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Take the “Ouch” out of Sunburn… Naturally!

The Dog Days of Summer are upon us, and that means (if we’re not careful) we are still at risk for sunburn.  If you find yourself in a post-sun predicament, here are some natural ways to help sooth your skin.


A colloidal oatmeal bath can do wonders for irritated, inflamed skin, and it’s easy to make at home. Just finely grind a cup of plain oatmeal (preferably whole grain) in a food processor, add it to lukewarm bath water, and gently stir. You may be tempted to sit for hours in this soothing, milky bath, but 20 minutes should do the trick. This treatment will also help stop the itch that often accompanies sunburn. Of course, be sure to use a soft towel when drying off!


The starchy compounds in raw potatoes can help ease the pain of a nasty sunburn. Just slice the spud and gently rub a piece over the scorched area until the sting subsides.


Tannins in tea can help draw out the sting of a bad sunburn. Brew a strong pot of tea and cool in the refrigerator. Use a clean washcloth to soak up the liquid and apply it to the burned area. You can also apply cold, unused teabags directly onto the skin to relieve pain and swelling.

Baking Soda

Baking soda can help ease the pain and discomfort of sunburn. Mix a few tablespoons of baking soda into a bowl of cool water. Soak cotton pads or a clean washcloth into the solution and dab onto reddened areas.


Lettuce has natural pain fighting properties. Boil some lettuce leaves, strain and then store the liquid in the refrigerator until cool. Saturate cotton balls in the lettuce water, and gently wipe over inflamed skin.


The acetic acid in vinegar can help relieve the pain, itching, and inflammation that accompany sunburn. Soak paper towels in white vinegar and apply to burned skin, or add two cups to cool bath water for soothing relief.

Aloe Vera

The aloe vera plant is a super burn fighter. Just cut off a section, peel the outer skin, and wipe the sticky gel directly onto the burned area (test for allergies on a small patch of skin first). You can also purchase a bottle of aloe vera gel at your local pharmacy— just be sure to look for a brand with 100% aloe, or with few fillers and preservatives. Store it in the fridge for extra cooling relief. Not only will aloe sooth sore skin, but it will also help it heal faster.


Using a clean washcloth, apply cool milk (not cold) to sunburned skin. Use as a compress for 20 minutes and repeat every two to four hours. The protein in milk will coat the burned area and help alleviate pain. Plain, unsweetened yogurt will also work—let it sit on your skin until the yogurt warms and then rinse with cool water. Just be sure to buy whole milk or full-fat yogurt for best results.