This year in the UK we have finally had a summer, so being very fair of skin, I thought I would refresh my memory and also check out some new ways to relieve sunburn. We really should be more careful of looking after our skin in the sun, and seriously, instead of looking for ways to relieve sunburn, we should be looking at ways to prevent it. But, if you’re like me – I burn even when I’m plastered in factor 60 – you can’t always help it. So, if you’re at home and find yourself looking at bright red bits of body and feeling a bit sore (or a lot sore!), you might find you have plenty of things in your cupboards that provide ways to relieve sunburn and you won’t have to dash to the store for some proprietary lotions and potions.
I thought that the astringent quality of acetic acid wouldn’t be good, but surprisingly, vinegar can be used in a couple of ways to relieve sunburn. Put vinegar in a spray bottle and spritz all over the affected area. Or, you can soak small towels in vinegar and press lightly onto the sunburn and leave for a good while. Another way is to add 2-3 cups of vinegar to your bath water; also making sure the water is not too hot. Do not use malt vinegar, but either white vinegar or apple cider vinegar will work.
2. Egg Whites
The enzymes in raw egg whites work to act as natural relief for sunburn. Just place an egg white (or 2, depending on how much skin is burnt) in a bowl and apply to the skin with a cotton wool ball or, preferably, an unused soft paint brush. As the egg white dries, miraculously the pain dissipates.
I have been finding out a lot about oatmeal lately and just how marvelous it is for all sorts of things. This simple grain presents two ways to relieve sunburn. One is to soak for 30 minutes in a bath of cool water with 2 cups of oatmeal added. And the second is to mix oatmeal with raw egg whites and apply to the burned skin. When the paste has dried, rinse off in a cool shower or bath.
We all like a nice cup of tea, but who would have thought it is also one of the great natural sunburn relievers because the tannic acid is very soothing. Again, there are a couple of ways to use tea to ease the discomfort of sunburn. The first is to apply tea directly. Make a large quantity of very strong tea and then refrigerate. When it is very chilled, you can either spray it on to the affected skin, or soak some towels in it and apply it to the burned area. Or, you can draw yourself a cool bath and add 4-6 tea bags to the water.
To me, this seemed the most logical of the natural remedies for sunburn. You can use milk soaked towels, or you can soak in a bath of cool water to which you have added a gallon of milk. And while on the subject of dairy, plain yoghurt can also be applied to sunburned skin – nice and cool, straight from the fridge.
Cornstarch (cornflour in the UK) is another of those simple yet magical products that seems to have a thousand uses. And when it comes to ways to relieve sunburned skin, cornstarch comes up trumps again. There’s the bath solution where all you need to do is soak for 30 mins in cool water with a cup of corn starch dissolved in it. Or, you could also try half a cup of corn starch and half a cup of baking soda. Another way is to make a paste of cornstarch and water, apply to skin and allow to dry. Or, you can dissolve some cornstarch in some cool water in a spray bottle to spritz on the sunburned area. Alternatively, bathe or shower in cool water, pat very gently to towel dry and then lightly dust with cornstarch like you would with talcum powder.
If you’ve always got tomatoes on hand, you’ll never be lost for natural remedies for sunburn. The simplest ways are to either rub a cut tomato on the burnt area or to soak in a bath of cool water and 2 cups of tomato juice. For an additional soothing effect, you can mix tomatoes with buttermilk: Mash 1 part fresh tomato to one part buttermilk and apply, or mix quarter cup of tomato juice or paste with one and half cups of buttermilk and use that.
Another salad vegetable that provides effective sunburn relief, cucumbers slices can be applied directly to the skin. Or they can be grated/mashed, mixed with milk and smoothed onto the skin.
The honey bee’s precious product is another staple that you should have in your cupboard because it is useful for so many things, as well as being delicious. It’s another of nature’s sunburn remedies – as long as you don’t mind getting a little sticky. You can simply smooth honey over your burnt bits neat, or you can mix it 80/20 with lemon or lime juice first. Another option is to mix honey and milk 50/50, stirring well before application.
Did you know you had so many natural ways to relieve sunburn in your cupboards? Do you have a sunburned skin care routine of your own or do you simply buy an after-sun lotion and apply that?