5 stars

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.)

Baking Soda
Posted by Nadezhda (Charleston, Sc) on 07/11/2015
5 out of 5 stars

It's the best thing I have tried that actually works. I came to this website and tried this baking soda method of getting rid of sunburn. And I should say it worked out perfectly... You mix baking soda with a little bit of water, until it gets smooth. Then you put it with a cotton ball or your clean finger on the area where it's burned. Wait until it gets dried and then with a wet wash cloth pat it off. And just feel great!!! It doesn't take the color off, but it definitely takes the heat and pain off.

Posted by Simone (British Columbia) on 06/12/2015
5 out of 5 stars

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.