11 Best Sunburn Remedies to Reduce Redness and Provide Relief

Person Treating Sunburn With Home Remedy

Sunburns can be painful and uncomfortable. They leave your skin red, inflamed, and craving immediate relief. While prevention is always the best approach, sometimes we spend more time in the sun than intended or miss a spot when applying the best sunscreen. If you find yourself with a sunburn, don’t worry! These sunburn remedies can reduce redness, alleviate pain, and provide relief.

1. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is widely known for its soothing and healing properties. The gel-like substance cools the skin, reduces inflammation, and alleviates pain. Apply pure aloe vera gel from a plant or bottle directly to the affected areas for instant relief.

Sunburn Remedies Aloe Vera
Image source: Pexels

You can also use aloe vera-based lotions but double-check the percentage of aloe they contain. For maximum effectiveness, you want to use a lotion that is 70 percent aloe or higher.

2. Cold Showers

If you just came in from the sun, you can try taking a cool shower as a form of relief. Hot water can exacerbate the burn, but cool or lukewarm water can feel pleasant. While in the shower, wash any affected areas with a mild, fragrance-free soap. Then, pay your skin dry. Avoid harsh scrubbing with your loofa or rubbing yourself with the towel to dry off, as these motions can irritate your sunburn more. You can also wash your face in the sink in a similar manner.

3. Cold Compress

Applying a cold compress to sunburned areas can alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. You can wrap a few ice cubes in a thin cloth or use a cold pack and gently press it against the affected skin. Keep the compress on for 10-15 minutes, and repeat as necessary throughout the day. Do not apply ice directly to the skin because this can cause cold burns.

4. Colloidal Oatmeal

Image source: Shutterstock

Colloidal oatmeal is another excellent option for relieving sunburn symptoms. It moisturizes and soothes your skin while reducing inflammation. You can find colloidal oatmeal in creams or lotions designed explicitly for sunburn relief. Follow the instructions on the product for proper usage and enjoy its calming effects.

5. Dairy

Dairy products like yogurt and milk contain lactic acid, which can relieve sunburned skin. Apply cold milk or yogurt to the affected areas using a soft cloth or cotton ball. The coolness and lactic acid will help reduce redness and promote healing. Remember to rinse off the dairy product after a few minutes and pat your skin dry.

6. Hydration

Wear Bandanas Hydration
Image source: Pexels

Proper hydration is crucial when you have a sunburn. Sunburns can cause dehydration, so you must replenish the lost fluids by drinking plenty of water. Hydration will support your skin’s natural healing process and prevent further damage. Opt for water, herbal tea, or natural fruit juices to keep your body hydrated and aid recovery.

7. Ibuprofen or Aspirin

Over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin or ibuprofen can help alleviate sunburn discomfort. Follow the recommended dosage instructions on the package and consult a healthcare professional if you have any concerns or medical conditions.

8. Hydrocortisone

Hydrocortisone creams can help reduce the inflammation, itching, and redness caused by sunburn. Apply a thin layer of hydrocortisone cream to the affected areas, following the product’s instructions. This method isn’t recommended if you have sunburns across large portions of your body.

9. Vinegar

Vinegar, particularly apple cider vinegar, is a natural remedy for sunburns. The acetic acid in vinegar helps balance the skin’s pH and provides a cooling effect.

Dilute one part vinegar in two parts water, then apply it to the affected areas using a soft cloth or cotton ball. However, if you have open blisters or broken skin, avoid using vinegar because this will hurt.

10. Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it an excellent natural remedy for sunburns. Brew a pot of chamomile tea, let it cool, and then soak a clean cloth or cotton pad in the tea. Gently dab the affected areas with the chamomile-infused cloth or apply the soaked cotton pads directly to the sunburned skin.

Sunburn Remedies Chamomile Tea
Image source: Pexels

11. Baking Soda

Baking soda is a readily available ingredient that can help relieve sunburn discomfort. Baking soda can help balance the skin’s pH, reduce itching, and provide a soothing effect.

To use this method, mix baking soda with cool water to create a paste-like consistency. Apply the paste to the sunburned areas and leave it on for 10-15 minutes before rinsing off.

Stay Safe In The Sun

Sunburns are never fun, but any of the above remedies can relieve the redness, pain, and inflammation. If you’re going to the beach in your new swimsuit or spending time in a friend’s backyard at a summer social gathering, apply sunscreen and avoid staying in direct sunlight for long durations so you can avoid a nasty burn.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take for a sunburn to heal?

Depending on its severity, a sunburn typically takes about a week to heal. Mild sunburns may heal within a few days, while more severe cases can take up to two weeks. It’s essential to give your skin enough time to recover and avoid further sun exposure during this period.

Should I pop blisters caused by a sunburn?

No, it’s best to avoid popping blisters caused by sunburn. Blisters are a protective barrier for the underlying damaged skin; popping them can increase the risk of infection. If blisters develop, keep the area clean and covered with a sterile, non-stick dressing until they naturally break or flatten.

Can I use sunscreen on a sunburned skin?

While it’s always advisable to apply sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun, it’s best to avoid using sunscreen on sunburned skin. Sunscreen may contain chemicals that can further irritate the already sensitive skin. Allow sunburn to heal before reapplying sunscreen, and seek shade or cover up with clothing when going outside.

Image credit: Shutterstock

Megan Glosson

Megan Glosson is a passionate writer based in Nashville, TN. She enjoys writing about topics related to health, wellness, and everyday life, especially when the topic has a personal connection to her own life. Megan is currently published on over a dozen websites, including YourTango, Feel & Thrive, Moms.com, and The Mighty. Megan also serves as a content editor for Unwritten, a digital publication focused on millennial lifestyles.