Painful sunburn? Look in your kitchen for quick relief

Woman with sunburn

Source: Pond5

My best advice? Don’t get a sunburn!

If you didn’t follow my best advice and are now suffering from a mild to moderate sunburn, relief could be as close as your kitchen. Try one of these home remedies.

VINEGAR

  • Mix one part vinegar to one part water
    • Apply directly to the skin with a soft cloth.
    • Pour into a spray bottle and spritz it on.
  • Soak in a cool bath with 2 to 3 cups of vinegar added.

Some people swear by cider vinegar, but others say either white or cider vinegar will take away the sting.

OATMEAL

  • Add finely ground oatmeal to tepid bath water and soak. You can buy it ground (called colloidal oatmeal) or grind your own in a blender or food processor.
  • Make oatmeal compresses by wrapping dry oatmeal in a piece of cheesecloth or gauze, running cold water through it and then removing the oatmeal. Place the wet compresses on the sunburned area.

DAIRY

  • Soak a clean cloth or gauze in cool milk. Apply to your skin for about 15 minutes and repeat every 2 to 4 hours.
  • Soak in a cool bath with a gallon of milk added.
  • Apply plain yogurt to your skin and leave it on until it’s warm. To remove, take a cool or tepid shower.

CUCUMBERS

  • Mash a cucumber and apply it directly to your skin.
  • Slice a cucumber in half and gently rub into your skin.
  • Grate cucumbers and mix with milk. Apply to your skin.

LETTUCE

  • Boil lettuce leaves in water. Strain, and cool the liquid in the refrigerator for several hours. Dip cotton balls into the lettuce water and gently dab onto your skin.

POTATOES

  •  Cut a raw potato into slices and rub gently on your skin.
  •  Grate a raw potato and apply as a poultice. Include as much of the potato juice as possible.
  • Cut a raw potato into small chunks and blend until it becomes liquid in a food processor or blender. Add water if too dry. Apply to your skin and let dry, then take a cool shower.
  • Apply the blended mixture to a soft cloth or gauze and put on your skin. Change the dressing about every hour.

HONEY

  • Apply honey directly to your skin.
  • Spread honey on a soft cloth or piece of gauze and apply to your skin.

TEA, BLACK OR GREEN

  • Soak soft cloth or gauze in chilled, strong tea and apply to skin.
  • Pour the tea into a spray bottle and spray it on your skin.
  • Soak in cool water with added teabags.
  • Put wet, cooled teabags on your skin.

BAKING SODA OR CORNSTARCH

  • Add 1 to 2 cups of baking soda or cornstarch to a cool bath and soak for about 30 minutes.
  • Add equal parts of baking soda and cornstarch to a cool bath
  • Make a paste with either ingredient, apply to your skin and let dry.
  • Soak in tub or shower with cool water. Pat yourself dry and sprinkle cornstarch on your skin.

YELLOW MUSTARD

Apply directly to your sunburned skin and leave it on until it dries. Rinse it off gently in a cool or tepid shower.

MORE ADVICE

  • If you decide to soak in the tub, no matter what you add, don’t stay in for more than about 30 minutes or it could dry out your skin.
  • A sunburn can make you dehydrated, so drink plenty of water.
  •  The kitchen remedies may make you feel a little better, but none of them will undo the sun damage to your skin.
  • Which brings me back to: Don’t get a sunburn. Protect your skin.

WHEN IT’S MORE THAN A MILD TO MODERATE SUNBURN

(Courtesy Mayo Clinic)
See your doctor if your sunburn:

  • Is blistering and covers a large portion of your body
  • Is accompanied by a high fever, extreme pain, headache, confusion, nausea or chills
  • Doesn’t respond to at-home care within a few days

Also, seek medical care if you notice signs or symptoms of an infection. These include:

  • Increasing pain and tenderness
  • Increasing swelling
  • Yellow drainage (pus) from an open blister
  • Red streaks, leading away from the open blister, which may extend in a line upward along your arm or leg.

Do you have a tried and true sunburn remedy? Please share it with us!

 

Diane Atwood

About Diane Atwood

For more than 20 years, Diane was the health reporter on WCSH 6. Before that, a radiation therapist at Maine Medical Center and after, Manager of Marketing/PR at Mercy Hospital. Now she writes the award-winning blog Catching Health with Diane Atwood.