6 Natural Ways to Soothe a Sunburn Using Items You Can Find in Your Kitchen
Mary Lupo, a dermatologist in New Orleans, recommends plain, nonfat yogurt as a soothing topical sunburn remedy for the face. “Put yogurt on your face like it’s a mask, and leave it on like that until it’s not cool anymore,” she says.
For a quick home remedy for sunburn, soak a compress in chilled milk and apply to skin. “Milk, as long as it comes from a cow and not from a soybean or almond, can be put into a bowl with ice cubes and used against the skin,” says Jessica Krant, a dermatologist who practices in New York City. Dr. Lupo adds that the lactic acid in milk can help exfoliation of damaged skin.
“The image of cucumber slices on the eyes is not entirely a gimmick,” says Dr. Krant. “Slice cold cucumber onto your shoulders or infuse cold water with cucumber to soak into soft washcloths, and change when they get warm.”
But for a large sunburn? Cucumbers probably aren’t the most practical sunburn remedy. “You’d need an awful lot of cucumbers,” says Dr. Lupo.
Oatmeal especially helps with itchy skin, says D’Anne Kleinsmith, a dermatologist in Michigan. Beta-glucans, a molecule found in oatmeal, have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, adds Dr. Lupo. She recommends taking a bath using a product like Aveeno colloidal oatmeal treatment ($7; walmart.com) mixed with olive oil and cool water. This combination will hydrate your skin and soothe itchiness at the same time. If you don’t have time for a trip to the store, make a paste of oatmeal and milk and apply to the sunburn.
Thought to have anti-inflammatory qualities, chamomile tea has long been used as a home remedy for rosacea. For sunburns, brew the tea, chill it thoroughly, and soak a compress in it. Then apply to skin until the compress is no longer cool. “The tea acts as a classic old-fashioned poultice with known anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that helps the skin heal and feel better faster,” says Dr. Krant.
Don’t discount the obvious: Ice packs and cool showers can help soothe sunburns dramatically. “The main thing is to get something cool on the skin to absorb the heat,” says Kleinsmith. “The cooler the better.” And drink lots of water. When you have blistered or damaged skin, you become dehydrated more easily, says Ali Hendi, a dermatologist and skin cancer specialist.