This is a large collection of home remedies I’ve compiled to care for sunburns, there are over 50 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 no discomfort unless touched with some pressure).
What To Watch For: At the bottom of this article you’ll find some information about determining if and when professional medical attention is needed as well as blister care and signs of infection (yes, this can happen).
Master List of Home Remedies
Notes Before Getting Started:
- All bathing water, showers or bottle liquids should be cool (but not cold) temperature.
- Tubs and spray bottles should be filled with water before adding recommended ingredient(s).
- Soak in tubs as directed for approximately 30 minutes.
Vinegar: Can use a regular white household variety or apple cider vinegar.
- Spritz all over area or saturate small towels in vinegar.
- Toss 2 – 3 cupfuls into tub before getting in.
- Rose Petal Splash (skip the cloves listed in recipe when using for this purpose)
- Lavender Infusion
Tea: The tannic acid from tea is naturally soothing for burns.
- Steep a large pot of very strong tea using 4 – 6 bags. Refrigerate until it’s cold then saturate small towels with the brew and apply gently to redness. Can also spritz the cold tea directly on body. The brew could stain the towels, you may not want to use your best.
- Save used bags and apply (make sure to have them at room temperature first).
- Toss in several bags to tub.
- Saturate small towels with milk then carefully administer the cool compresses to reddened area.
- Pour in a gallon of milk to tub.
- Plain Yogurt.
- Aloe Vera Gel is very soothing, either purchased or taken fresh from an aloe leaf.
- Lotions that include Aloe Vera.
- Toss 2 C. oatmeal into bathtub.
- Mix oatmeal with raw egg whites and carefully slather over red and pink areas.
- Add 1 – 2 cups baking soda to a full tub, dissolve.
- Fill a spray bottle and dissolve in it 1/4 C. baking soda.
Essential Oils: Caution when using on children. Keep out of eyes and mouth.
- Fill a spray bottle and add a few drops of choice, or 10 to 12 drops essential oils to a bath and soak. Lavender Oil or Chamomile Oil.
- Make a paste of cornstarch and water, administer to redness and allow to dry.
- Fill a spray bottle and a spoonful of cornstarch, shake to dissolve thoroughly before using.
- 1 C. cornstarch to bath, dissolve.
- After bathing or showering, pat dry. Lightly dust all around skin with cornstarch.
- 1/2 C. cornstarch + 1/2 C. baking soda added to bath, dissolve before soaking.
- Slices can be placed directly on body or mashed first.
- Grate cucumbers and mix with milk then administer.
- Grate potatoes and apply–include as much of the potato juice as possible.
- Raw egg whites.
- Combine 2 egg whites, 1 TBS honey, 1 TBS witch hazel.
- Dab onto skin.
- Gently smear over burned area or slather some on a strip of gauze first.
- Mix honey with lime or lemon juice (80/20).
- Combine honey 50/50 with milk, stir well.
- 1/4 C. tomato juice or tomato paste combined with 1 1/2 C. buttermilk.
- Sliced or mashed tomatoes.
- Mash tomatoes and mix with an equal amount of buttermilk.
- Add 2 C. tomato juice to bath.
More Pantry Aids:
- Smear mustard across damaged skin (cool or room temperature is best).
- Saturate cloth in pickle juice or dab pickle juice over redness.
- Pureed strawberries.
Water & Ice:
- Spritz chilled water.
- Soak in a bath or shower.
- Wrap ice packs, ice cubes or bags of frozen vegetables in a towel and then apply.
- Drink lots of fluids to keep hydrated and help the healing process.
- Mix 1/4 C. lemon or lime juice in a filled spray bottle. Shake before use.
- Cocoa Butter
- Shaving Cream
- Vitamin E Cream or Oil (open capsules & administer oil)
- Diaper Rash Ointment
- 2 C. oatmeal, 2 C. milk, 1/4 C. honey
- Epsom salt
- 1 C. Epsom salts, 1 C. Baking soda
Gentle Infusions – Sunburn Teas
Lettuce: Quarter the head of lettuce and boil (moderate) in a pot for 10 minutes. Turn off heat, cover and allow to steep. Strain and chill. Spritz lettuce infusion all across affected 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 these 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 them 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 plenty of fluids and don’t be shy about taking ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help dull the pain if required (only as instructed on the box). This will be a welcome relief if the discomfort is preventing you from sleep or resting well.
Keep yourself rested and cool and if you must be out in the sun, keep 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.