A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

Home Remedies for Sunburn: 11 Treatments to Feel Better Fast

Updated: Mar. 20, 2023

These natural home remedies for sunburn will help your skin to heal while soothing pain and inflammation.

1 / 11

Sunburn home remedy: Soak in oats

This breakfast staple also has skin-soothing properties and reduces inflammation to naturally treat sunburn. Stuff an old nylon stocking with oats and place under the faucet as you run some cool bathwater. Soak for 15 to 20 minutes and air-dry yourself so you don’t wipe off the healing oats with your towel. Here’s more about how to treat a burn—sun-induced or otherwise—using oats.

2 / 11

Sunburn home remedy: Add baking soda to bathwater

Bicarbonate of soda helps soothe skin inflammation, reduces itching, and helps treat sunburn. Toss a handful into cool bathwater and soak for 20 minutes. Or draw a sunburn soothing bath by combining 2-4 cups of finely ground oats, 1 cup of baking soda, and 1 cup of evaporated milk. All three ingredients fight inflammation and aid in healing.

3 / 11

Sunburn home remedy: Try white vinegar

Ordinary white vinegar contains acetic acid, a component of aspirin that can help relieve the pain, itching, and inflammation of sunburn. Soak paper towels with vinegar and apply like a compress to painful areas, leave them on until they dry. Be careful around the eyes because vinegar can sting. Alternatively, pour a cup of white vinegar into tepid bathwater and soak for 20 minutes. You can also use vinegar for countless other home remedies.

4 / 11

Sunburn home remedy: Soothe with green tea

Studies suggest that the antioxidant compounds of green tea help prevent sunburn and skin cancer when you apply it to skin or sip it regularly. It doesn’t act as a sunblock, but it does protect skin against inflammation caused by the sun’s UV rays. You need about 3 milligrams of the green tea compound EGCG per square inch of skin. One cup of brewed green tea contains 20-35 milligrams of EGCG so after you sip a cup, brew a second cup, let it cool, and dab it on skin with a cotton ball after coming in out of the sun. Try mixing the green tea with mint tea for extra soothing cool comfort.

5 / 11

Sunburn home remedy: Mist with lavender oil

A French chemist discovered the healing powers of lavender oil in the early 1900s; when he severely burned his hand in a lab accident and plunged it into a vat of lavender essential oil, the oil eased the pain and his burn healed quickly. For a natural way to treat sunburn, mix 1 teaspoon of pure lavender essential oil into about 2 ounces of water in a misting bottle. Shake and mist sunburned skin lightly as often as needed. Or try mixing 1 teaspoon of lavender essential oil with 4 tablespoons of aloe gel, 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, and 2 capsules of vitamin E, 400 IU for a soothing gel that reduces inflammation and wards of infection.

6 / 11

Sunburn home remedy: Coat with plain yogurt

The enzymes and probiotics in plain, unflavored yogurt help to heal sunburn naturally. Apply yogurt directly to burned areas and let sit for at least five minutes. When the pain subsides, gently wash off with cool water.

7 / 11

Sunburn home remedy: Heal with evaporated milk

You don’t want to pull milk out of the fridge—too cold! But canned evaporated milk is just cool enough to ease the pain of your sunburn. Pour some on a clean cloth and apply to areas that hurt. It will provide a protein layer that locks in moisture, allowing skin to heal.

8 / 11

Sunburn home remedy: Dab on witch hazel

Witch hazel is excellent for healing damaged skin. Use a cotton ball to dab it directly on your sunburn. It speeds healing, reduces inflammation, and helps keep bacteria from forming.

9 / 11

Sunburn home remedy: Drink plenty of water

Sunburned skin means dehydrated skin. Drinking plenty of water will replenish skin and help to heal treat your sunburn.

10 / 11

Sunburn home remedy: Smooth on aloe vera

Pure aloe vera is the superhero of sunburn treatment. A 2009 study found that aloe vera healed second-degree burns three days faster than those receiving traditional burn treatment with silver sulfadiazine. Aloe contains glycoproteins that speed healing by stopping pain and inflammation; and it contains compounds that moisturize skin, stimulate its growth and repair, and enhance wound healing. Minerals in the gel also soothe itching. Here are other health and beauty aloe vera uses.

11 / 11

Sunburn home remedy: Heal with vitamins E and C

Vitamins won’t take the sting out of a painful sunburn, but they will help to heal it faster. Taking 2000 milligrams of vitamin C and 1,000 IU of vitamin E for 8 days could help your sunburn heal and potentially reduce your chances for developing skin cancer in the future, say experts. Vitamins C and E are antioxidants. They neutralize the free radicals that are created by sun damage, protecting you from lasting skin damage, and they will also help to heal and repair your skin faster.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest