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17 Coolest Remedies for Sunburn

A sunburn not only gives you an inflamed skin that itches and pains but can also bring permanent damage to your skin as well as overall health. Overexposure to sun’s ultraviolet rays gives you sunburn which may further lead to dry skin, freckles, scars, wrinkles and even skin cancer if left untreated. Does that make you worried? If yes, then relax! Grave diseases like skin cancer can only occur if you get sunburn every now and then which means you get too much overexposed to UV rays. Having a sunburn once in a while cannot damage your health permanently but yes you must ensure that you treat your suntanned hot red painful tender skin as soon as possible and prevent yourself from getting further sunburn with proper usage of clothing, hats, umbrellas, shades and sunscreens. And yes, you should also avoid direct sunlight till your sunburn gets healed. Getting rid of sunburn is not at all difficult. You need to note down the following home remedies for sunburn that will give you relief from all the symptoms of sunburn.

Best Home Remedies for Sunburn

1. Cool Water Treatment for Sunburn

Water is the first and the foremost remedy for immediate relief from your inflamed red skin due to sunburn. Cool water helps you reduce your skin’s swelling by pulling the heat away from your burned skin and in the process, relieves the associated pain. However, never use cold or chilled water. Too cold water constricts the blood vessels resulting into reduced blood flow which may prove to be counter-productive. Here are some ways to use water for your sunburn.

Ways to Use Water for Sunburn

  1. Cool Compress: Take a wash-cloth and soak it in cool water. Do not use ice pack, cold water, or iced water to soak the cloth. Apply the wet wash-cloth directly to your skin having sunburn and let it sit there for few minutes. Again wet the cloth and reapply for as many times as you feel like. Do this for 10-15 minutes at the most. Repeat this several times a day.
  2. Soak in Cool Water: Sometimes your sunburn is at places where you cannot apply a cool compress such as your back. For such a condition, you may like to soak in cool bathwater for about 10-15 minutes. Do not use soap and don’t be in the bath tub for too long as it will cause your skin go dry and lead to more itching. You may also take shower if you don’t prefer soaking.
  3. Drink Water: You got a sunburn which means you have been overexposed to sun and which further means that your body has become dehydrated. Drink lots of water at frequent intervals. You need to keep your body hydrated which helps your sunburn heal faster.

2. Aloe Vera for Sunburn

Aloe vera herb consists of 99% of water and the rest of the 1% is composed of about 150 minerals and trace elements like vitamins, sodiums, calcium, manganese, magnesium, copper, chrome, zinc, selenium, germanium, potassium, iron, tannins and amino acids. How can a such a rich source of water and minerals not heal your sunburn! Certain elements like selenium and tannins (tannins are astringents) are a known remedy for sunburns and are used in commercially available sunburn lotions and creams too. They are present in aloe vera in abundance. If you ever touch pure aloe vera gel, it feels soothing cool. So, it makes sense to apply aloe vera gel to your sunburn, if possible the one directly taken out of aloe leaf.

How to Use Aloe Vera Gel for Sunburn?

Get this:

  • Aloe Vera Leaf (you can have a plant at home or get leaves from a herbal store)
  • Knife

Do this:

  • Cut a slice from the aloe vera leaf with the help of the knife.
  • Using the knife again, cup open the slice of aloe vera leaf.
  • Take out some gel from within the leaf.
  • Apply this cool gel to your sunburn and forget. Aloe vera gel absorbs into your skin quite rapidly and does not make you feel greasy.
  • If, however, you feel sticky after the gel dries out, wash it off with some cool water.
  • Reapply several times a day.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar for Sunburn

This is one of the most effective and quick remedies for sunburn. When apple cider vinegar (ACV) is applied topically for sunburn, it acts as an astringent. The work of an astringent is to shrink or constrict body tissues. Thus, it will reduce inflammation caused due to sunburn. ACV also helps in balancing the pH levels of your burned skin which means it will balance the acidity v/s alkalinity of your skin and thus promote healing. When you have mild sunburn, you may expect to treat it just by applying apple cider vinegar once or twice. Advanced stages of sunburn may require more ACV to be applied over time.

Ways to Use Apple Cider Vinegar for Sunburn

  1. Soak a clean washcloth in apple cider vinegar. Apply this cloth to your sunburned skin. You may feel instant relief from that stinging sensation. Let the cloth be there for a couple of minutes. As your skin gets dry after applying vinegar, moisturize it. You may use coconut oil to moisturize which is also our next remedy for sunburn.
  2. Add a cup of apple cider vinegar to the tub of your bath water. Soak or take bath with this water.
  3. Mix equal parts of ACV and water. Store the same in a spray bottle. Spray this mixture on your sunburned skin multiple times a day.

Precaution: Do not use vinegar on your skin if there is a cut or wound on it.

4. Coconut Oil for Sunburn

In some parts of the world, especially tropical regions where temperatures may rise quite higher, coconut oil is used as a sunblock. What is interesting is that this oil can also be used as a healing agent once you get a sunburn. You need to replace all the lost oils of your skin due to sunburn, as fast as possible. When you replenish the lost lipids of your skin, you also get rid of the discomfort which results from peeling and excessive dryness of your skin. Lauric acid, the fatty acid present in coconut oil, seems to be the beneficial ingredient which promotes healing of your sunburned skin. This acid is also used in many cosmetic products to prevent redness, itching, swelling and other types of skin irritation.

How to Use Coconut Oil for Sunburn?

  • You just need to get plain coconut oil and rub on to your sun damaged skin. Within minutes, it will relieve the stinging and burning sensations and within some hours it may also reduce the redness and swelling of your sunburned skin.
  • If you like, you may add some other ingredients to your coconut oil such as few drops of lavender oil or aloe vera gel to make it more effective.
  • Rub a little amount of pure coconut oil or your mixture of coconut oil on your sunburned skin.
  • The oil gets absorbed into your skin so you need not worry about washing or removing it.
  • Just be careful about the stains that excessive oil may leave on your clothes.

Precaution: Do not use coconut oil just after you get the sunburn. It will trap the heat inside your skin and make it difficult to heal. Wait for about at least one day before you apply coconut oil on your sunburned skin. You should, anyways, use water as the first measure when treating sunburn.

5. Cucumber for Sunburn

The very cool cucumbers are 96% water and the rest is also a rich treasure of beneficial nutrients, mostly alkaline forming minerals including vitamins A and C, folate, manganese, molybdenum, potassium, silica, sulfur among others. This summer vegetable belonging to melon family has natural antioxidant and analgesic properties. All these components and properties of cucumber makes it an excellent remedy for skin conditions including sunburn. Cucumber soothes and cools and also repairs your UV rays damaged inflamed skin in the most effective manner.

Ways to Use Cucumber for Sunburn

  1. Make a paste of cucumber pieces using grinder or blender. Apply this paste to your sunburned skin. Leave for about 20 minutes before washing off.
  2. Make slices of cucumber and place them all over your burned skin. Leave for about half and hour.
  3. Make juice of cucumber and with the help of a wash cloth, place a cool compress on your affected areas by soaking the cloth into cucumber juice.

6. Baking Soda for Sunburn

Baking soda is once again a very soothing remedy for sunburn. Just like apple cider vinegar, it balances the pH level or the acid-alkaline balance of your skin promoting faster healing. You can make a cool compress, or have bath with baking soda in your water. Here are some ways to use this remedy.

Ways to Use Baking Soda for Sunburn

  1. Add a few tablespoons or a half cup of baking soda to the tub filled with your bath water. Now soak for 15-20 minutes. Too much soaking may lead to even drier skin so resist that urge. Also do not use towel to dry off and let it air dry so that baking soda sits there on your skin.
  2. Make a compress. Add a few teaspoons of baking soda in a bowl of water. Soak a wash cloth and apply this to your sunburn affected area.

As an alternative, you may use cornstarch in place of baking soda.

7. Tea for Sunburn

Tea has tannic acid in it which helps in pulling out the heat from your sunburned skin. Not only this, it also balance the pH level of the skin giving you the much needed comfort. Tannic acid is nothing but the commercial form of tannins which in turn are a type of polyphenol or a strong antioxidant. They protect your skin from harmful toxins in the environment and repair damaged skin as well as relieve pain. You can use any tea, black or green tea, for sunburn to get the benefits of tannic acid in them. Catechin compounds in green tea also gives protection against sun’s harmful radiation.


Ways to Use Tea for Sunburn

  • Brew some tea and let it cool down. Soak a clean cloth into the tea and apply to your sunburn affected area.
  • Add some tea to your bathwater and soak.
  • Wet some tea bags and pat your affected skin area with these tea bags.

8. Potatoes for Sunburn

Potato has many properties one of which is its soothing pain relieving property. The starchy components of potatoes give you relief from stinging sensations that sunburn brings to you.

Ways to Use Potato for Sunburn

  1. Cut a potato into slices and rub these slices gently on your sunburned skin.
  2. Cut two potatoes into pieces and grind them to get their paste. Use a little water if needed. Apply this potato paste to the affected area. Let it dry and then wash off.
  3. You may also tie the potato paste in a clean cloth and apply it like a compress to your sunburn.
  4. Grate a potato or grind it to get the paste. Now put the grated or pasted potato on a gauze and place the thing on your sunburned skin. You may use a tape to hold the gauze. Repeat 4-5 times a day.

9. Tomatoes for Sunburn

Eating the healthy tomatoes can prevent your skin from getting damaged by UV rays and applying the same to sunburn can heal it. The red juicy vegetable is rich in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, which seems to grant the much required cooling effect to your burned skin. Not only does tomatoes cool and soothe your burning skin, the vitamins A and C in them help replenish your skin too.

How to Use Tomatoes for Sunburn?

Get this:

  • Tomatoes- 2-3
  • Yogurt- 1 tbsp

Do this:

  • Grind the tomatoes and using a sieve or cloth, extract the juice out of them.
  • Add yogurt to the tomato juice.
  • Mix well and apply on sunburned skin.
  • Leave for 15-20 minutes.
  • Wash off.
  • Repeat 2-3 times a day.

10. Oatmeal for Sunburn

Oats are a very rich source of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory components. It makes oatmeal a perfect remedy for itchy sunburned skin. Here is how to use this food to relieve sunburn discomforts.

Ways to Use Oatmeal for Sunburn

  1. Take 1 cup of oatmeal and grind it in a processor. Add this oatmeal powder to your bathtub and soak in it.
  2. Take ½ cup of uncooked oats and grind it to make its powder. Add ¼ cup milk and 2-3 tablespoons of honey to this oatmeal powder. Mix well and apply the paste to your sunburned skin. Leave for 15-20 minutes before washing off.

11. Papaya-Honey-Oatmeal Remedy for Sunburn

Along with oatmeal, papaya and honey can do wonders for fast recovery of your sunburned skin. Various healing enzymes in papayas give it properties to heal sunburn and irritated skin. Honey, on the other hand, traps moisture into your skin, so needed for your dry sunburned skin. An enzyme present in honey also repairs your damaged skin.

Get this:

  • Papaya (chopped)- 1 cup
  • Oatmeal powder- 2tbsp
  • Honey- 1 tbsp

Do this:

  • If you have uncooked oats, grind them to powder to get 2 tablespoons of it.
  • Mash the papaya to get its paste.
  • Mix papaya mash, oatmeal powder and honey to make a smooth paste.
  • Apply this paste to your sunburn.
  • Leave for half an hour.
  • Wash off with water.

12. Witch Hazel for Sunburn

Derived from the witch hazel herb, its extract is a fine astringent. As witch hazel is rich in tannins and catechins, it can give you soothing relief from inflammation due to sunburn.

How to Use Witch Hazel for Sunburn

Get this:

  • Witch hazel
  • Cotton ball or clean cloth

Do this:

  • Take the required amount of witch hazel into a bowl.
  • Soak the cotton ball or cloth into it.
  • Apply this to your sunburned skin.
  • Repeat several times a day.

13. Homemade Sunburn Cream

We had been talking about so many things that we can use to get relief from sunburn symptoms. Why not use some of such soothing ingredients to make a sunburn cream right at home. This way, you will get saved from mixing the ingredients everytime you need to apply them on your skin.


Get this:

  • Witch hazel- 1 tbsp
  • Aloe vera gel- 1 tsp
  • Baking soda- 3-4 tsp
  • Mint leaves (chopped)- ½ a cup
  • Water- 2 tbsp

Do this:

  • Mix water, witch hazel and aloe vera gel
  • Let it sit for about 2-3 hours.
  • Now add baking soda and mint leaves to this mixture.
  • Use more baking soda if needed to get the right consistency.
  • Mix well and store in a jar.
  • Keep the cream in the refrigerator and use when required.

14. Lavender Essential Oil for Sunburn

Essential oils having anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties can soothe your sunburn effectively. One of such oils is lavender oil. Even if you apply lavender oil directly to your skin without diluting with water, it remains safe to use. As lavender possesses tissue regeneration and healing properties, it can relieve sunburn discomforts very fast.

Ways to Use Lavender Oil for Sunburn

  1. Make a lavender compress- Pour few drops of lavender oil onto a clean damp washcloth. Apply this compress to your sunburn and after a coupe of minutes, rub it gently over the area for about 5 minutes. Don’t use it just after having sunburn. Let the area cool down using water. Only then can you use this remedy.
  2. Mix a few drops of lavender oil with aloe vera gel and apply to your sunburn.
  3. Add few drops of lavender oil in a bowl of water to dilute it and soak a cloth. Place this cloth on your sunburned skin.

15. Homemade Sunburn Spray

When it comes to essential oils, lavender oil is not the only one. There are other oils like Helichrysum oil which can also be used for sunburn. It has strong anti-inflammatory properties which makes it just the right oil for sunburn relief. Mixing both the oils with another soothing ingredient aloe vera can give you a cool spray that you can use for getting relief from your burning and itching sunburned skin.

Get this:

  • Lavender oil- 2-4 drops
  • Helichrysum oil- 1 drop
  • Aloe vera gel- ½ tsp
  • Water- 2 tbsp
  • Dark spray bottle- 1

Do this:

  • Mix water, aloe vera gel, and both the oils.
  • Store in the spray bottle.
  • When you spray on your sunburn,just shake it a little.

16. Lettuce for Sunburn

Lettuce doesn’t only make your salad crunchy and tasty, it can also relieve you of the pain you get from your sunburn. It is one of the medicinal plants that has fine anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. So if your damaged skin is giving you too much pain, open your fridge and get those lettuce leaves to make soothing decoction.

How to Use lettuce for Sunburn?

  • Get some lettuce leaves and wash them properly. Amount will depend upon the area of your sunburned skin.
  • Boil the lettuce leaves in water for about 15 minutes.
  • Strain and allow the water to cool down.
  • Once the lettuce boiled water cools down, soak a wash cloth or cotton ball in it.
  • Apply this to your sunburn and gently wipe the skin.
  • Repeat for multiple times to get relief from pain.

17. Marshmallow for Sunburn

This is one very good herbal remedy for sunburn. The cool, soothing and slippery marshmallow root is a demulcent herb. Its components mucilage, pectin and sucrose makes it capable of forming a protective layer like covering which cures inflammation and pain.

How to Use Marshmallow for Sunburn?

  • Take a handful of marshmallow root. It taking dried marshmallow root, 2 teaspoons is enough.
  • Boil the root in 1-2 cups of water for about 10 minutes.
  • Strain and let it cool down.
  • Soak a gauze in this water and apply to your sunburn.

About Sara

Sara is a Boston-based registered dietitian who works with clients to improve their health by optimizing nutrition. You can find her running, sweating in hot yoga, cooking in the kitchen, dining out, or exploring. Eating Food-Mostly Plants, and improving our relationship with food, is the secret to lifelong health in her eyes.

12 comments

  1. good skin health.thankyuu…i like it…

  2. i like the cold wash cloth one i feel better all ready

  3. Very useful, thanks! The apple cidar vinegar really cools the burn.

  4. which one is better that gets it away with out peeling

  5. Im so happy to read about the ACV treatment. That was a huge relief. It no longer stings.

  6. Yes, it worked a lot for me-even with a barly damp shirt and no cocnut oil.

  7. How long did it take to work? I have a horrible burn and can barely move my arms. It's been about an hour since my husband sprayed this on me and no relief yet

  8. Been using aloe Vera and cool baths but decided to use coconut oil last night before bed. The redness is way lighter and my legs feel so much better.

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