• LaurenWallace

Natural Sunburn Relief, Including 5 Home Remedies

By Annie Price, CHHC

June 12, 2019

Original article and page source found here.

Summertime: trips to the beach, family cookouts, warm nights and … sunburn? Unfortunately, even if you’ve slathered on sunblock religiously, those UV rays can sneak through and leave you with a painful, itchy red burn.

While I believe some sensible sun exposure is essential for your health to prevent vitamin D deficiency, too much of a good thing can lead to damaging sunburn or sun poisoning that could increase your risk of skin cancer and premature wrinkles.

If after a long summer day, you’ve spent too much time outdoors under the hot sun, thankfully there are many natural sunburn remedies that actually work.

How do you make a sunburn go away fast? If you’re wondering how to treat sunburn fast, you don’t have to go further than your kitchen cabinets with natural sunburn treatments like black tea and oatmeal. Are you fan of essential oils and keep them around your home? If the answer is “yes” then that’s great news since essentials oils are another great form of natural sunburn treatment.

What Is a Sunburn?

So what is a sunburn, anyway? A standard sunburn definition: inflammation of the skin caused by overexposure to ultraviolet radiation especially from sunlight. How long does a sunburn last? Typically, it lasts several days.

A sunburn occurs when the sun or another ultraviolet light source hits your unexposed body and exceeds what your skin can handle. This prompts your skin to release melanin, its protective pigment.

Here are a few interesting facts:

  • A fair-skinned person can get a sunburn in less than 15 during intense midday sun.

  • It could take hours for a dark-skinned person to get burned in that same type of sun exposure.

  • Interestingly, the sunburn process starts setting in before it’s even visible to the naked eye; the first effects may not show up for several hours.

  • Blisters related to sunburn could take hours to days to develop.

  • It could take a full 24 hours for a sunburn’s full effects to surface.


If you spend too much time in the sun without clothing or sunscreen to protect your skin, it can cause your skin to burn or tan. What causes some people to burn while others are more likely to get a suntan? It depends upon the level of a pigment called melanin in the skin. People with fairer skin have less melanin while people with darker skin have more.

When the rays of the sun cause damage to the skin, the skin manufacturers more melanin in an effort to protect it from further damage. This causes skin tone to change color. For lighter skinned individuals, the skin is more likely to turn red.

Do sunburns turn into a tan? Sometimes a sunburn will naturally turn into a tan if peeling can be avoided. However, you should never allow a sunburn for the sake of hopefully getting a tan eventually because you are damaging your skin!


Sunburn symptoms include:

  • Skin pinkness or redness

  • Skin that feels warm or hot to the touch

  • Pain and tenderness

  • Sunburn itch

  • Swelling

  • Small fluid-filled blisters, which may break

  • Headache, fever, nausea and fatigue (if you have severe sunburn)

A sunburn rash or “sun rash” (hives and blisters on top of a sunburn), sunburn chills or fever, and nausea are all signs of sun poisoning.


For your doctor or dermatologist to diagnosis a sun burn he or she will likely examine your body, ask about your symptoms and history of sun exposure.

Conventional Treatment

What is the best treatment for sunburn? According to the American Academy of Dermatology, many dermatologists will recommend conventional sunburn treatment that looks something like the following:

  • Take cool baths or showers often to decrease pain. When drying off, leave a small amount of water on the skin and then apply a moisturizer to help trap water in your skin and increase skin hydration. (This is a great natural sunburn remedy too!)

  • Aloe vera and soy are helpful ingredients to look for in a conventional sunburn cream.

  • If you’re dealing with something worse than a mild sunburn or you’re experiencing discomfort, over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream is another conventional sunburn treatment.

  • Using conventional pain relievers such as aspirin or ibuprofen to decrease sunburn swelling, redness and discomfort.

  • Drink extra water to prevent dehydration. (Also, makes the list of natural sunburn treatments for sure!)

  • If your skin blisters, this means that you have a second degree sunburn. Leave the blisters alone (in other words, do not pop or pick at them!) because they are helping your skin heal and guarding against infection.

How long does it take for a sunburn to heal? According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), “Unlike a thermal burn, sunburn is not immediately apparent. Symptoms usually start about 4 hours after sun exposure, worsen in 24–36 hours, and resolve in 3–5 days.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, treating sunburn with even the best sunburn relief does not heal your skin, but it can help to improve pain, swelling and discomfort.

Natural Remedies

How do you make a sunburn go away fast? If your sunburn is not severe, using home remedies for sunburn promptly and consistently can really help to improve a burn fast.

1. Pantry and Fridge Staples (Used Topically)

If you’re trying to figure out how to heal sunburn naturally, you may be surprised to find out that many items in your kitchen can help when used topically! Here are some common food items that can help relieve sunburns: