Are you burnt? Don’t panic – sunburn relief hacks will help ease some of your pain and support your skin’s recovery.
Sunburns are no fun! They often can be quite painful and itchy. In this list, we’ll explore some of the top ways you can soothe sunburnt skin. Better yet, these remedies are easy to find in-store and some can be done with supplies commonly found around the house.
1. Apply a Cold Water Compress. A cold water compress is another easy way to get relief from the burning, stinging pain of sunburn. Make a wet compress by soaking a clean cloth in cool water, wring out the water, and wrap the compress around painful areas for 10 minutes at a time.
2. Use Ice Packs. Similarly, ice packs are a classic and reliable time-tested method for soothing aching, burning skin and providing relief. Just make sure to not apply the ice packs directly to your skin. Instead, wrap the ice pack in a towel before applying.
3. Always Moisturize Burnt Skin. After you’ve taken care of basic sunburn symptoms, focus on making sure that your skin stays hydrated and soft by regularly using moisturizing lotions. To lock in moisture, pat your skin gently after a shower and apply moisturizer all over while your skin is still damp. You’ll want to continue to do this all throughout the peeling process to keep your skin from drying out and help the new skin stay healthy.
4. Aloe gel. Another favorite way to treat a sunburn is by applying aloe vera gel topically to the burned skin. It also limits the urge to scratch! Aloe contains an ingredient called aloin, which is a natural anti-inflammatory and pain reliever. Studies have shown aloe to be effective in treating both first and second-degree burns. You can pick up aloe gel at most drugstores or grocery stores.
5. Try Some Teabags. Specifically green tea bags! Green tea contains an antioxidant that helps heal skin faster while also preventing your skin from peeling. Just wet a green tea bag and let it steep in a bowl for about five minutes. Then, dab the damp bag over your sunburned areas to soothe the pain.
6. Topical Antibiotics. If your burn looks like it might have the potential to get infected (such as when blisters pop open), clean the area and apply a topical antibiotic cream and cover with a gentle bandage that won’t stick to the skin.
7. Take Some Ibuprofen. Ibuprofen is a powerful pain reliever that will ease discomfort as well as help with inflammation, making it a good over-the-counter medicine for healing sunburns.
8. Take Cold Baths. Cold baths are a sure way to alleviate sunburn pain and itch. Just make sure to use only mild, gentle soap – or skip the soap altogether to avoid irritating your extra-sensitive and injured skin.
9. Add Apple Cider Vinegar to Your Bath. You can add apple cider vinegar to a bath to help ease pain and inflammation.
10. Add Baking Soda to Your Bath. Baking soda can also be added to a bath to ease sunburn itching and inflammation.
11. Give Yourself an Oatmeal Bath. Pour about a cup of oatmeal into a cool bath for a soothing, relaxing soak. Some also recommend adding milk to your oatmeal bath for additional comfort.
12. Make a baking soda paste. Baking soda is a great way to soothe burned skin, and making a baking soda paste by combining baking soda with water is an easy at-home solution. A cornstarch and water paste works great too!
13. Apply coconut oil. Coconut oil is a great way to soothe sunburned red, itchy skin. Just make sure to use organic, cold-pressed, coconut oil and only apply it topically to the sunburn after any blistering has ended and your skin has begun to repair itself. Applying it earlier could end up trapping heat into your skin, which is not what you want to do to treat a burn!
14. Skip Cigarettes. Smoking (or using other forms of tobacco) can result in increased inflammation and restrict your body’s ability to heal.
15. Sleep In. If you can manage to sleep in, do so. Try not to scratch your skin when you are asleep either!
16. Keep Your Skin Covered. Try to keep your burn covered as much as possible and don’t expose your burned skin to any additional sun. Wear loose clothing that won’t stick to the skin.
17. Drink Plenty of Water. Drinking water is essential for keeping your body hydrated and healthy as it works to recover from the burn.
18. Don’t Pop Blisters. If blisters form, resist the urge to pup them. Leave the blisters alone and they will heal themselves as your skin heals. If you pop the blisters, it may cause scarring or infection!
19. Don’t Peel Your Skin. Skin tends to peel off on its own after a few days. If you force your skin to peel, it may cause excessive scarring. Make sure to moisturize your skin as it peels to keep it hydrated and healthy.
20. Don’t Use “-Caine” Products. Do not treat sunburn with “-caine” products (such as benzocaine), as these have the potential to irritate your skin.
How Long Does it Take for a Sun Burn to Heal?
The more your skin burns, the longer it will take to heal. Mild sunburns usually go away in 3-5 days, while more severe ones could take a couple of weeks to completely heal.
This is because your body’s ability to heal will vary depending on how much sun you have been exposed to, along with other factors like your age and genetics. Certain conditions like stress, obesity, diabetes, and poor nutrition can slow down the healing process.
Can You Heal a Sun Burn Overnight?
In order to let your sunburn heal, you need to be patient. It’s unlikely that you will be able to get rid of your sunburn overnight as most burns take 3 days or longer to heal completely, even when treated well with the methods outlined above.
Just do your best to support your body’s natural healing process, and keep in mind that individual bodies all heal at different rates.
When to Seek Professional Help for a Sun Burn
May sunburns can heal from the comfort of your own home through some of the strategies listed in this article.
But if your sunburn is severe, you might need to see a doctor. It’s smart to consider seeing a doctor if you develop a fever, muscle cramps, blisters, nausea, chills, fever, extensive blistering, general weakness, or if you see patches of skin turning purple.
You’ll also want to reach out to your doctor if you develop a sunburn while you’re on prescription medications, as some drugs increase sensitivity to the sun and can result in more extreme reactions.
Prevent Sun Burns From Happening Next Time!
Sick of getting burned? Make sure it doesn’t happen again by exercising some preventive measures.
- Alway wear sunscreen. Make it a priority to cover up any exposed skin by liberally applying an appropriate amount of SPF 30 or above sunscreen, and don’t forget to reapply regularily!
- Avoid harshest times of the day. Try to avoid peak sun hours between 10 AM – 4 PM.
- Wear a sun hat. Wear a sun hat whenever you’re exposed to the sun and choose hats with a wide brim.
- Look for shade. Try to spend as much time in shaded areas as possible. Look for natural sun protection provided by awnings and trees. Also consider carrying a UV beach umbrella!
- Opt for sun protective clothing. When you’ll be out in the sun, wear sun protective clothing that features a high UPF rating and adequatly covers as much of your arms and legs and possible.
We hope this list of easy sunburn treatments will help ease the pain of scorched skin! If you want to share any other tips on how to heal sunburns quickly, let us know below in the comments!