Natural Remedies for Sunburn
Katie Noble, SPCNM Graduate Practitioner 2019
One of the best things about summer is the sun on your skin, the salt in your hair and generally shaking off the stress and monotony of daily life.
I am a big believer in giving the whole family good exposure to vitamin D before 10am and after 4pm as sunlight exposure provides up to 80% of our vitamin D intake. Deficiencies of vitamin D have been linked to autoimmune diseases, mental health problems and increased risk of bone fracture. After 10am I find myself screeching “have you put sunscreen on?” and often the response is an eye roll or a weak promise. More often than I like to admit we end up with a decent burn early in the summer.
As a kid I remember being constantly burnt with a ridge of peel on my freckled nose, cringing as I sat on the cane chairs for dinner with the imprint being left on my scorched skin, the smell of Solarcaine out of an aerosol can and sweating the night away in flannelette lined sleeping bag. When my daughter came home I was determined to find some decent natural remedies to ease the situation. We have often defaulted to aloe vera but a lot of preparations have chemicals added and unless you have a plant growing at home the gels can feel gluey and tight on the skin after the soothing has past.
Here is what I found to be effective after researching some natural remedies:
Immediately it’s important to have a cool shower followed by spritzing the skin with a 50:50 mix of apple cider vinegar and filtered water which is very soothing. You can also add a cup of apple cider vinegar to a cool bath with a few drops of lavender oil.
Gently warm 50ml coconut oil and when just melted add 10 drops each of lavender and peppermint oil and apply liberally. Peppermint provides a cooling and analgesic action and lavender is well known for healing skin particularly with burns.
We tried some homeopathic remedies which also worked well. You can buy these as single remedies in 30c strength for acute use. Give 1-2 pillules dissolved on the tongue as required and stop when symptoms improve.
- Urtica urens for mild sunburn with redness and stinging.
- Cantharis and Arnica if the burn is particularly bad or with blistering.
- Belladonna for relieving red, hot and painful sunburned skin.
I tried all of these and provided relief as well as no peeling and my daughter is developing a lovely golden tan after a fun filled summer with lots of safe sun exposure.
American Academy of Dermatology. (2019). How to treat sunburn. Retrieved from https://www.aad.org/public/skin-hair-nails/injured-skin/treating-sunburn
Braun , L. & Cohen, M. (2015). Herbs and natural supplements: An evidence-based guide (4th ed.). (Vol 2). Sydney, Australia: Churchill Livingstone
Dr Axe. (2017). Natural sunburn relief that you haven’t thought of. Retrieved from https://draxe.com/sunburn-relief/