You Got a Sunburn, Now What?


Summer has officially started, and with it comes more and more outdoor activities. Whether that means sitting at a baseball tournament all weekend or weeding your garden for an entire afternoon, the sun will be at its peak—and getting too much of it can completely wipe out the health benefits of exposing yourself to its rays.

The technical term for too much sun exposure is erythema solare, but you and I know it as sunburn. Depending upon the degree of the burn, your skin is simply a bit more pink, or it’s blistering and you’re in severe pain. Either way, it means you’ve gone too far, and you need some relief.

If this past weekend’s activities left you sunburned, you can look to several remedies you probably already have in your home. Even if you don’t, they’re worth stocking up on.

aloe vera plant
aloe vera plant

The gel from the inside of an aloe vera plant leaf has long been touted for its long list of skin care benefits. Well, soothing a sunburn is pretty high on that list. This gel relieves the pain and inflammation that burning your skin causes and helps repair those damaged skin cells. Plus, a potted aloe vera plant is lovely to look at on a daily basis. ☺

Self-healthers know that apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a common home remedy for all sorts of ailments. Don’t forget to reach for the ACV next time you need to ease a sunburn as well. Simply dilute it with water (2 parts water to 1 part ACV) and apply a soaked cloth to your skin to soothe the affected areas. You can even add ACV to a tepid bath and soak your whole body, if needed.

Also try applying sliced or grated raw potatoes to the burned area to pull heat out and offer some relief from pain. The starches of this tuber do the healing work after too much sun exposure. I must admit, this one was a surprise for me. While I’m not interested in getting a sunburn intentionally, I’m curious to give this a try next time it happens.

Last but not least, lavender essential oil can offer sunburn relief and speed up your skin’s recovery. Fill a spray bottle with water and add a few drops to spritz your skin as needed. As an added bonus, it will make the room you’re in smell delightful!

For many reasons, sun exposure is good and necessary for optimal health. The Healing Sun by Richard Hobday, PhD, is an excellent resource for your self-healther library that will help you learn more about the healing properties of the sun and how to responsibly expose yourself to it. In fact, the author dedicates an entire chapter to safe sunbathing. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy. You’ll refer to it over and over again.

When sunburn strikes you or someone you love, what’s your go-to relief remedy?

Photo at top from iStock/Rostislav_Sedlacek

Paula Widish

Paula Widish, author of Trophia: Simple Steps to Everyday Self-Health, is a freelance writer and self-healther. She loves nothing more than sharing tidbits of information she discovers with others. (Actually, she loves her family more than that—and probably bacon too.) Paula has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Public Relations and is a Certified Professional Life Coach through International Coach Academy.

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