10 Natural Remedies for Sunburns

Honey, milk, and oatmeal aren't just for breakfast -- they're also used in home remedies for sunburn relief.
Aloe leaf

Robyn Lehr

If your child gets sunburned, make sure she drinks plenty of fluids since sunburns are dehydrating, and keep her out of the sun until she's healed. Contact your pediatrician immediately if your child is under age 1 or if she has blisters, severe pain, lethargy, or a fever higher than 101 degrees. For mild sunburns, try these all-natural skin soothers.

Ice

Wrap an ice pack or a bag of frozen veggies in a soft towel and apply to the burn. Never place ice directly on skin as it can cause frostbite and more damage.

Cool Water

A cool (but not too cold) bath, shower, or moist compress takes away heat and pain. Don't scrub skin or use products like bath oils, soap, or bubble bath.

Aloe Vera

The gel from inside this cactus plant eases discomfort, speeds healing, and moisturizes skin. Either split a plant leaf and apply the sap directly to skin, or buy pure aloe vera gel at your local drugstore.

Honey

The sticky stuff's been used as a topical burn salve since Egyptian days. "Studies suggest it may work better than some antibiotic creams at speeding up healing, reducing infection, and minimizing pain," says Kathi Kemper, M.D., author of The Holistic Pediatrician.

Oatmeal

Finely ground oatmeal (sold as colloidal oatmeal in drug stores) works as an anti-inflammatory when mixed with bath water. Make your own by pulverizing a cup of instant or slow-cooking oatmeal in a blender or food processor until it has a smooth, fine consistency. Pour into tepid bath water and soak.

Witch Hazel

Wet a washcloth or cotton gauze with this anti-inflammatory astringent and apply to the skin three or four times a day for 20 minutes to minimize pain and itching.

Milk

Place a washcloth or cotton gauze soaked in cool milk on the reddened area to create a protein film that eases discomfort and reduces heat.

Baking Soda or Cornstarch

Soaking in bathwater mixed with baking soda or cornstarch can relieve inflammation and itching.

Cider Vinegar

Acetic acid in vinegar alleviates pain, itching, and inflammation. Pour one cup of white cider vinegar into tepid bath water and soak.

Coriander Oil

Studies suggest rubbing this essential oil onto sunburned skin may reduce inflammation.

Copyright © 2012 Meredith Corporation.

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