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Ok, you’ve all probably been there…that time you underestimated an overcast sky and skipped the SPF, or when you thought you rubbed in your sunscreen properly only to discover weird, splotchy hand prints. Whatever the case, at some point in your life you’ve probably encountered a sunburn and they unfortunately don’t disappear overnight. Good news is that there are a few natural options to help treat sunburns that not only help with relief, but also speed up the healing process. Chances are you probably have a few of these natural solutions around the house, which makes it all the more convenient.
Oats are high in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties like beta glucan, which makes them a perfect natural remedy for a sunburn. Just blend up a cup of instant oatmeal into a fine consistency, and fill a cool bath to soak in. In addition to helping reduce swelling and relieve itching, the oatmeal will also help nourish the skin, prevent damage, and encourage new skin cell growth.
If you don’t have any oatmeal on hand, you can substitute with two cups of baking soda to achieve the same results of reduced redness and irritation. Skip your towel dry though and spend a few extra minutes in the bathroom letting the baking soda solution soak in your skin to get the best result.
Another sunburn bathing solution is cider vinegar. It helps restore your natural PH balance, and the acid in vinegar helps ease pain, itching, and inflammation. Just mix a cup of white or apple cider vinegar in a cool bath. Not crazy about soaking in the tub? Mix equal parts apple cider vinegar with water, and pour into an empty spray bottle for application. It’s an easy way to get those hard to reach spots like on your back.
Head on over to the fridge and grab some milk for quick relief. The fat, protein, and PH in milk create a soothing, anti-inflammatory layer on the skin, and the cool temp helps to constrict the blood vessels resulting in reduced swelling.(3) Pour some chilled milk in a bowl, soak a clean washcloth, wring out the excess, and apply the compress to the skin for several minutes. No substitutes here though (sorry almond milk lovers). You’ll only reap the benefits from cow’s milk.
Black tea is another option for a cool compress sunburn remedy. It actually helps draw out the heat of the burn, which can reduce the inflammation and help restore the PH balance. After the tea has been fresh brewed and cooled, apply with a clean washcloth. If you’re looking to treat a larger area, consider grabbing an old t-shirt you’re willing to toss and soak it in the tea and throw it on. The properties of black tea help the skin heal faster, so as soon as you recognize you’ve been burned you’ll benefit from the cool tea treatment.
We’ve mentioned before all the benefits of aloe vera, but probably one of the most common benefits is the ant-inflammatory effect the plant provides, as well as soothing hydration. Stick with the real thing though. The natural benefits of the aloe plant outweigh the over the counter formulas full of preservatives.
One of the most sensitive areas to get sunburned is on your eyelids, and applying aloe or something like that isn’t the most ideal sunburn remedy. Cut some cucumbers for cooling eye relief, or mash up in your blender to make a paste for a cooling facemask.
Tea bags are another great option for soothing sunburnt eyelids. Soak the teabags in cool water until the water darkens to release the tannin compound, and then squeeze them out slightly so they don’t drip, and apply to your lids. You can also soak a hand towel or washcloth in the tea water and place over your eyes as a cool compress. Try a peppermint tea for double the cooling benefit.
The natural cultures in yogurt help soothe dry skin making it a great natural option. Stick with plain yogurt though, that chocolate swirl yogurt in your fridge isn’t going to get you the same results. Just put it on as a topical cream for five minutes or until the yogurt loses the cool factor.
Naturally if you’ve spent enough time out in the sun to get a sunburn you’re probably feeling a little dehydrated, and so is your skin! Drinking plenty of water will help replace the fluids that you lost during your time out in the sun. Try fruit flavored water for the additional nutritional benefits.
The reality is that sunburns can develop in less than 15 minutes of sun exposure, so naturally the best treatment is prevention. That means applying and reapplying sunscreen diligently. If you’re looking for a more natural alternative to the traditional over the counter sunscreens, check out Coola’s natural and organic based suncare products. Coola utilizes natural plant protectors like red algae and plankton which have sun protection qualities and help boost your sunscreen’s SPF.