17 Soothing Home Remedies For Mild Sunburn Relief



Ouch! You did it; overstayed your visit with the sun. Now you’re as red as a fire truck and as hot as the flames. There’s nothing like relaxing under the summer sun, book in hand and waves lapping against the shore. It’s easy to waste the hours baking away but if you forget to use the appropriate sun protection, you’ll spend the rest of your vacation bright red. Luckily, there are simple home remedies for mild to moderate sunburn that will relieve pain, itching and redness in no time.

Sunlight is made up of many different types of radiation, including infrared radiation, visible light and ultraviolet (UV) radiation. It’s this last form of radiation that causes a sunburn. It can disrupt important molecules and wreak havoc on your body’s immune system. When UV radiation hits your skin, pigments called melanin absorb it to shield your DNA from harm.



Melanin is what gives your skin its color but when skin is exposed to UV, production of melanin speeds up. This is why your skin tans when you’re out in the sun for a while. Unfortunately, some UV rays can sneak past your melanin and damage your DNA. This turns your melanin against you by encouraging the production of free radicals.

Once your cells are damaged, they produce warning signals, which catalyzes your body to produce an inflammatory response. Many different types of blood cells are sent to the area of burn. This is the reason your skin becomes red and painful to the touch.

Sometimes the sun gets the best of us, but if you’re dealing with a mild sunburn and want to get some sweet relief, there are 17 soothing home remedies for relief. Let’s have a look on how they work and how to use them…

17 Soothing Home Remedies For Mild Sunburn Relief

These home remedies for mild sunburn will help bring relief from sunburn itch and speed healing from your head to your toes. They are safe home remedies for sunburn relief. You can choose any ingredients as per availability and start treating as soon as possible. Below is a list of home remedies.

1. Cool Water

Water is the first and foremost remedy for instant relief from your red skin due to sunburn. Cool water helps you reduce your skin’s swelling by pulling the heat away from your burned skin. This also helps relieves the associated pain. However, never use cold or chilled water. Because too cold water constricts the blood vessels resulting in reduced blood flow which may prove to be counter-productive. Here are some ways to use water for your mild sunburn relief.

How to Use

  • Take a wash-cloth and soak it in cool water. Do not use an ice pack, cold water, or iced water to soak the cloth.
  • Wring out the excess and apply it directly on the sunburn areas.
  • Apply the wet wash-cloth directly to your skin having the sunburn and let it sit there for few minutes.
  • Again wet the cloth and reapply for as many times as you feel like.
  • Do this for 10-15 minutes at the most.
  • Repeat this several times a day.

Or

Sometimes your sunburn is at places where you cannot apply a cool compress such as your back. For such a condition;

  • Soak in cool bathwater for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Do not use soap and don’t be in the bathtub for too long as it will cause your skin go dry and lead to more itching.
  • You may also take shower if you don’t prefer soaking.

2. Aloe Vera For Mild Sunburn

2. Aloe Vera For Mild Sunburn

Aloe vera has been used for thousands of years to treat a variety of conditions such as eczema, psoriasis. This is because, aloe vera contains anti-inflammatory and astringent properties as well as minerals. Aloe vera herb consists of 99% of water and the rest of the 1% is composed of about 150 minerals and trace elements such as vitamins, sodiums, magnesium, copper, selenium, potassium, amino acids etc. This rich source of water and minerals heals your sunburn. They also help provide quick relief from the pain and itching caused by sunburn.

How to Use

  • Cut a fresh aloe vera leaf and extract the gel from inside.
  • Apply the gel on the skin where the mild sunburn occurs.
  • Leave it to dry completely and rinse off with cool water.
  • Repeat the application several times in a day to get relief.

3. Cucumber

Cucumber contains antioxidant and analgesic properties which are helpful for treating mild sunburn. As it contains 96% of water, it soothes the skin and repairs the damage effectively. It’s also a rich source of beneficial nutrients which are mostly alkaline in nature. Examples of such nutrients includes; vitamins A and C, folic acid, manganese, potassium, silica, sulfur among others.

How to Use

  • Blend a medium sized cucumber into a smooth paste.
  • Apply the cucumber paste on the sunburned areas.
  • Leave it on for 20 – 25 minutes and rinse off with cool water.
  • Repeat the application few times in a day.
  • For a better consistency and effectiveness, add aloe vera gel or cornstarch.

Or

  • Blend a cucumber and extract juice from it.
  • Place it in refrigerator for 15 minutes.
  • Now, soak a washcloth in it for 2 minutes.
  • Spread it on the sunburned area and leave it on for as long as possible.
  • Repeat the process once or twice in a day to get quick results.

You can also chop a cucumber into slices and place them on the sunburn area for 30 – 45 minutes and remove them.

4. Apple Cider Vinegar For Mild Sunburn

4. Apple Cider Vinegar For Mild Sunburn

This is one of the most effective and quick remedies for sunburn. When apple cider vinegar (ACV) is applied topically for sunburn, it shrinks or constrict body tissues. This reduces inflammation caused due to sunburn. ACV also helps in balancing the pH levels of your burned skin which means it will balance the acidity v/s alkalinity of your skin and thus promote healing. You can add a cup of apple cider vinegar to your bathwater and soak in it to get relief. Apart from that, you can follow the process mentioned below.

How to Use

  • Mix equal quantities of ACV and water.
  • Pour the solution into a spray bottle.
  • Spray the solution on the sunburnt areas.
  • Leave it to dry completely.
  • Repeat the application several times in a day until you get relief from sunburn.

Or

  • Soak a clean washcloth in ACV.
  • Apply this cloth to your sunburned skin. You may feel instant relief from that stinging sensation.
  • Let the cloth be there for a couple of minutes.
  • As your skin gets dry after applying vinegar, moisturize it.
  • You may use coconut oil for great moisturizing effect.
  • You can also add a cup of apple cider vinegar to the tub of your bath water. Soak or take bath with this water.

Note: Do not directly apply ACV to your sunburn area because it is sensitive due to the burns. This can cause unbearable burning sensation. Also do not use, if you have open wounds and cuts.

5. Baking Soda

Baking soda is one of the soothing remedies which can provide relief from sunburn and also prevent sunburn peeling. It’s alkaline in nature therefore balances the pH levels. This help to speed up the healing process and reduce the tanning.

How to Use

  • Take enough amounts of water for soaking wash cloth.
  • Add few teaspoons of baking soda into it.
  • Mix well until the baking soda completely dissolves.
  • Soak a washcloth into it for few minutes.
  • Wring out the excess and place it on the sunburn area.
  • Leave it to dry completely and wash gently with cool water.
  • Repeat the process few times in a week.

Or

  • Add 1/2 tablespoon of baking soda to your bathwater.
  • Soak in it for 15 minutes and bath with cool water.

Note: You can replace baking soda with cornstarch which also provides the same results.

6. Oatmeal For Mild Sunburn

6. Oatmeal For Mild Sunburn

Oatmeal can actually be an effective home remedy for mild sunburn relief. Oats contain anti-oxidant and also anti-inflammatory properties. It helps provides effective relief from itching and shrinking the blisters. But be sure to use traditional oatmeal instead of instant oats.

How to Use

  • Blend 1/2 cup of uncooked oats into a fine powder.
  • Combine ground oats, 1/4 cup of milk and 2 – 4 tablespoons of honey.
  • Mix well and apply the paste on the affected areas.
  • Let it sit for 20 – 25 minutes and rinse off with water.
  • Repeat the process regularly to get rid of sunburn.

Or

  • Cook oats as directed but add a bit more water than called for. This will ensure a runnier consistency that makes it easier to apply to the skin.
  • Allow the oatmeal to cool completely, then carefully apply the “paste” to the skin.
  • Don’t rub it into the skin because oatmeal can be grainy and it may have an exfoliating effect—not a good idea for skin that’s sun-damaged and sensitive to touch.
  • Let it sit for 20 – 25 minutes and rinse off with water.
  • Repeat the process regularly to get rid of sunburn.

Or

  • Add a cup of ground oatmeal to your bathwater.
  • Soak for 15 minutes and bath normally with cool water and pat dry.

7. Potatoes

The starch inside can help take the sting out of a burn. This provides relief from the pain, irritation, itching, inflammation and also discoloration caused by sunburn.

How to Use

  • Peel and chop a potato in small chunks.
  • Blend them into a smooth paste. If needed, add some cool water.
  • Apply the paste on the affected areas and secure with a gauze if possible.
  • Leave it on to dry completely and rinse off with water.
  • Repeat the process once in a day.

Alternatively, you can also rub a potato slice on your mild sunburn for instant relief.

Note: you can apply cold compress on the application for more effective relief.

8. Teas For Mild Sunburn

8. Teas For Mild Sunburn

Full of tannic acid, these herbs are usually used to soothe sore throats, but they can also ease mild sunburn pain, too. It pulls out the heat from the affected area and also balances the pH levels. It provides relief from irritation and swelling. Though all types of tea are beneficial, green tea and black tea are more effective compared to them.

How to Use

  • Brew some fresh green/black or any herbal tea.
  • Let it cool down completely until normal temperature.
  • Dip a washcloth in it, wring out the excess and place it on the affected areas. Or else you can dab the solution using a cotton ball.
  • Once the application dries, rinse off with cool water.
  • Repeat the application several times in a day.
  • For extra benefits: add few mint leaves while brewing the tea.

Or



  • Place wet tea bags on the sunburned areas to get relief from the pain, redness, swelling and itching quickly.
  • You can also add 1 – 2 cups of freshly brewed tea to your bathwater and soak in it for 15 – 20 minutes. Bath normally with cool water and pat dry.

9. Witch Hazel

Witch hazel is a rich source of tannins and catechins which soothe the inflammation, reduce the swelling, repair the damaged skin and clears off the bacterial infections.

How to Use

  • Take enough amounts of witch hazel in a bowl.
  • Soak a washcloth in it and wring out the excess.
  • Spread the washcloth on the affected areas.
  • Leave it on to dry completely and wipe the area with a cloth dipped in cool water.
  • Repeat the application few times in a day until the sunburn reduces.

Alternative: Using a cotton ball, directly apply witch hazel on the affected areas. Leave it to dry completely and wipe off with damp cloth.

10. Yogurt For Mild Sunburn

10. Yogurt For Mild Sunburn

Yogurt is rich in probiotics and enzymes. This dairy trick will help you soothe your burn and provide sweet relief from the heat which is more than welcome. It also helps to prevent pigmentation, swelling and skin peeling.

How to Use

  • Take enough amounts of yogurt in a bowl.
  • Spread a thick layer of the yogurt on the sunburned areas.
  • Let it sit for about 10 – 15 minutes or until the pain subsides.
  • Rinse off the application gently with cool or tepid water.
  • Repeat the process 2 times in a day to get complete relief.

Note: Make sure to use only unflavored and unsweetened yogurt for this process.

11. Papaya, Honey and Oatmeal

This combination mask provides faster recovery from the pain, swelling, peeling and redness caused by sunburn. Papaya contains many enzymes which have healing capacities. While honey traps the moisture and heals the dry skin. The saponins present in oatmeal soothe the pain and swelling.

How to Use

  • Peel and mash 1/2 papaya.
  • Combine 1 cup papaya pulp, 2 – 3 tablespoons of oatmeal powder and 1 tablespoon of honey.
  • Mix well and apply the paste on the sunburn areas.
  • Leave it on for 30 – 45 minutes.
  • Wash off the application with water.
  • Repeat the application once in day until the sunburn clears completely.

12. Lavender Essential Oil

12. Lavender Essential Oil For Mild Sunburn

Lavender essential oil has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that help to soothe the sunburn effectively. This oil possesses the tissue regeneration and has healing properties that relieve you from the sunburn discomforts very soon.

How to Use

  • Into bowl of water, add few drops of lavender essential oil.
  • Mix well and soak a clean washcloth in it.
  • Wring out the excess and spread it on the sunburn.
  • Leave it to dry completely.
  • Repeat the process daily to reduce the sunburn.

Or

  • Take some freshly extracted aloe vera gel and add few drops of lavender oil into it.
  • Mix well and apply it on the affected areas.
  • Leave it on for few minutes or until it completely dries.
  • You can either rinse off or leave it on.
  • Follow this process regularly to complete relief from sunburn.

13. Coconut Oil For Mild Sunburn

13. Coconut Oil For Mild Sunburn

Coconut oil contains lauric fatty acid that helps to promote the healing of the sunburn skin. It also prevents the discomfort caused from peeling and excessive dryness of the skin. Moreover, it replaces all the lost oils of your skin due to sunburn, as fast as possible.

How to Use

  • Take enough amounts of coconut oil in a bowl.
  • Add few drops of lavender essential oil into it.
  • Stir well and apply the mixture on the sunburn areas.
  • Leave the application to dry completely.
  • Repeat the application regularly for effective results.

You can also massage enough amounts of coconut oil on the sunburned skin for few minutes and let it dry completely. It also works as the process above.

Note:

  • Make sure to use cold compressed coconut oil for this purpose.
  • You can just wipe off the excess oil with a tissue after massaging. But avoid washing off the application with water.
  • Avoid applying coconut oil as soon as you get a sunburn as it can trap the heat inside and worsen the problem. You can try this process after a day.

14. Honey

14. Honey For Mild Sunburn

Honey is a natural antibiotic that helps to trap the moisture in the skin and treats the sunburn effectively. It has an enzyme that repairs the damaged skin. It has anti-inflammatory property that decreases the swelling and inflammation associated with the sunburn.

How to Use

  • Take sufficient amounts of honey and slather it on the sunburn areas.
  • Allow it to get dry naturally for few minutes.
  • Wash it with water and pat dry.
  • Continue applying this regularly for 2 – 3 times daily for at least a week.

For added benefits: Consume 1 tablespoon of honey followed by a glass of lukewarm water. Do this 3 times in a day to boost up your immune system and get quick relief from the sunburn.

15. Milk For Mild Sunburn

15. Milk For Mild Sunburn

Milk is one of the safe, quick and cost effective remedy to treat sunburn. Because, it forms a layer on the skin to soothe the discomfort and heal the sunburn. The coolness of it reduce the heat and prevents further damage.

How to Use

  • Take sufficient amounts of cool milk and soak a washcloth in it.
  • Let it soak for few minutes and wring out the excess.
  • Place the washcloth on the sunburn areas.
  • Leave it on until it completely dries.
  • Re-soak the washcloth and place it again on the affected area. Make sure the milk is still cold, if it is not then refrigerate it.
  • Rinse the sunburned areas with cool water and pat dry.
  • Continue doing this process daily until you get complete relief.

Note: You can also use almond or coconut milk for this process.

16. Tomatoes

Eating the healthy tomatoes can prevent your skin from getting damaged by UV rays and applying the same to sunburn can heal it. The red juicy vegetable is rich in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, which seems to grant the much required cooling effect to your burned skin. Not only do tomatoes cool and soothe your burning skin, the vitamins A and C in them help replenish your skin too.

How to Use

  • Blend 2 – 4 medium sized tomatoes.
  • Stain the pulp to extract the juice.
  • Combine tomato juice and 1 tablespoons of yogurt.
  • Mix well and apply it on the affected areas.
  • Gently massage for a minute and leave it on for 15 – 25 minutes.
  • Rinse off with water and pat dry.
  • Repeat the process 2 – 3 times in a day until you heal the sunburn.

17. Lettuce

Lettuce doesn’t only make your salad crunchy and tasty but, it can also relieve you of the pain you get from your sunburn. It is one of the medicinal plants that have fine anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. This helps relieve the sunburn and the symptoms caused by it. This lettuce soothing decoction provides immediate relief from the pain.

How to Use

  • Take enough amounts of lettuce leaves depending on the sunburn area.
  • Into a saucepan, add lettuce leaves and water into it.
  • Let them boil for 15 – 20 minutes and turn off the heat.
  • Strain the decoction and allow it to cool down.
  • Once the solution cools down, apply it on the affected areas using a cotton ball.
  • Leave it on to dry completely.
  • Repeat the process multiple times in a week to get relief from sunburn pain.

How Long Does It Take Sunburn To Go Away?

It depends upon its severity on the skin. Mild sunburns (having redness and pain on the affected skin) will last from 3 – 5 days. Moderate sunburns (skin become red, swollen, painful and hot to touch) will take about a week to heal completely. Severe sunburns (having painful blisters and red skin – need to consult your doctor) will take up to 2 – 3 weeks to recover fully.

All these depends on certain factors such as fair or light skin, tanning beds, going outside between 10 am to 3 pm, living near the equator places, high altitudes, intake of certain drugs causing susceptible to burns, etc.

When to See a Doctor

The following symptoms may indicate your sunburn is severe enough to warrant a trip to the doctor’s office:

  • Blisters are forming across a large portion of the body.
  • You begin developing a fever, headache, nausea, or chills.
  • Your sunburn isn’t responding to treatment after a few days.
  • Your sunburn is showing signs of infection, including yellow pus, swelling, and extreme tenderness.

If you’re experiencing any of the above and find your sunburn is making it uncomfortable or painful to go about your day, it’s worth giving your physician a call. Regardless of your burn history, it’s also important to regularly inspect your skin for signs of skin cancer.

Tips and Precautions for Sunburn

  • Have a cool shower bath while suffering from sunburn, it helps to reduce the trapped heat and speed-up the healing process.
  • Usage of over the counter creams like 1% hydrocortisone cream will relieve you from sunburn pain, itch and swelling. Also OTC pain relievers such as ibuprofen, naproxen will help to relieve from pain and inflammation caused by sunburn.
  • Prevention is always better than cure. So always apply sunscreen whenever you go outside and also wear protective clothing to avoid direct exposure to the sun.
  • Protect yourself from the prime hours of the day i.e. in between 11 am and 4 pm in which the sun is most powerful and damaging. So try to reduce your exposure to it or else wear hat or scarf to prevent its UV harm on your skin.
  • Apply sunscreen with more SPF (SPF 15 to 30) 30 minutes before you step out in the sun. Make sure to re-apply it once in 2 – 3 hours to prevent the sunburn (especially if you’re spending time in beach).
  • Sunburn will make the skin dehydrated so drink plenty of water to keep you hydrated.
  • Avoid applying petroleum jelly which may exacerbate the burned skin by blocking the pores. Also stop applying anything if the burn is blistering.
  • Avoid direct sunlight on the skin until your sunburn heals completely or else it can lead to skin cancer.
  • Always wear tight woven clothes which cover the whole body including your arms and legs. Also wearing dark colored fabrics will give more protection against the harmful UV rays.

Try any remedy continuously for few days to get relief from mild sunburn. Share your experience of with us in the comment section below.



About felclinic 593 Articles
Felix Ntifo is a Registered General Nurse who has so much passion to improve health care delivery. He founded FelClinic with the hope of making health information accessible to everyone who may not come in contact with him personally. "At felclinic.com we are very passionate about health and well-being of everyone. Our team is made up of professional doctors, nurses, midwives and lab technicians."

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