Last Updated on November 10, 2023
Learn how to get rid of sunburn fast with these 5 natural, safe remedies! Even the most diligent of us are sunburned on occasion, so while an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, these home remedies for sunburn are a lifesaver for those times the sun gets the best of you.
Many people know about aloe for sunburn, but fewer people know about oatmeal. I’m sharing my 5 go-to natural remedies for sunburn to soothe your skin and get you back to normal life as soon as possible. These soothing natural sunburn remedies cool the skin, soothe the burning sensation, and even reduce inflammation and calm redness. So read on to learn the secrets to how to get rid of sunburn fast!
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home remedies for sunburn
Growing up, my mom was exacting with the sunscreen. I’m pretty sure she carried around a timer to ensure we were applying every 1-2 hours. She was also verryyy adamant about covering up: rash guards – always wore them, hats – we LOVE hats, staying in the shade – you betcha. We took a holistic approach, and I have to say that’s what I recommend too.
I’m a big fan of breezy long sleeves, daily sunscreen application, and always keeping sunscreen in my handbag. The most worn item in my closet, according to my closet tracking app, is my sun hat! I’d like to think my mom would be proud.
But, even with all of my hard work, I still sometimes get an unexpected sunburn. It typically happens on my chest, and I really don’t want a red patch or weird tan lines, so I always try to swoop in with some quick sunburn remedies that you might find helpful for minor burns.
According to the National Cancer Institute, about a third of American adults experience sunburn each year, and more than 33,000 of these burns require emergency room visits. In this post, we’ll talk about a few cures to help alleviate some pain and redness for minor burns.
Please keep in mind that I’m not a qualified health expert — I’m just sharing a few things that have worked for me in the past. If you’re having any kind of severe pain, it’s ALWAYS best to talk to your doctor.
And don’t forget, the best way to cure a sunburn is to avoid it in the first place. Check out my blog post on eco-friendly sunscreens. Remember, the key is reapplying the sunscreen every 1 to 2 hours. This will help prevent sunburn in the future.
how to get rid of sunburn fast
While there aren’t any overnight cures for sunburn, there are several remedies for sunburn you can utilize in milder cases. Here are the best home remedies for sunburn relief.
If you want to heal a sunburn fast, you should make sure you’re getting plenty of rest, drinking lots of water, avoiding the sun, and moisturizing your skin. Likely, your skin after a sunburn will become very dry and flaky due to prolonged exposure.
I’ve only ever received a first-degree sunburn (thankfully), where the skin turns red or pink. Sometimes my skin will start flaking off, but that’s been about the worst of it.
Still, it’s important to note what kind of sunburn you get. If it’s only a first-degree burn, it should heal relatively quickly with proper care. A first-degree burn typically lasts for about a week and only does damage to your skin’s outer layer.
But if you’re suffering from a second-degree or an even more severe burn, which does damage to the inner layer of the skin, you may need to visit a doctor. Especially if this burn is accompanied by dizziness, nausea or vomiting, swelling, blisters, muscle cramps, fever, or chills.
Sunburn on a baby should be taken even more seriously than an adult, because burns can put children at higher risk of skin cancer later in life. It’s advised to seek medical treatment right away, especially if symptoms are severe. Also, babies under 6 months of age should not be exposed to direct sunlight because their skin is underdeveloped.
can you get rid of a sunburn overnight?
While it’s unlikely you’ll get rid of a sunburn overnight, there are ways you can soothe it and reduce redness as soon as possible.
- Take a shower to cool down the skin
- Apply lotion to help soothe your skin
- Apply anti-itch creams and moisturizer
- If necessary, take an anti-inflammatory pill (only if you’re in severe pain)
If the pain is bad and only worsening, you should get checked out by a doctor immediately. A doctor will be able to better help and prescribe you something to do damage control quickly.
what is the fastest home remedy for sunburn?
One of the fastest home remedies for sunburn would be applying aloe vera or moisturizing lotion to the skin. Aloe for sunburn is especially good at soothing inflamed skin and calming it down (more on that later).
I speak from personal experience too: One time I got burnt so bad on my shoulders that the only thing that soothed it was aloe vera gel. I had to reapply it several times throughout the day, but it really did the trick to calm that burning sensation.
do sunburns turn into tans?
After healing from sunburn, the affected area might be tanner than usual. Just keep in mind that tanning is just another form of skin damage caused by ultraviolet radiation. Try to avoid tanning booths and prolonged sun exposure when possible.
If you’d like a tan, make sure you’re applying sunscreen regularly. No, it doesn’t stop you from tanning, it just helps protect your skin from burning. Avoid using tanning oils, as this may increase the chances of sun damage.
On a daily basis, you should be using products that contain SPF, especially on your face. This is even true for cloudy days or the winter months.
natural remedies for sunburn
If you’re looking for sunburn home remedies, there are several to choose from. I’ve listed the top five remedies that can be used to treat mild burns and speed up healing.
Keep in mind, none of this is better than prevention! Always wear sunscreen, avoid prolonged sun exposure between 10AM-4PM, and cover up (make good use of sunhats especially).
aloe for sunburn
Aloe vera is one of the most popular, widely used natural remedies for sunburn. To keep things low waste, try growing the plant in a pot or getting a leaf from the store. Aloe vera is antibacterial and accelerates wound healing.
You can cut the leaf open, use a spoon to extract the liquid, mash it up, and apply the aloe vera gel directly onto your sunburn. Make sure you compost the remaining aloe vera leaf.
You can also make sunburn relief cubes with aloe vera. Just fill an empty ice cube tray with aloe vera liquid. Then place in the freezer until solid.
Apply aloe vera ice cubes topically to sunburned skin as needed. The ice factor will also help cool your skin down! Just make sure to use a cloth napkin to hold and apply the aloe vera ice cubes — they’re cold, and things might get messy as they melt.
Also, if you can’t get your hands on an aloe vera plant, many pharmacies and stores sell packaged aloe vera gel.
If you plan on using coconut oil to heal your sunburn, only apply it a few days after getting burnt. If you use it outside in the sun, this will make your sunburn a lot worse, so only use it as a post-sun moisturizer.
You should only use this remedy once your skin is cool and isn’t constantly burning. This may take anywhere from a few hours to a day, so it’s not the quickest remedy on this list. You can easily find coconut oil in a glass jar at most grocery stores. Try looking for certified organic coconut oil if possible.
First, apply a cool compress or damp towel to the affected area for 15 minutes. Taking a cold shower may help as well. Once your skin is cooled down, apply coconut oil to the sunburned area.
You’ll want to make sure the coconut oil is melted before rubbing it into your skin. Putting it in the microwave for a few seconds should accomplish this, but be careful it’s not hot before applying it. You can use your hands or a cloth napkin for application.
The fats found in coconut oil can help soften burned skin and soothe it. Coconut oil is also great for moisturizing your skin, making it good for replenishing your skin’s moisture since sunburned skin tends to be dry and itchy.
Oatmeal can be used in several different ways for sunburn relief. You can try taking an oatmeal bath to help soothe your skin and reduce irritation.
Just mix a few tablespoons of baking soda and about a cup of oats with cool bath water — not hot! Make sure to compost the oats when you’re finished so nothing is wasted.
If you’re worried about making a mess, add the oats to a sachet, a tied off sock, or cheesecloth and let it steep in the bath water. Or, you can grind up the oats first to make them like a powder, then add them to your tub for easier cleanup.
You can also create an oatmeal paste with ground up oats, milk, and honey to apply directly to the area. Rub it in and let it sit for a few minutes before washing it off with cool water.
Oats have anti-inflammatory properties, so they’re effective at soothing dry, irritated skin. This is especially handy if your sunburn is itchy or flaking! You can also look for moisturizer that contain oats in the ingredients as well.
The tannic acid in black and green tea can help pull heat from a sunburn. Catechins (aka antioxidant compounds), also found in these teas, can even repair skin damage.
If you’re burned around a particularly sensitive area, like your eyes, this could be especially helpful. Simply soak two tea bags in cool water, then place the tea bags on top of closed eyes to decrease swelling and relieve pain.
The tea water can be poured onto a clean cloth and applied to the sunburn area. Keep the cloth in place for several minutes and re-soak and re-apply as needed.
Chamomile tea also has anti-inflammatory properties that can alleviate sunburn. Brew some to drink (which will help give your body the nutrients it needs to ease pain), then save some to cool.
The cool chamomile can be soaked up with a washcloth and applied directly to the problem area. It’s worth noting the more tea bags or loose tea you use, the stronger the brew will be, so adjust according to your preferences.
Taking a bath or a shower in cool water is a great way to soothe your skin, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. And frequently too.
You’ll want to skip using any soap on the sunburned area, as this can further dry out or irritate the skin. No bubble baths either.
If you must use soap, be sure to use something natural, mild, and non-exfoliating. And make sure to rinse it all off, as leftover soap residue can be drying, only making your sunburn worse.
You’ll want to apply some moisturizer after your bath or shower too. Aloe vera is a great idea, but any over the counter moisturizer should work — even better if it does contain aloe vera.
do home remedies for sunburn undo sun damage?
Nope! Unfortunately, once the damage is done, it’s done. Because sun damage occurs at a cellular level, there’s no way to really ‘undo’ it. These home remedies will soothe the pain and even reduce redness, but they can’t undo the cellular damage. That’s why prevention needs to be your #1 focus!
how can you tell the difference between a 1st degree and 2nd degree burn?
A second degree burn will typically blister. The burn can also appear to be darker in tone and have a shiny, moist appearance. It’s also possible for one larger patch of skin to exhibit both first degree symptoms and patches of second degree burning. Always speak to a doctor if you have a concern about the level of burn you received, or if it’s more severe than a pink hue to your skin.
what will make a sunburn worse?
It may go without saying, but more heat will make a sunburn worse. Hot showers, spending time outside (especially if you’re not liberal with sun protection), and exercise can all inflame the skin further and add to your discomfort.
When healing from a sunburn, try to stay cool and out of the sun so you don’t add to the burn or inflame it further.
What do you think of these natural sunburn remedies? Have you tried any of them before? Let me know in the comments!