Wednesday, May 15, 2013

How To Heal A Sunburn

"Heal A Sunburn In ONE Night! 3-4 in piece off an aloe vera plant, sliced in half 1 Tbsp coconut oil, in liquid form 1/2 – 1 tsp raw honey or propolis."

Well summer is nearly here, so now would be a good time to explain why not to do this. The pin and blog it links to says you can heal even the worst sunburn with a simple mixture of aloe, coconut oil and honey or propolis. 

Now I will agree that aloe is the best thing you can use on a sunburn. The other ingredients however are what makes this a truly awful idea. I can not stress enough NEVER put oil or lotions on a sunburn. Why? Well they trap the heat in. As simple as that. Even after you've removed yourself from the sun, your skin once burned will remain hot - you can touch your sunburn and feel the temperature difference between it and your regular skin.

Adding oils, lotions, and honey of all things is only going to keep your skin hot. I know there is a rather big following especially online who claim coconut oil is a miracle and can do anything, but lets get logical here - oil is oil. Yes I know the general makeup of butter vs coconut oil is completely different, but on a burn they will have the same effect  We laugh at the 100 year old idea of rubbing butter on a burn, so why turn around and put the modern day equivalent on your skin? Coconut oil will have the same effect as any oil or lotion on a sunburn. 

Now I will say, that after the sunburn has had time to cool, say in 24 hours, and it's no longer hot and it's starting to feel dry and itchy? By all means try coconut oil! Keeping your skin hydrated once the burn has had a chance to cool off is perfectly fine, and can help in the healing process. But the hours after you first got your burn and your skin is still hot is NOT the time to start adding oils and lotions to your skin. Honey is no different in it's ability to trap heat into your skin. I know there is a large body of studies that point to honey having anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties to them, but all in all between the mess and the stickiness it's pretty low on the 'things I want to rub on my skin' list. You're better off taking an ibuprofen and drinking several glasses of water. (Hydration starts from the inside - when you get sunburn you need to up your water intake!) 

So what can you do when faced with reddening skin from a day out? The very best thing you can do for a sunburn is to soak in a cool tepid bath with ground oatmeal (you can either buy it over the counter or make it yourself in a food processor, nothing fancy just ground oatmeal until it a powder. Yes it really is that easy! You can add herbs like lavender or chamomile if you're feeling fancy.) and once out, pat dry and apply aloe. My go to aloe is the mentholated kind with added lidocaine. Aloe can be applied many times throughout the evening too, so don't just apply it once and figure that's good enough, the more times you apply it, the better chance you have at healing you sunburn. Also like I said earlier - drink water. Lots of water. You're probably dehydrated from being out in the sun and hydration is very important to healing your skin.  


  1. What about using tea bags brewing a very strong cup or cups of black tea letting them cool down and then applying them to your sunburned skin the tannis in the tea stop the burn, I don't know how but it has worked for me. Also another strange thing using vasaline on a bruise speeds up the length of having the bruise.

  2. Anonymous3/7/13

    I used brewed tea, like Bridget suggested, as well as on bad burns I will use vinegar. The vinegar works better than the tea for bad burns, but for a light burn the tea works well.

  3. Anonymous10/7/13

    I used to work as a pool attendant at a resort, and I have dealt with a lot of sunburned people.

    Use chilled ordinary lotion in addition to the aloe with lidocaine. You don't want any fragrance or fancy ingredients. The aloe is drying to the skin and when forms a sticky layer, it is uncomfortable.

  4. I swear by Apple cider vinegar. A little stinky, but it cools & I've never had issues with peeling.

  5. Anonymous22/7/13

    Seconding the vinegar, as a freckled person that burns if the sun glances at me, I can vouch!

  6. Anonymous23/7/13

    evaporated milk worked for me when all other remedies failed. it's gross, but worth it.

  7. Anonymous7/9/13

    Please make sure you are not allergic to aloe before you slather it all over a burn! I ended up with a serious infection (I needed oral antibiotics) because the irritation kept the skin from healing.

    1. Anonymous7/9/13

      I should have mentioned that I use a wet tea towel to cool the burning. It's amazing how quickly the burn warms it up but then I just re-wet it with cool water. No stickiness and it feels great!

  8. There's no heat "trapped" in your skin when you're sunburnt: that's simply the result of inflammation. When the capillaries near the surface of your skin are dilated, there's more blood near the surface, and thus more body heat is detectable to the touch.

    Burn healing isn't the result of all that "burn heat" slowly leaching out of your skin, stopping the burn. It's the result of your body sending more blood (and thus, more resources) to the area so the damaged tissue can repair itself. Oils won't hinder this process in the slightest, and if you're prone to dry skin (or it's very dry out), they'll help by locking moisture _in_.

    Source: I went to grad school for Biomedical Sciences.

  9. Plain white vinegar mixed 50/50 with cool water is the immediate best for large areas. An aloe plant in the window is so good for those kitchen and iron burns and also for sunburn. If you break off more than you need, allow it to remain on the counter. The cut edge will dry and seal over and you an recut or break for more of the gel. Don not refrigerate as it quickly spoils in the cold. As a freckled redhead raised at high altitude before there was good sunscreen, summers for me were brutal. Now the best is Neutragena for long lasting that does not irritate my sensitive skin.

  10. The right lotion is soothing... per the American Academy of Dermatology: Lotions that have something called aloe vera in them help make your skin feel better. Be careful not to use lotions or creams that have any of these things listed in the ingredients: petroleum, benzocaine, or lidocaine. Things with petroleum trap the heat in your skin (and you don't want that!) and benzocaine and lidocaine can bother and irritate your skin. If a particular area feels especially uncomfortable, you may want to apply a hydrocortisone cream that you can buy without a prescription.

  11. 3 Studies PROVE How Coconut Oil Kills Waist Fat.

    The meaning of this is that you actually burn fat by consuming coconut fats (including coconut milk, coconut cream and coconut oil).

    These 3 studies from major medical journals are sure to turn the conventional nutrition world around!

  12. If you have a bad sun burn, these are the products I would recommend: