Sunburned? For Quick, Soothing Relief, Try These Home Remedies for Sunburn

Mother putting sunblock on daughter's face at the beach.

Ouch! Spending time in the sun sounded like a great idea. But once inside, a look in the mirror shows you may have overdone it. Skin experts say that once you get a sunburn, the damage cannot be reversed. But there are ways to soothe the sunburn and help you feel better. Consider these simple home remedies for sunburn.

Enjoy a soothing bath

Take a bath in cool water without soap to relieve aches from the sunburn and soothe the skin. If you need to wash with soap, use a mild product designed for sensitive skin.

Another idea is to take an oatmeal bath. Grind up plain oats in a food processor and add the mixture to cool bath water. Soak for 10 to 15 minutes.

Make sure to rinse completely to remove all soap or oatmeal from your skin. Then gently pat your skin with a soft, clean towel. Home remedies for sunburn can make the difference in feeling better quickly and healing faster.

Absorb the heat

Sunburn can make you feel hot all over.

Cool down your skin by wrapping an ice pack or package of frozen vegetables in a damp cloth and holding it against the skin. Or, soak a washcloth in cold water, wring it out and place it over the sunburned area.

If your face or eyes are sunburned, soak two tea bags in cool water. Hold the bags against the skin to relieve pain and reduce swelling.

Reduce pain and irritation

After a sunburn, normal activities, like getting dressed or sleeping can be difficult. Here are a few ideas to help you cope.

Improve sleep: Sprinkle talcum powder on the sheets to reduce rubbing. Use an air mattress which doesn’t absorb heat from your body. Elevate legs above the heart to reduce swelling.

Ease pain: Take aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

Reduce skin irritation: Wear lightweight, cotton fabrics to reduce rubbing against sunburned skin.

Control the itch

A sunburn can dry out the skin and make it feel itchy. Ease the pain by adding a rash-relief cream to a cold washcloth and holding it against the skin. Or, apply a spray containing 1% hydrocortisone to the skin several times a day.

Relieve dry skin

A sunburn can dry out the skin and increase your thirst. Drink several glasses of water throughout the day. Another idea is to eat fruit containing water, such as watermelon, cucumber, strawberries or cantaloupe.

It’s also important to apply extra moisturizer to lock in skin moisture. Try chilling the moisturizer in the refrigerator for several hours for cool relief from sunburn.

Also, use aloe vera to heal sunburned skin. Several days after the sunburn, apply cold-pressed, organic coconut oil to aid the healing process. These home remedies for sunburn can help you get through the first stages of healing so you can relax and recuperate.

Cheerful couple holding slices of watermelon.

Before heading outdoors, don’t forget your sunscreen and sunglasses. Follow these tips to protect your skin and make sure your sunglasses shield your eyes from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.

Skin Cancer Foundation