While you're having fun in the sun this summer, it's important to protect your skin from harmful exposure. Sunburn is common and can occur within 10 minutes to one hour, depending on the UV index in your area. Just last year, fewer than 30 percent of women and 15 percent of men reported applying sunscreen on their skin while outside for more than one hour, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
No matter whether you're constantly applying sunscreen or finding ways to shield your skin from strong summer rays, you should know how to properly treat sunburn when it happens. You can do so with natural and chemical-free ingredients that you just might find in your pantry. The following four remedies have been known to relieve sunburn in a green way.
- Aloe vera. Historically known as the lily of the desert, this plant is primarily recognized for its medicinal properties and healing benefits. The plant’s gel contains natural ingredients – such as polysaccharides, vitamins and minerals – that moisturize skin, relieve burn pain and contain anti-viral properties. Not only can you use aloe to treat harsh sunburn during summer months, but you can also take it internally in low doses all-year round to support digestive health and use it externally to soothe joint and muscle discomfort. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends staying away from lotions that contain petroleum because they trap skin heat and irritate burned skin even more.
- Oatmeal. Some people might remember hopping into an oatmeal-filled bathtub to soothe itchy chicken pox, but oatmeal’s advantages don’t stop there. Oats are rich in anti-inflammatory properties as well as antioxidants, and have been known to help heal other skin conditions such as eczema, mosquito bites and acne. Sprinkle oatmeal into a warm bath or create an oatmeal-based paste that includes other naturally healing ingredients – such as honey and milk – and directly apply it to your skin for 30 minutes.
- Black tea. Sipping on tea works wonders for your body, and it can also heal your skin if properly applied. Black tea contains tannic acid, which is typically used to remove toxins from the body. The ingredient can treat problems such as cold sores, damaged gums, bleeding, coughing and more. Some home remedy bloggers suggest soaking black tea bags in cool water for up to 20 minutes before use. After, you may apply the tea bags directly to your skin or soak a towel in the water and pat down your sunburn. The goal of using tea as a sunburn remedy is to remove skin heat, sting and redness.
- Apple cider vinegar. Healthline Networks recommends if you turn to apple cider vinegar for sunburn relief, you should make sure it’s diluted due to its high acidity. Adding a cup or two of this ingredient to a warm, 15-minute bath can help treat larger sunburned areas on the body. It contains anti-bacterial and anti-fungal benefits that also can ease ear infections, stomach ulcers and allergies. Applied externally, apple cider vinegar assists in balancing the body’s natural chemicals, further supporting your body’s natural healing process.