10 Natural Remedies for Sunburn

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It’s the first day back to normality for us after the half term. I came home to over 300 emails which I have been slowly wading my way through this morning. Fun!

We spent the half term on the boat, dodging weird weather including the most amazing storm I have every seen in my life. I must admit it was slightly terrifying on the boat and I’m sure I would have enjoyed it a lot more had we all of been safely tucked up at home on dry land. I did manage to capture some of it on video though. Check it out on our Water Gypsy Facebook page.

10 natural remedies for sunburn In between the weird weather we did have some amazing weather too. One particular day we spent lounging on the deck in the sunshine, which was lovely but I got burnt. Quite badly actually and I was cross with myself because I’m always so careful not to. I think it was deceiving because of the wind how hot it actually was.

Anyway, we came home and I was still really red and sore. Before we went away I bought suntan lotion and an after sun (just in case). Normally I would opt for as ‘natural’ as I could possibly find but on this occasion, I was completely seduced by the smell of a certain brand (I won’t mention which one as I’m about to tell you how bad it actually is).

Whilst away I did use this shop bought aftersun and about half an hour after using it not only was my skin still bright red and sore but I was also covered in some sort of gold dusting! This got me thinking about what was actually in the product that I had just smothered all over my skin.

How To Find Out What is Actually in your Beauty Products 

When we got home I decided to do a bit of investigation and came across this fantastic website called the Cosmetic Database. It’s really easy to use, you simply input the product you wish to know more about and they bring up all the information that you need to know.

They rate the product out of 10, 10 being ‘High Concern’ and 1 being ‘Low Concern’. They then break down and rate each ingredient and the effect it can have on your body and health. It even gives you a cancer concern rating.

This particular aftersun that I used rated as an overall 6, which isn’t great but could be worse. The two main culprits at the higher end of the score were…

Fragrance which can cause: Allergies/immunotoxicity, Miscellaneous, Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), Ecotoxicology

Propylparaben which can cause: Allergies/immunotoxicity, Endocrine disruption, Developmental/reproductive toxicity, Ecotoxicology. 

What's in your beauty products

Time To Find a Natural Alternative

I decided to research natural sunburn remedies as I really don’t like the idea of smothering my skin in anything that may cause me harm. I thought I would share my findings with you today.

10 Natural Remedies for Sunburn


Ice is great for cooling down your skin when you first notice that you are burnt. Wrap some frozen peas or an ice pack in a tea towel and place it onto the skin.

Aloe Vera

This is the method that I opted for as we have a large aloe vera plant in our kitchen. I simply cut off one of the leaves and sliced it in half. I then rubbed the gel straight onto my skin. It has a lovely cooling effect.

If you don’t have an aloe vera plant at home you can buy the gel in most *health stores.


Milk is said to help reduce the heat and ease discomfort. Apparently, it creates a layer of protein which protects the skin and helps it heal.


Apparently, the Egyptians used honey as an after sun. A study by Kathi Kemper, M.D., author of *The Holistic Paediatrician suggests that honey may work better than some antibiotic creams. Personally, I can’t quite get over the stickiness that would ensue.

Honey for sunburn

Vitamin E

*Vitamin E oil is also supposed to be good for sunburn. Simply run the oil onto the affected areas. You can also eat the oil to heal yourself from the inside out. You can buy the oil in capsule form.

A study on the Reduction of sunburn damage to skin by topical application of vitamin E found that the hairless mice that were exposed to UVB, that were subsequently treated with vitamin E oil, had less sun damage than those that weren’t.

Black Tea

Black tea is more oxidised than green, white and oolong teas. According to research, the polyphenols in these tea leaves can help your skin resist UV radiation. The tea leaves can also be used to speed up the healing of sunburn. The most effective way seems to be bathing in the tea.

There is a great tutorial called The Single Most Effective Way to Get Rid of Sunburn that you may find interesting.

Witch Hazel

Witch hazel contains tannins which can help reduce swelling, kill bacterias and repair damaged skin.


The best way to use oatmeal for sunburn is to have an oatmeal bath. Oatmeal contains polysaccharides which coat and heal your skin. I used to use an oatmeal based cream for our son’s eczema and it was the only thing that worked.

Don’t make your bath too hot as the whole idea is to cool the skin.

Baking Soda

With baking soda, you need to make a paste with some water and then apply it to the burnt areas. It’s best to use cool, not cold water. Leave the paste on until you feel the heat and pain have reduced than wash off the paste completely.

Natural Plain Yoghurt 

Plain yoghurt contains probiotics that can help to restore your skin’s natural barrier. Apply cold yoghurt onto your skin and leave for 10-15 minutes. This will also have a lovely cooler effect on the skin. Make sure to wash it all of thoroughly.

So what about you? Have you tried any of the above ideas or do you know of any other natural remedies for sunburn? If so I’d love to hear about them. 

Gina Caro

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8 thoughts on “10 Natural Remedies for Sunburn

  1. Ahh! I could have done with reading this a few days ago…I got caught out and got burnt too…I blame the wind. I ended up half freezing some wet wipes and put them on my arms….Not very natural but it helped.
    I will try and remember these for next time it happens x
    Kim Carberry recently posted…A trip to Amble.My Profile

  2. Frightening reading. The first part, at least. It’s annoying when you get caught out. I have a large collection of aloe vera plants, which are used for cooking burns. Hadn’t thought to use it for sun burn. Obvious when I think about it. I did read that lavender essential oil is good for cooking burns too. Not tried it. Did you work out what the gold dust was?

    1. Hi Cheryl, I didn’t know that lavender oil is good for cooking burns. I’ll have to remember that one.
      I’m not sure what the gold stuff was, I think it’s meant to give you an ‘after sun glow’ but in reality it just made me look like my daughter had attacked me with her gold craft glitter. Not a good look!

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