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Home Remedies for Sunburn

Sunburn is caused by ultraviolet rays from the sun and can vary from the healthy golden tan which many of us hope to achieve to a nasty burnt blistering caused by excess exposure which is both painful and destructive. Not only does too much sun have an ageing effect upon the skin but it can also cause skin cancer, a circumstance to which fair skinned freckled people seem to be particularly vulnerable.

Our great-grand mothers would never have dreamed of exposing themselves to the sun as it would have been deemed not only in elegant and vulgar but also downright dangerous, for they took the threat of sunstroke very seriously indeed. Where as today we will spend a fortune on sun blocking creams to ensure that we achieve a safe tan, they would have stayed beneath their parasols and hats and attacked the slightest reddening of the skin with hydrogen peroxide or a solution of weak ammonia!

Good advice is to take sunbathing in short bursts both before and after the heat of midday and to remember that salt water and strong winds will cause the skin to burn much more readily. Do not go to sleep in the sun, particularly if you are not accustomed to it, and do not allow children to become over exposed. Most children have their own built-in warning device and become extremely tetchy when the sun is too strong or when they have had enough, shade provided for them as well as a good supply of tee shirts and sun hats. Sun-blocking creams should be used on holiday, particularly abroad and expecially on children. Remember, the fairer the skin the higher the sun block number required to give protection . rose water and glycerine will help moisturize and prevent the skin from drying out and although this does not provide a barrier it reduces the heat.

Contrary to popular belier – though it may have worked in the days when only a minimal portion of the anatomy was exposed to a fairly weak sun – spraying cold water on a hot body whilst sun tanning does not moisturize the skin . To prove the point try spraying cold water on meat roasting in a hot oven to see how quickly it will crisp up and become leathery.

Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration and protect the skin, lips and hair before going to the beach. Take a cooling bath upon returning then anoint the face and body thoroughly with oil to keep the skin supple and smooth. It is very important to do this for children too.

Home Remedies for Sunburn - Instant Relief

  • Calamine lotion Alone it will reduce heat and soreness but it is very drying and may result in painful peeling. Use the following instead.

Calamine and Glycerin Lotion
            5 tablespoons calamine e lotion
            6 tablespoons pure water
            2 teaspoons glycerine

Shake together in a bottle and use at night when necessary . This is a very useful remedy to use on children who will sleep more comfortably after a soothing application.

  • Bicarbonate of soda or baking soda Either of these kitchen standbys mixed to a paste with water will take the heat out of small burns. For all over relief from irritation add 2 tablespoons to a cool bath.
  • Cider vinegar or lavender vinegar Add 150ml (1/4 pint) of either to a bath. It will ease that prickling sensation and is also effectively antiseptic. One of the good home remedies for sunburn.
  • Camomile or marigold infusion Add a good quantity of either infusion to the bath or use on a compress. Both herbs are also tremendously helpful in relieving feverishness in overwrought children when used as a weak tea or soaked into cloths and laid on the forehead or the back of the neck.
  • Aloe vera The juice squeezed from the fresh leaf of the aloe and applied directly to a burn is gelatinous and soothing. (The plant will seal and grow again after such barbarous treatment.)It can also be squeezed out and mixed with cold cream, white petroleum jelly (Vaseline) or oil to cover a larger area. One of the effective home remedies for sunburn.
  • Houseleek The old-fashioned method was to mix the expressed juice from the freshly cut leaf will soothe and heal. It was at one time believed that this remedy cured sunstroke when rubbed on forehead and temple.
  • Gin, lemon juice, milk, cold sage tea, cold Indian tea, eau de Cologne, infusions of nettle, lettuce leaf, chamomile, comfrey or elder flower  Any one of these applied on cotton wool will bring instant relief. Apart from the eau de Cologne it does no harm to drink some either.

Soothing Mixtures

  • Strawberries Mass strawberries and buttermilk together to make a healing face mask. The strawberries alone will reduce redness and rash provided you are not allergic to them and buttermilk is deliciously cool and minimizes irritation.
  • Cucumber Cool cucumber sliced or mashed to a pulp makes a cooling moisturizer but an even better one is to blend the juice of a large cucumber with ½ teaspoon of glycerine. Keep refrigerated and use within three days. You can also dip slices of cucumber in pure lemon juice to lay on burns and hot place.
  • Quince seeds Soak quince seeds in water for two days. The resulting mucilaginous liquid soothes red, raw skin on face and hands. Windsurfers, sailors and skiers take note.
  • Yoghurt and rose water Mix together 150ml (1/4 pint) of plain yoghurt and 2 tablespoons of rosewater (elderflower water can be substituted for the rose water.) Apply where it hurts to soothe and cool. The application of this delicious mixture can be made into a terrific game to turn a cantankerous child’s thoughts from misery to laughter. Rose water and glycerine, 4 tablespoons of each, is one of the best moisturizers for children’s skin but it is not as healing as yoghurt.

Iodine sunburn lotion
 6 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons cider or lavender vinegar
½ teaspoon iodine

Shake the ingredients together in a bottle and use when necessary. This old-fashioned remedy is antiseptic and healing.

Elderflower Lotion
5 tablespoons elderflower water
5 tablespoons glycerine
3 tablespoons witch hazel
1 tablespoon almond oil
1 tablespoon eau de cologne
½ teaspoon borax

Shake all the ingredients together in a bottle and keep refrigerated. Shake well before using. This lotion can be used all over the body to soothe sun and wind burn and is particularly useful to board sailors and water skiers.

Sunshine Rescue Cream

2 tablespoons white petroleum jelly (Vaseline)
4 tablespoons anhydrous lanolin
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1 tablespoon wheatgerm oil
3 drops vitamin E oil
3 drops vitamin A oil

Put the Vaseline and lanolin into a bowl over boiling water and heat until they are both melted. Add the oils and beat well then remove from the heat and continue beating until cool. Pour into a clean pot and seal when cold. Use liberally on burnt noses, chins, shoulders and the like. Again this is a good cream for sportsmen who find that bony protruberances  tend to catch more sun than other areas.  

  • Pumpkin seed oil, sesame seed oil or olive oil  Any one of these used at night will keep the skin supple and soothe light burning.
  • Marigold and wheatgerm oil  Marigold flowers pounded in wheatgerm oil make a good healing salve.
  • Vitamin E oil  Applied neat to any burned area this will improve healing. It can also be mixed into white petroleum jelly to make it easier to cover a large area. If you cannot obtain the small bottles split open the capsules instead.

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