Sunburn Remedies

| Modified on May 21, 2023
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!

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.

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~

Castor Oil
Posted by Sharon (Redding, California) on 08/26/2008
5 out of 5 stars

My daughter sunburned the shin's on both legs. They had 3rd degree burns. Big yellow blisters. She could not walk for about 3 days. I was told by an elderly man to soak gauze in Caster Oil and wrap her legs with the gauze and leave it for 3 days. The next day my daughter was able to walk. The 3rd day I removed the gauze and she was healed. Blisters gone. Her legs were just a shade pink. It left no scars. Awesome stuff.

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!

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!

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Dave (Minneapolis, Mn) on 10/25/2012
5 out of 5 stars

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. :)

Coconut Oil
Posted by Dollface21338 (Harford, Ny, Usa) on 07/06/2010
5 out of 5 stars

Yay for Coconut Oil! I am fairly fair skinned with a moderate amount of freckles that really come out in the sun, auburn hair, and blue eyes. I usually use a smaller amount of SPF (8 in a tanning oil) and may get a little pink but am tan the next day. And I tend to get quite dark if I build it up. Well I decided to lay out on a float in the pool yesterday and exposed my bum to get rid of the tan lines. I didn't realize until later when I sat down how much damage had been done. After rubbing what seemed like an entire aloe plant on the area, I was still in so much pain. Then I remembered and knew that I had coconut oil. IMMEDIATE relief, literally! I can actually sit down and type this. I also have ACV but decided to stick with coconut oil. It just seems so much more soothing than the vinegar. Although I will probably try that the next time, just to see if there is a difference. I'd rather smell like a coconut than a pickle! lol

Sunburn Prevention Diet
Posted by Amber (Portland, Oregon) on 02/20/2009
5 out of 5 stars

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!

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Cyndi (Roethis, Austria) on 06/07/2008
5 out of 5 stars

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.

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.

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.)

Aloe and Peppermint
Posted by Mama To Many (Tennessee, US) on 06/21/2014
5 out of 5 stars

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.

Coconut Oil
Posted by Laura (Bryan, Tx, Usa) on 09/09/2012
5 out of 5 stars

I got a pretty bad sunburn today, and before I even got home it started hurting so I knew the first thing I was going to do when I got home was check this site for some relief. I have both ACV and extra virgin coconut oil, but decided to go with the oil so I wouldn't be so stinky. As soon as I applied the oil to my sunburn I got instant relief!! :) Thank you Earthclinic.