How to Get Rid of Sunburns: 7 Painless Home Remedies

Sunburns can be uncomfortable and downright painful sometimes. Before you waste time running off to the store for an over-the-counter treatment, why not try some of these effective treatments that can be done at home. Find out how to get rid of sunburn using these seven home remedies:

Cold Compress

how to get rid of a sunburn like this with home remedies
Photo credit: Phil Kates

This is a quick and easiest remedy to get instant relief from the burning. All you need to do is apply some cool water to the sunburned area.

Here’s what you need:

  • Clean towel/wash cloth
  • Cool water

What to do:

  1. Turn on your faucet and run just the cold water for about 10 seconds.
  2. Take the clean towel/wash cloth (we’re going to refer to it as towel from now on) and place it under the running cold water for 15-30 seconds.
  3. Make sure the towel is thoroughly soaked under the running cold water.
  4. Turn off the faucet and rinse the towel of excess water.
  5. Lay the soaked towel over the sunburned area and leave it on for a few minutes.
  6. Once the towel starts to warm up, repeat steps 1-5 again.
  7. Continue to repeat steps 1-6 a few more times as needed until the burn eases off.
  8. Repeat the whole process several times per day if needed.

Tip:

You can save a little water if you just use a bowl large enough for the towel to soak in. Fill the bowl with enough water and drop in a few ice cubes as needed to cool the water.

Cool Milk

This home remedy for sunburns uses an ingredient that you already have in the fridge, milk. Using cool milk from the fridge provides the same benefit as the remedy above; cooling down the burning sensation.

But that’s not all it does. Using milk also creates a protective protein film around the burned area. The film eases the discomfort as well.

For this remedy, you will need:

  • Cool milk
  • Small towel/wash cloth
  • Clean bowl

What to do:

  1. Pour some cool milk into the bowl. You don’t need a lot. You only need enough to soak the small towel/wash cloth.
  2. Place the towel into the bowl of milk.
  3. Move the towel around in the bowl with your hands. Make sure to turn it over a few times so it’s soaked thoroughly.
  4. Take the towel out, but keep it held over the bowl.
  5. Shake off/rinse out excess milk from the towel.
  6. Place the soaked towel on the sunburned area.
  7. Leave it on for a few minutes until the towel starts to warm up.
  8. You can repeat the previous steps as needed until the burn cools off a little.
  9. Repeat the whole process 3-5 times per day as needed.

Tip:

If the milk starts to warm up a little, add a few ice cubes to cool it back down a bit. Don’t have ice cubes on hand? No problem; don’t leave the bowl of milk out and put it in the fridge instead. Only do this for each session from steps 1-8. If you’re done for the current session, dump it out and pour some fresh milk for the next treatment.

Apple Cider Vinegar

This acv (apple cider vinegar) sunburn remedy is great if you have a large sunburn. How to get rid sunburn with apple cider? The answer is simple; soaking in a bath mixed with vinegar will soothe the burn and promote healing by balancing the PH of your skin.

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup of apple cider vinegar (organic & unfiltered preferred)

What to do:

  1. Add one cup of acv to a bath tub filled with cool/tepid water and give it a good stir with your arms.
  2. Soak in the vinegar and water mixture for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Gently pat dry with a clean towel.

Tip:

If you don’t have apple cider vinegar, you can substitute it with regular white vinegar. Otherwise, they’re quite cheap and easy to find at your local grocery store.

Don’t forget to check out the other ways to use apple cider vinegar if you’re thinking about giving it a try.

Oatmeal

If you don’t like the thought of soaking in a bath mixed with vinegar, you can use oatmeal instead.

Here’s what you need:

  • 2-4 cups of oatmeal

What to do:

  1. Fill a bathtub with tepid water.
  2. Add the 2-4 cups oatmeal to the bathtub and give it a good stir with your hands.
  3. Let the oatmeal soak in the water for about 5 minutes.
  4. Soak in the mixture for 15 minutes.
  5. If there are any oatmeal stuck to you, quickly rinse it off with cool water.
  6. Gently pat dry using a clean towel.

Tip:

To avoid having to remove any oatmeal stuck to you, try this easy trick. Take a clean pantyhose, or sock(s) and fill them with the oatmeal. Tie the ends and just soak it in the bath tub like a tea bag.

Baking Soda

Baking soda can be used to remedy small sunburns. All you’ll need is baking soda, a little water, and a clean container/bowl.

  1. In a clean bowl/container, mix the baking soda and water until you get a paste. You’ll have to experiment with a little of each until you get the right consistency.
  2. Use your hands to apply a thin coat of the baking soda paste onto the sunburned area.
  3. Leave the mixture on until the burn has cooled off.
  4. Rinse off the baking soda with cool water and pat the treated area dry.

Tips:

You can also use baking soda for the bath soak remedies above. Just substitute oatmeal/apple cider vinegar with baking soda instead. Just sprinkle a generous amount into the tub and soak for a good 20 minutes or so.

You can rinse it off with cool water if you want. Otherwise you can leave the baking soda residue on for the and wash it off during your next shower or bath.

Cucumbers

Chilled cucumbers make a great all natural sunburn remedy. It can quickly cool down the burn and provide relief from the pain (thanks to its pain-relieving properties).

For this remedy, you’ll need:

  • A blender
  • Chilled cucumber(s)

What to do:

  1. Make sure the chilled cucumber is free of dirt. If it isn’t, wash it under running cold water.
  2. Cut the cucumber into manageable pieces between 1 inch to 3 inches. The size varies depending on the size and power of your blender.
  3. Place the cucumber pieces into the blender.
  4. Blend it until you no longer have large pieces.
  5. Drain it of excess juice and place it on the burn.
  6. Leave it on until the heat cools off before removing.

Tips:

If you don’t have chilled cucumbers and don’t want to wait, you can blend it with some ice cubes. Just make sure to drain the excess liquids.

If the cucumber paste is too runny/watery for you and it doesn’t stick to the burn, you can thicken it with some corn starch. Corn starch by itself is a popular sunburn remedy too, so it will actually give your cucumber remedy a boost.

Aloe Vera

If you happen to have an aloe vera plant, then you have a great sunburn treatment on hand. All the good stuff it’s rich with (vitamins, minerals, enzymes, etc.) helps reduce pain and speed up the healing process.

If you don’t conveniently have an aloe vera plant around the house, it is still fairly easy to get your hands on some locally. If you you’re unable to get fresh aloe vera leaves, you can still buy aloe vera gel/juice instead.

How to treat sunburns using fresh aloe vera:

  1. Peel the skin off the aloe vera leaf–exposing the soft, gel-like flesh on the inside.
  2. Gently massage the burn with the aloe vera flesh.
  3. Leave the juices from the aloe vera on the burn.

How to use aloe vera gel or aloe vera juice instead:

  1. Make sure your hands are clean.
  2. Place a little juice or gel on your fingertips.
  3. Gently massage the gel/juice on the burn.
  4. Leave it on.

Tip:

If you’re using the gel/juice, you can try using a cotton ball or cotton pads instead of your hands. They do absorb a good amount of liquid, so I avoid them because I find them to be a little wasteful.

Other Sunburn Remedies & Info

Did I miss a home remedy that you think works better than the ones listed here? If so, please share it with us in the comments below. Now, before you run off to give one of these remedies a try, keep in mind that these are just a few of the many home remedies for sunburn (in fact, I didn’t even include coconut oil). You might have to experiment and see which one works best for you. I hope you were able to find out how to get rid of sunburn with natural home remedies from this list.