As hard as I try to make my family use sunscreen, sometimes they still get a sunburn and frankly, so do I. There are many skin care products that help these burns heal faster and deal with the pain, but over the years I have learned that simple, natural and home-made treatments work just as well. So the next time your skin gets a little red from the sun, try one of the treatments on this list!
1. Aloe Vera gel
The cool and gooey aloe vera gel is packed full of moisture, vitamins and antioxidants, perfect for healing damaged skin. It is one of the oldest and most popular natural sunburn remedies, and from my experience one of the best too. Get some pure aloe vera gel from your local shop, 100% - 90% for best results. Rub it on the skin if you get a sunburn or if you just want to cool your skin and take care of it it at the same time.
2. Cucumber paste
We all know the myth about cucumbers being good for you skin and there is quite a lot of truth behind it. Take two cucumbers and place them in the fridge until they are nice and cold. Blend them with a bit of cornstarch for a thicker paste that will be easy to apply and ready to use in just a few moments. This is a perfect solution if you are caught without any other means or relieving the burn.
3. Coconut oil
This tropical oil is a wonderful body care product in many ways, from a natural hair conditioner to a yummy nutritional superstar. It is also one of the best sunburn remedies around, it is fast working, easy to use and leaves a great smell.
4. Chilled milk
Milk is rich in protein and when applied (using a simple compress) it will instantly cool and form a protective layer on sunburned skin. To make the compress, use a piece of gauze or soft flannel and soak it in chilled milk. Gently squeeze out the excess liquid and then press down gently over the burn. Leave the compress on the skin for at least ten minutes for the pain to go away.
Another summer skin-saver you probably already have in your kitchen and may have never known about its benefits. To use cornstarch on sunburns make a paste by mixing it with chilled water. Apply the paste to the affected area and leave until the skin has cooled down. It is a bit more messy the other natural remedies listed here, so you might want to use it in the bath.
6. Baking soda
Used as a paste with some water, and just like cornstarch, baking soda is found in almost every house. It's also easy to find if you are traveling and need a fix on the go. Some people say it is a bit less effective than cornstarch, but from my experience you are not too picky when your back is on fire.
7. Black tea
Black tea has a lot of tannin and antioxidants which make it a great sunburn remedy. Soak a few teabags in a bucket of cool water and wait for a few minutes until the tannin has released (the water will turn a bit brown). You can use either the teabag itself or a compress made with the brown water. I have heard that for really bad and large sunburns people even hae a cool bath with teabags, but I have never tried it myself.
Oats are rich in polysaccharides that can moisturize, coat and heal burned and damaged skin. Cook some porridge in the usual way but add a little extra water for a smoother consistency. Wait for the oatmeal to cool and then smear it over your skin. Do not rub the paste around as it will exfoliate and damage fragile skin, just let it sit there and do its job.
9. Vitamin E
This might not be a completely "natural" cure but at least with a capsule of vitamin E you know exactly what you are getting and with no added chemicals. Following an initial cooling treatment, breaking a capsule of vitamin E and rubbing it on your skin will help reduce visible signs of sun damage like sun spots and wrinkles.
10. Kukui Nut oil
This exotic oil is not something you see in every kitchen, but it has been used by Hawaiian natives as a sunburn remedy for over 1,500 years. Since we all know that Hawaii is a place full of sunshine, you can consider the locals experts when it comes to dealing with the sun.
And last but not least, remember this: The best thing for your body while you are in the sun is water. It is recommended to drink around 2 liters of water a day, and even more if you are in the sun, and in danger of sunburns and sunstrokes. So remember to drink, use sunscreen, mind your time in the sun and have a great summer!