This is a large collection of home remedies I’ve compiled to help with sunburn relief, there are over 50 soothing treatments to review so there should be something in this list that you have on hand to help.
There are no quick & easy cures when it comes to healing damaged skin and the time it takes your body to recover is relative to how bad the burn is. For an average low to medium grade sunburn, a couple days of regular, soothing treatment should see pain dissipate to a tolerable level (meaning not painful unless touched with some pressure).
What To Watch For: At the bottom of this post you’ll find some information about determining if and when medical attention is needed as well as blister care and signs of infection (yes, this can happen).
Master List of Remedies
Vinegar: Can use white household vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- Spritz vinegar all over or soak small towels in vinegar
- Bathe in a cool bath with 2 – 3 cups of vinegar
- Rose Petal Vinegar  (skip the cloves in the recipe when using for this)
- Lavender Vinegar 
Tea: The tannic acid from tea is soothing for burns
- Steep a large pot of very strong tea using 4 – 6 tea bags. Refrigerate until it’s cold then soak small towels in the tea and apply gently to skin. Can also spray the cold tea directly on body. The tea could stain the towels, you may not want to use your best.
- Save used tea bags and apply (make sure to have bags at room temperature first).
- Bathe in a cool bath with several tea bags in the water.
- Soak small towels in milk then carefully apply the cool compresses to burned area.
- Soak in a bath with cool water and a gallon of milk.
- Plain Yogurt.
- Aloe Vera Gel is very soothing, either purchased or taken fresh from an aloe leaf.
- Lotions that include Aloe Vera.
- Fill a bath with cool water and add 2 cups oatmeal. Soak in bath for about 30 minutes.
- Mix oatmeal with raw egg whites and carefully slather over red and pink areas.
- Fill bath with cool water and add 1 – 2 cups baking soda, dissolve. Soak in tub for 30 minutes.
- Fill a spray bottle with cool water and dissolve 1/4 cup baking soda. Spritz on skin.
Essential Oils: Caution when using on children. Keep out of eyes and mouth.
- Fill a spray bottle with cool water and add a few drops of choice, or add 10 to 12 drops essential oils to a bath full of cool water and soak. Lavender Oil or Chamomile Oil.
- Make a paste of cornstarch and water, apply to skin and allow to dry.
- Fill a spray bottle with cool water and add some cornstarch, mix to dissolve thoroughly before spritzing body.
- Fill a bath with cool water and add 1 cup cornstarch, dissolve. Soak in tub for 30 minutes.
- Soak in tub or shower with cool water. Pat dry. Lightly dust all over skin with cornstarch.
- 1/2 cup cornstarch + 1/2 cup baking soda added to bath of cool water, dissolve. Soak for 30 minutes.
- Slices can be added directly to body or mashed first.
- Grate cucumbers and mix with milk then apply.
- Grate potatoes and apply–include as much of the potato juice as possible.
- Raw egg whites.
- Mix 2 egg whites, 1 TBS honey, 1 TBS witch hazel.
- Spritz directly on skin.
- Smooth honey over burned area or slather honey on a strip of gauze first.
- Mix honey with lime or lemon juice (80/20).
- Mix honey 50/50 with milk, stir well.
- 1/4 cup tomato juice or tomato paste mixed with 1 1/2 cups buttermilk.
- Sliced or mashed tomatoes.
- Mash tomatoes and mix with an equal amount of buttermilk.
- Add 2 cups tomato juice to bath of cool water, soak.
More Pantry Fixins:
- Smear mustard over damaged skin (cool or room temperature is best).
- Soak cloth in pickle juice or spritz pickle juice directly on burn.
- Pureed strawberries.
For Comfort/Ease Pain
Water & Ice:
- Spritz chilled water.
- Soak in a cool bath or take a cool shower.
- Wrap ice packs, ice cubes or bags of frozen vegetables in a towel and then apply.
- Drink lots of water to keep hydrated and help the healing process.
- Mix 1/4 cup lemon or lime juice in a spray bottle filled with cool water. Shake and spritz body as needed.
- Cocoa Butter
- Shaving Cream
- Vitamin E Cream or Oil (open capsules & apply oil)
- Diaper Rash Ointment
More Bath Soaks:
- 2 cups oatmeal, 2 cups milk, 1/4 cup honey
- Epsom salt bath
- 1 cup Epsom salts, 1 cup Baking soda
Cooling Spray Infusions – Sunburn Teas
Lettuce: Quarter the head of lettuce and boil (moderate) in a pot of water for 10 minutes. Turn off heat, cover pot and allow to steep. Strain water and chill. Spritz lettuce water directly on area. Can also chill cooked leaves and apply directly.
Cabbage: Same procedure as Lettuce.
Mint: Handful of fresh mint and proceed as above.
Plantain: Handful of fresh mint and proceed as above.
Strawberry Leaves: Save strawberry leaves and trimmings until you have a generous handful. Boil in 2 cups of water and proceed as above.
- Maalox (Milk of Magnesia)
- Gold Bond Medicated Lotion
- Lanacane Anti-Bacterial First Aid Spray Anesthetic
- Preparation H
- Calamine Lotion
Blisters: If blisters are present, don’t open or burst them. This will help avoid infection as well as speed the healing process, a blister is the body’s way of protecting and healing the damaged skin. Keep the blisters uncovered if possible.
The vinegar & honey remedies as well as antibacterial products are preferable when blisters are involved since they are antibacterial, helps prevent infection.
Some Signs of Infection: Swelling, painful, fever, swollen glands
For Pain: Aspirin or ibuprofen or acetaminophen as directed.
When To See A Doctor:
- Sunburn is severe
- Purple patches, discolored blotches, or a rash appears
- Eyelids are burned or sore eyes
- Nauseous or vomiting
- Faint or dizzy
- Excessive pain
- Large amount of blisters
During this time of healing, keep yourself well hydrated by drinking lots of water and don’t be shy about taking ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help dull the pain if required (only as directed on the box). This will be a welcome relief if the pain is preventing you from sleep or resting well.
Keep yourself rested and cool and if you must be out in the sun, keep skin covered with light, loose clothing until you are fully healed (cotton garments and scarves are ideal since they are lightweight and the natural fibers allow your body to breathe without trapping in sweat and heat). Avoid rough fibers/weaves that will irritate the skin.
These are simply suggestions and a collection of home remedies and treatments I’ve organized from my notes and not professional medical advice. Please seek a doctor’s opinion when unsure or to confirm appropriate care.