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With the fourth of July behind us, we are entering the hottest days of the summer here in Texas. It is common to spend too much time out in the sun, but what do you do to take care of that sunburn? The burning pain, the itching, and peeling afterward are all symptoms that most of us have experienced at one point in our lives.
I never really burned as a child
I have Greek skin, making me less prone to burning. Growing up, I never really put sunblock on because I usually just tanned instead of burning, and if it did burn, it easily turned brown by the next morning. My skin tone comes from my father, who also has no problem with burning. My mother, on the other hand, could spend five minutes in the sun and burn her entire body. From her, I learned how to take care of a sunburn.
Humans have been dealing with sunburns for centuries
Many natural remedies for burns, have been around for centuries and are tried and true! In fact, I created my Sol Relief spray based off of some of those old time remedies. I knew that I wanted to make a spray that was instantly cooling to the skin, to give instant relief, but also contained healing elements to prevent peeling and turn the burn into a tan. My Sol Relief spray does just that!
Home remedies for natural after-sun care
There are many natural remedies out there to help soothe and heal a nasty sunburn, and many of them can be found in your pantry or fridge!
- Cold Water - Your first line of defense for burns, you should be running cold water onto your burn or take a cool bath to get the heat out of the skin. I remember way back in first-aid training, we were told that before application of any cream or aloe, that the burn needed to be fully cooled so that we didn't trap heat in, cooking the burn worse. A cool bath is easiest on a full body sunburn. You can add herbs, tea bags, sea salt, and/or oatmeal to your cooling bath to boost the soothing and healing powers.
- Aloe Vera
Gel - Oneof the most commonly used treatments for burns, aloe vera is a powerhouse soother and healer. Keeping it in the fridge can up the awesome cooling powers of aloe too!
- Unrefined Coconut Oil - One of the best moisturizers out there, coconut oil can help heal any skin wound very quickly. Antibacterial and antiseptic, using coconut oil to keep the burn moisturized is key in avoiding peeling. Coconut oil is rich in antioxidants, fatty acids, and vitamins that promote healthy healing of burns.
- Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar - This is a classic
old timeyremedy that really helps to stop the sting of the burn. Dip a washcloth into a mixture of apple cider vinegar and cold water, and apply to the burn to stop the pain and aid in quicker healing.
- Peppermint Essential Oil - Not only is this essential oil antibacterial and antiseptic, but it also helps to aid in cooling the skin. I never leave this out of my after-sun sprays. The cooling effect can work for cooling down an overheated person too. The trick is to spray the back of the neck and the bottoms of the feet.
- Lavender Essential Oil - Lavender essential oil is said to have many amazing healing benefits when it comes to skin and burns. Not only is it an analgesic, helping to relieve pain, but lavender is also able to regenerate cell tissue and minimize scarring. This all-purpose essential oil has been used for centuries to heal, but its burn-healing abilities were first recorded in 1907 by a French Chemist, Dr. René-Maurice Gattefossé. After burning his badly during one of his experiments, he dunked it in the nearest vat of liquid, which happened to be lavender essential oil. After watching in amazement how quickly his burn healed, and with minimal scarring, he began studying and writing about essential oils further.
- Raw Unfiltered Honey - Used by holistic Doctors and Veterinarians alike, honey is used as a natural ointment for all kinds of owies, including burns. Naturally antibacterial and antiseptic, raw honey has been clinically proven to support wound healing faster and better than Neosporin.
- Black or Green Tea - Naturally rich in tannins, the tannic acid helps to suck out the heat of the burn, therefore alleviating the pain! You can take a refreshing cold tea bath, or just make a big batch of iced tea and soak washcloths in it and cover the burn. Allow the tea to air dry on your skin. Repeat this 3 times a day until the burn is healed.
- Plantain - This plant is often thought of as a weed in North America but has been hailed by not only the Native Americans but also Alexander the great, for being a miracle worker with burns, bug bites, and stings. A strong infusion of plantain sprayed onto a sunburn as often as needed can help soothe
a sunburnand heal it faster. Plantain contains a compound called allatonin, an anti-inflammatory phytochemical that speeds wound healing, stimulates the growth of new skin cells, and gives the immune system a boost.
- Salt - Like baking soda, sea salt can help to get rid of the sting and relieve pain and soreness from the burn. Add 1/4-1/2 cup of salt to your bath. Don't soak for longer than 20-30 minutes as this can dry out your burn too much. Pat your body dry and gently apply aloe vera and/or coconut oil to your burn.
- Calendula Tincture or Tea - Calendula is very effective at healing many different skin conditions. You can use the herb to make a tincture or a strong tea, and apply it to the burn in a cold compress. If you don't have a tincture on hand wd add a drop to water)hen you get burned, just make a strong infusion and apply the tea to the burn a couple of hours. You can soak a cloth in the tea and wrap it around the burn if needed.
- Egg Whites - There is no telling where this remedy came from. I've seen it floating all over the internet, but I will say that it does in fact work. Not only have I read of many other people who have found this odd remedy to soothe their pain, I too have used this on a burn on my hand that the oven gave me. Just separate the whites from the yolks and apply to sunburn. It will help to cool
the burnand ease the pain.
- Baking Soda - Baking soda added to a cool bath is great at relieving pain and soreness from a nasty burn. Just add a 1/4-1/2 cup to your bath and submerge your burn. Don't do this for longer than 20-30 minutes, to prevent over-drying your burn. Pat your body dry and gently apply aloe and/or coconut oil to your sunburn.
- Oatmeal Bath - I make a really great oatmeal bath recipe I shared a while back! Oatmeal baths are great for relieving all sorts of skin irritations including sunburns! Combine oatmeal and baking soda with some essential oils for the ultimate sunburn relief bath.
Sol Relief After-Sun Spray
This after-sun spray is easily adaptable to the ingredients that you have on hand. You do not have to use all of the ingredients listed and you can even add many of the remedies I give above. You can make a great basic after-sun spray with water, aloe vera gel, apple cider vinegar, and essential oils. The rest of the ingredients listed in this recipe are there to help aid in relief and rapid healing of the burn.
- 6 Tbsp. peppermint hydrosol (optional - can be replaced with more water)
- 4 Tbsp. aloe vera gel
- 1/2 Tbsp. vegetable glycerin (optional )
- 1 Tbsp. raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar steeped with dried peppermint leaf and sage leaf)
- 10 drops peppermint essential oil (Omit for children under 6 years)
- 10 drops lavender essential oil
- filtered water, to fill
- 8 oz. spray bottle
- Combine ingredients in a spray bottle, cap, and shake well before use.
- Spray as often as needed, onto burned or sun-exposed skin for cooling and moisturizing relief. Avoid spraying eyes!
- Refrigerate for an even more soothing and cooling experience and to keep the product longer.