Even though the number of people who wear sunscreen is on the rise, the CDC reports that over half of people under 30 report getting a sunburn at least once a year. In addition to increased risk of some cancers with frequent sunburn, there are also the more immediate issues of pain and swelling to be dealt with. While aloe vera tends to be the remedy of choice for sunburns, there are many other household items, ranging from milk to Vick’s vapo rub, you or your child can use if you have a sunburn and there’s no aloe in the house.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Adding a cup of apple cider vinegar to a cool bath can help relieve sunburn pain and promote healing. When you get a sunburn, the pH balance of your skin drops, the higher pH of apple cider vinegar helps balance those levels back out which relieves symptoms and promotes healing.
Vick’s Vapo Rub
Even though Vick’s is normally used as a remedy for cough and sore throat symptoms, it works great on sunburns as well. The reason is that Vick’s contains eucalyptus which has antiseptic properties. It is also very cooling to burned skin. Plus, due to the consistency of Vick’s, you get an extra layer of protection from irritation resulting from the sunburn rubbing against clothing.
When applying milk to a sunburn, use a clean, dry cloth. Make sure the milk is cool, rather than cold, so don’t take it right out of the fridge and apply to the burn. The milk will help ease sunburn symptoms by creating a cooling, protective protein film. Protein is an essential ingredient your body needs to repair tissue damage. The protein film provides not only what your body needs to repair sunburn damage, but protection from additional damage due to brushing or hitting the affected area against anything as well.
Sunburns sap moisture from your body, which contributes to overall dehydration. Drinking plenty of water will give your body what it needs to replace lost moisture and heal the sunburn faster.
Adding a cup of baking soda to a cool bath, or combining with water to make a topical paste can greatly relieve the pain and irritation of a sunburn. This is because baking soda, like apple cider vinegar, has a higher, or more alkaline pH. When you get a sunburn, the pH in your skin lowers and makes it more acidic. The alkaline consistency will help restore the balance your skin naturally has, thus relieving sunburn symptoms.
Noxzema, like Vick’s, contains eucalyptus as one of its ingredients. The benefit of using Noxzema, is that it absorbs into the skin and helps keep the skin hydrated as well as delivering the healing benefits of eucalyptus.
Cucumbers on the eyes is a well-known remedy for puffy eyes. They also work in much the same way for reducing swelling caused by sunburns. They contain vitamin C and caffeic acid which provide analgesic properties in addition to the cooling sensation of cucumber. The best way to apply to a sunburn is to chill in the fridge and then blend into a paste in the blender and apply topically.
Whatever household remedy you chose to treat sunburn, remember that if pain, swelling or blistering persist, a visit to the doctor is always advisable. Also, if you know you’ll be out of doors, make sure to wear lots of sunscreen and reapply at regular intervals so that you and your family can hopefully avoid sunburn altogether.