Sunburn Tips and Home Remedies

Sunburn Tips and Home Remedies

Within four hours after sun exposure, you may start to feel the pain of a sunburn.  This often peaks in 24-36 hours, and peels 3-8 days later.  Along with the reddened skin, some experience blistering, headache, fatigue, nausea or even a fever.

The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends five main steps of treating a sunburn are as follows:

1.       Get out of the sun.  Place cool compresses on the area, but avoid placing ice directly on the skin because this can actually damage the skin, or even cause frost bite.

2.      Keep the burn moisturized.  Avoid products with petroleum, however, because it can trap the heat, allow the damage to continue.

3.      Reduce the pain and inflammation.  You can use products like Advil or Tylenol, and you may apply 1% hydrocortisone as well.  To prevent further irritation, wear cool, loose clothing

4.      Replace fluids that are lost due to the burn

5.      Seek attention from your healthcare provider if you have a fever, chills, an area of blistering bigger than the palm of your hand, or signs of a secondary infection (redness, oozing or red streaks away from the area which was burned)


There are a few common and uncommon home remedies that may be helpful as well (Cunhar, 2016):

·         Cool compress using cool water, or cool milk

·         Application of cool yogurt to the area

·         Application of a cucumber paste, or cooled mashed potatoes

·         Application of a paste using cornstarch and water

·         Aloe with lidocaine

·         Oatmeal baths

·         Essential oils such as lavender or chamomile could be added to a cool bath

·         Add 2 cups of baking soda to cool bath water for a soothing soak in the tub

Prevention is key. Wear sunblock every day, not just on sunny days.  Clouds can disperse the rays of the sun and cause burns.  Apply it according to the package instructions, repeating applications after swimming or when sweating.  Wear a hat, sunglasses, and cover most of the skin when possible.  Sunburns are damaging to the cells and increase your risk of skin cancer, so preventive measures are necessary to optimize your health.


Cunhar, J. (2016). 25 natural and home remedies for sunburn treatment.  Retrieved on 5/4/17 from

Skin Cancer Foundation (2016). 5 ways to treat a sunburn. Retrieved from


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