And while the sun is not something to be afraid of -- it is a life giver, vitamin D producer, and just makes us happy -- getting a sunburn is no fun.
What's the best thing to do for a sunburn?There are quite a few natural (non-toxic) things to do to get relief from a bad sunburn. Here are some of them that have worked well for me in the past, and may work well for you, too:
1. First step: As soon as you realize you have a burn, get out of the sun.Cool your skin down as much as you can. A cold shower, ice, compresses, etc. The key is to get the heat out of your skin. The sooner you can start cooling your skin down, the better it will be for you. If you cannot get out of the sun right away (e.g. you are on a boat in the middle of a lake) then cover up! Take some of the ice in your cooler and rub it on your skin.
2. Get some vinegar. I have used both Bragg's apple cider vinegar and distilled white vinegar. You can either put the vinegar in a 50/50 solution with cold water and spray all over your skin, or you can just soak a paper towel or washcloth with enough vinegar so that it is dripping, and put it directly on the burned skin. Re-apply every couple hours until the heat leaves the burn (when the skin is not hot to the touch).
3. Use fresh aloe vera. Do not use the junk from the drugstore with so many additives and preservatives. It is always best to have an aloe vera plant in a pot. They are inexpensive and totally worth it. Personally I don't think the aloe vera will make the sting of the sunburn go away like the vinegar does, but I think it contributes to the healing of the skin.
4. Neutralizer gel by Miracle II. This gel is also a favorite of mine. It has the same consistency of aloe vera, but I use it with lavender essential oil for added bonus. It is a very non-toxic, powerful pH balancer and healer.
5. Lavender essential oil. This is one of the very few essential oils that you can feel comfortable putting directly on your skin (neat) without diluting it first. Lavender essential oil can be used on regular burns as well as sunburns. It promotes tissue regeneration and helps heal the burn -- and reduces possible scarring! It is by far the best oil for sunburns, regular burns and for skin regeneration.
Once Your Burn Has "Cooled Down"
6. Finally the heat is pulled from the skin, but is still red and painful. Now is the time to just slather on the coconut oil. Be careful to wait until the heat has been pulled out of the burn before using coconut oil. If you put the coconut oil on the skin when there is still heat to it, the oil will trap the heat inside -- prolonging your misery. The coconut oil is going to help heal the skin, and if it isn't too bad of a burn, it will help prevent you from peeling. (or at least minimize the peeling) You will have to continue slathering it on as soon as your skin starts to absorb it. You should have a goal to always feel like your skin is greasy over the sunburn. You do not want the skin to dry out and lose moisture.
Many of these tips are not just for sunburns, but for other burns as well. You can mix them together for added benefit -- for example you can add the lavender essential oil to the aloe vera or neutralizer gel. You can also add the lavender to the coconut oil to slather on.
And in the future -- remember to cover up or, if you are going to be in the sun all day long, use some natural sunscreen. Or you can make your own by Googling "homemade sunscreen" -- you will want to use non-nano-particle zinc oxide, or carrot seed oil which has a pretty high SPF on its own.