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This article contains several tips, product reviews and step by step treatments for sunburn as suggested by the ThriftyFun community. If you have a favorite remedy that hasn't been listed, post it below.
As with all advice you may read on the internet, use common sense. If in doubt, consult with a physician. Minors should tell their parents or a responsible adult before treating themselves.
I am deep red everywhere except where my bathing suit is. I have blisters on my arms, shoulders, and thighs. I have been shaking uncontrollably for some time now and getting a lot of nausea and lightheadedness. Should I consider going to the hospital?"
"Dominique, you should go to the hospital as soon as you can! You might have sun poisoning. In fact, based on the information I've researched about sun poisoning, I'm almost 100% sure you have sun poisoning. GO TO THE HOSPITAL!"
However, sunburn is no joke. I use sunscreen regularly (I was born before it was invented, so like other boomers I have suffered countless burns) and I rarely burn any more, but I've had to have a few basal cell spots burned off my face as they had the potential to turn cancerous. One can get a groovy tan by using the self-tanner, and or doing a gradual tan by using sun screen. Skin cancer can kill you, so it is worth it to do it right. But if you do get a burn, try the tea, it's guaranteed to work, and very quickly at that.
P.S.: This is not recommended for your face, because it causes your eyes to feel like they are burning and the smell is very, very strong. good luck!
You can also mix vinegar and water or straight vinegar if you can handle the smell and rub or spray it onto your sunburn (AVOID THE EYES).
Both the vinegar and the aloe vera gel helps prevent bubbling and peeling of the burns and draws the heat out as well.
* If your sunburn is really bad, you can either repeat the above process twice, or better yet, follow the above directions, then instead of rinsing, soak in a cool tub with 1 cup of vinegar added to the water for 20 minutes.
Vinegar worked so well for me that I have always used it on my kids and now my daughter uses vinegar on her daughter as well. It's truly a "Miracle Remedy"! Yes, sometimes it does itch a bit, but you can put up with a bit of itching for a few minutes so you won't be miserable and in pain later, can't you?
One more idea that "feels good" on sunburn, but doesn't actually heal it is to put a jar of Noxzema in the fridge and slather it on a little while before taking a cool shower.
You can also use the Gel-Packs that are made for athletes. Keep a few in your freezer, and pull them out when needed for a sunburn, or in a pinch, use a frozen bag of corn. (Just be sure to put it back in the freezer before it thaws or you'll be eating corn for dinner!) *grin!*
I finally went to a dermatologist. She told me to go out buy whole milk and either pour it in the tub or soak it in the towel (tub works best). THE WHOLE MILK DID THE TRICK! It soaked out my burn somehow, the pain went away and I didn't peel so badly.
Noxzema makes my skin burn worse.
Olive oil works well or lavender oil. Mix about 1 drop of tea tree oil per 10 drops of olive oil. Or a teaspoon of tea tree oil per 10 teaspoons of olive oil. Mix it good and pat it on with your fingers or a soft small towel or tissue. DO NOT RUB IT ON. Apply this and take some Tylenol every 4-6 hours (no more than 4 in 24 hours though). Reapply when the itch starts again. It will last cause it is oil and the peeling will be minimized. Also apply after a shower as many times the chemicals in water can dry the skin more than anything.
After only 30 minutes, I was completely burnt. Today is Friday and I am at work complaining of this horrible pain I have in my entire body. This is not what I was expecting form this baby oil. I will continue to read what you guys have recommend for my situation. Please guys do not use baby oil to tan.
Go to your bathroom and get out shaving cream, apply it to your hands and lather it up, then apply it to the burned area, Not only does it stop the burning sensation and pain IMMEDIATELY, it also helps to take the red away. Apply this every couple hours if you want. Folks, this really works. It is so good I almost want to sell it. Anyways, hope you all get better and remember. Put that darn sunscreen on and this wouldn't be a problem! I learned the hard way too!
Thank you, thank you!
By the way, if you don't have anyone around to rub it on your back (in that middle area that's hard to reach) - use a rubber cooking spatula to spread it. Works like a charm!
If the burn is bad, first apply vinegar all over, let dry and then apply the cocoa butter.
The cocoa butter will moisturize the skin so you will not peel.
I have been doing this for myself and my kids for about 10 years and we have never had any peeling.
Treat the symptoms and if you don't improve in a day or so, get some medical attention.
Boudreaux's Butt Paste is great for the redness, it's a diaper rash cream but works on just about anything.
I would also drink lots of water to help your skin repair itself quickly!
Editor's Note: Be sure to follow recommended dosages for all painkillers.
Just rub in as much as you can then leave a layer on top, you look like a freak but it will soak in. Repeat as often as it will soak in. AND drink as much water as you can!
For the alternative medicine-minded, find a Reiki practioner. I am fair-skinned and got a nasty lobster red sunburn from being in sun over 4 hours and forgetting to put on sunscreen. My friend, a Master Reiki practitioner and teacher, said let's try it. I - whimpering in pain and with my red skin radiating heat like the sun - said OK. The pain stopped within minutes. The red faded to pink the next day and normal color 2 days later and my skin did not peel at all. Normally I would have been bright red for days, pink for another week and peeling like old wallpaper. She has treated other sunburn victims and found it to work every time. She now guarantees her Reiki treatments for sunburns!
Forget everything you have ever tried before! I have never experienced sunburn like I have today.I was so badly sunburned I thought I needed to go to the hospital. I used "BURNAID" (www.ryepharmaceuticals.com). I was going through the medical cabinet and found this cream, honestly it relieved me completely. Please give this a go because it truly works.
By Robin C
Ibuprofen will help with some of the pain, we always used Noxzema for sunburn as kids. Now we wear lots of sunblock, reapply often and wear hats! Part of getting dressed for my kids is putting on sunblock since we're outside pretty much all day. I'd rather be white and pale then have to deal with melanomas and skin cancers on me or my kids. I love their beautiful skin and want to keep it that way!
Now to get off my soapbox ;-)
Here's what I applied:
Editor's Note: Make sure you don't take too much colloidal silver, it can turn you blue. Silvadene is however a wonderful burn cream.
After I applied these 3 things, I covered the area with non-stick gauze pads (taping them on with paper medical tape). I did this once a day.
When he returned a week later for a follow-up, the doctor was astonished at how well the burn was healing (it was almost completely gone).
Note: Another thing to consider is taking an antioxidant formula containing Vitamins A, C, and E; Zinc and Selenium. These destroy the free radicals that are caused by sun exposure and they protect the cells, thus reducing risk of skin cancer. (Remember: do not take more than the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) unless advised by a health professional as some of these have the potential to become toxic if taken in high doses).
Hope this helps.
By T Babe
By Fried Fishy
Aside from the obvious which is drink LOTS of water while the burn exists, to help keep you hydrated! Take ibuprofen and a multivitamin OR a vitamin C and vitamin E pill. This helps with the pain and inflammation and the free radical damage that's going on.
First, take a cool bath with ground oats (or buy the oatmeal bath packets) and a few tea tree oil drops if available. Secondly, when you get out PAT your skin then mist your ouchies with a spray bottle filled with vinegar/water (I found undiluted vinegar can sting). Allow that to dry up just so it's not dripping, heck, drink a bottle of water while waiting! Then use a GOOD moisturizer preferably without fragrance (I used Vanicream, which can be hard to find and Gold Bond's ultimate healing) and don't be greedy with the lotion/cream, as keeping the skin protected from losing even more moisture will help a TON with the tightness!
You can even alternate and/or overlap taking the ibuprofen and Tylenol. Just remember to drink lots of water while recovering.
Hope this helps someone. I did have relief. Thankfully! I still feel some warmth in the burn, but it's honestly NOTHING like the crazy pain I felt before treating it.
This link has some nifty tips
Boil your water and let a tea bag steep in it, until it is cool. Then take a cotton ball and apply it to your sunburn. Do this twice. It's better at bedtime, so that the tea can work it's magic while you sleep. Don't wash it off until morning. It takes the sting right out of the burn.
Having fair skin and loving to swim, I have had sunburns since I was a child. For mild sunburns (reddened skin, mild heat), I suggest a cool water bath that has vinegar added.
First, take a cool bath to cool the burn. I add lavender which helps take the sting feeling out of the burn. Soak 15-20 minutes. Pat dry.
I recently got a terrible sunburn/windburn while at an all day air show. I was blistered and swollen, it was so bad. I've found THE cure for the worst of sunburns - Solarcaine sunburn pain for the pain plus an anti-inflammatory.
I live in Florida where we see a lot of sunburn cases. The most effective and natural remedy is the Aloe Vera plant. They grow wild here in Florida. Remove one leaf of the aloe plant and keep it in your refrigerator crisper drawer.
I really like the Arnica Gel that you get from your health food stores. I find it works really well right after coming in from outside! Awhile back I had burned my cheek with a curling iron and I put Arnica on it right away.
This is a guide about using aloe vera for sunburns. Aloe vera is well known for its soothing effect on burns.
I keep a bottle of aloe vera in the fridge. It is very soothing.
When I was younger and also many times over the years I have heard, read, and had people tell me to put vinegar on a sunburn. DO NOT do this! Sure, it may work on some people, but for those of us who it doesn't work on, it can cause a lot of pain!
Here is a great idea for summer. Freeze aloe vera gel in an ice cube tray.
Add honey or egg yolk to crushed green grapes and leave on damp skin for 15 minutes. Also, try applying a chamomile extract, crushed strawberries or liquid from a split fresh Aloe Vera leaf.
Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
I have painful, peeling sunburn. It started out with just my chin peeling, because I had used different acne lotion and I went into the sun. Now my face is peeling, the chin, then it went to the nose, the next day it went to my cheeks. My chin is so painful, it burns like crazy when I put moisturizer on to help the tightness and peeling. I can't stand it and I want to know what will at least stop the intense pain.
Sounds like you have more going on beside sunburn; possibly an allergic reaction to the new acne medicine. You might consider seeing a doctor pronto.
How can I help take the sting out? I can't even sleep it's so bad. What can I do? I also have a pretty bad sunburn on my entire face, do you have any ideas on how to help the sting?
I have tried aloe on my windburn and it didn't work.
By Gabrielle A. from Titusville, FL
If you don't mind the smell you can use cider vinegar. You can also brew tea and use the tea bags. These have always worked for me.
For about 2 weeks I've had a sunburn on my scalp. It's annoying and it looks like I have dandruff. It's flaky and looks really bad. I read online to put aloe After Sun on it. I found this stuff around my house called Key Lime Lotion and it's an after sun product. I put a glop in my hair, used a comb and brushed it through. I have to leave this in for 2-3 hours. Is there something easier I can do to get rid of the flakiness, without my hair looking greasy?
By Lovey from MD
The best thing I've ever tried I just learned on a site called Earth Clinic; however, i don't know how it will work for an old burn because I use it for new burns to prevent peeling. Won't hurt to try though. Just take apple cider vinegar (or white will do if you don't have access) and put it on a cotton ball. Gently apply to the burned area and let it dry. It is the only thing I have ever used that seems to instantly allow that trapped heat to escape and your skin goes from hot to the touch to cool to the touch. It prevents blistering and peeling too.
For the dry skin thing, I use extra virgin olive oil... just like someone else said. I use it for an everyday moisturizer too... even on my scalp and face. If you put it on straight out of the shower, it won't be too thick and heavy. I just blot any areas that are too thick with a towel and it feels great!
If you're worried about your hair looking greasy then try (overnight) raw, unpasteurized, unfiltered honey. Just rub some on and wash it out in the morning. Raw honey helps wounds heal so much faster than on their own. Also, I heard that coconut oil works wonders for any sun/skin related thing but I haven't had a chance to try it yet. Coconuts aren't easily accessible here :).
By the way, if you tried or are going to try soaking your hair in olive oil and it doesn't wash out easily, try rinsing it with ACV. After shampooing, dump about a cup on your head (keep your eyes closed! Ouch!) and try to let it set for about 1 minute before rinsing it out. I know it is a great solvent for oily or greasy things because I once put Bag Balm on my scalp to try overnight and when I woke up my hair was matted down with it. I washed it six times within two days and it still didn't come out till someone told me to try vinegar. It came out on the first rinse then.
It's been a week since I swam and got sunburned. My face has peeled. The only problem is both sides of my face, where my cheeks meet my jaws still hasn't peeled! It has a different color there. I don't know if it's going to peel like the rest. Will it?
do you mean to say it will even out eventually without peeling off right?
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I got sunburned really bad on my face, arms and legs over the weekend and now my nose is starting to peel. Looks awful, even starting to get a sore on the side. Is there a homemade recipe or suggestion I can use to lessen the ugliness of this? I am embarrassed to go out, but have to for work. I try to keep moisturizer on it, doesn't seem to help much. Thanks in advance for any and all help with this.
jmz2005 from illinois
Aloe Vera gel works great. (05/16/2007)
I live in Florida, so Bactine or Noxzema works great to help heal the burn. I then use a darker shade of foundation on the face to help hide the redness and blotchy skin. It works for me and I hope it will help you. Another hint is to go to the dollar tree and get the baby 40 SPF sunscreen. We have a pool and none of our 10 grand-kids ever got burnt. For a $1.00 you can't go wrong. Good luck. (05/16/2007)
I know firsthand what you must be going through and can empathize with you. The best product I have used to date when I get sunburned is Aveeno's Daily Moisturizing Lotion with Natural Colloidal Oatmeal. It relieves and protects Dry Skin for 24 hours and is fragrance free. Being a redhead, my skin is very sensitive and dries easily when I get even the slightest bit of sun, and this is the only product that I can use that doesn't dry out my skin and make it feel worse then it already does when I get too much sun. Hope this helps even a little bit, and I hope your burn feels better real soon.
This is my Grandmother's old Norwegian recipe--
Use sour cream straight from the refrigerator. It soothes the burn very well. When it begins to dry, just wash it off and add more as needed. (05/16/2007)
Thank you all for the great suggestions. I will be trying them out. (05/16/2007)
Now that you are peeling, use a gentle exfoliate. You can buy them of course. But you can make your own using plain oatmeal and farina/grits/cream of wheat (depending of which part of the country you're from) and blend them into a fine powder. Add a little warm water and make it into a scrub/mask that helps remove the old/burned skin. After rinsing off, use a good moisturizer that doesn't clog your pores. This is a great scrub for your face as it isn't too harsh. You can use it about once a week or so all the time. (05/17/2007)
We keep our Aloe Vera in the fridge. Great on a burn. Just for future use. Hope this helps. (05/21/2007)
By Christine L.In
Noxzema. I used to burn when I was in my twenties, before I decided to avoid the sun, too late now, but for the future, the idea is to cool the skin ASAP. Believe it or not, if you submerge the skin in ice water for awhile right as you notice the burn, it will slow down the damage. Then you cake on Noxema which actually cools down the skin more, treats the burn medically (and it's cheap). Leave it on awhile, when it's no longer white it's probably served its purpose and you can rinse it off (always with very cold water until the red is completely gone) and then use the Aloe Vera.
A word about the Aloe, it's actually not always 'active' in all its skin protection properties if it's not very fresh. There are two things you can do to ensure this, use only the health food store variety, and it has to be pure gel. Or, do what I do and keep a plant. Open a leaf by splitting it down the middle and either rub it directly on the skin for immediate relief or squeeze out the gel and use it straight from the plant. Don't wash this off.
So, cool the skin with ice water, reinforce that with Noxzema, and follow with truly fresh aloe which you would reapply often. If you have trouble sleeping at night, repeat the ice water and Noxzema. Should reduce the discomfort until you can fall asleep. I hate this situation, and wish you luck! If the sore seems infected, or you are truly miserable, call a doctor or ER and ask for an advice RN. I'm an RN student, and I know they'll talk to you if you call an ER and insist on talking to an RN. Take care! (05/23/2007)
Noxzema will burn some people. I can't use it at all. I would suggest buying some Carnation canned whole milk, refrigerate it, and then dab on the sunburn with cotton balls as needed.
You could even add milk to cool bath water for a "milk bath." (05/26/2007)
Hi. My son went swimming last weekend and got sunburned (ouch!), he is at the peeling stage too. He was going out today and was embarrassed at the peeling on his face, until I got the bottle of St. Ives Alpha-Hydroxy Facial Renewal Lotion out and he applied it. It smoothed it out. It is great for replenishing the skin and soothes it too.
Also, I have found that when you're at the just sunburned stage, here are a few home remedies: first take Ibuprofen immediately and every 4 hrs., mix in a large bowl, one cup of skim milk, 3 cups cold water, add a few ice cubes. After a few minutes, soak a white cotton cloth (a t-shirt will do) in this, and squeeze out excess. Apply to burned area (s) and let it soothe. Repeat every 2 hrs. I learned this from a nurse. When you have to leave the house, use vinegar to spray from a bottle and mix it with cold ice water. Hope this helps! (06/14/2007)
We always use Aloe Vera gel. If we run out, soak a cloth in milk and apply to skin. Keep skin covered for a few days afterward with a long sleeved cotton shirt. (07/28/2007)
Try covering your body with honey! It will soothe your sunburn and honey is a humectant, meaning it attracts and retains moisture. Just smear on honey, leave on for 15 minutes and rinse off with warm water. Then apply some Extra Virgin Olive Oil to moisturize skin. (09/01/2007)
I began to peel after getting sunburned and I did a really "dumb" thing. I used an exfoliator that was too strong to hasten the peeling, and after a week or so I am experiencing burning that is very painful. I hope I haven't done nerve damage to my skin. Bottom line, don't be an idiot and make the mistake I have made. I have made an appointment with my dermatologist. Old enough to know better! (09/02/2007)
I also use Aveeno moisturizing lotion. Works great. (06/08/2008)
This seems extreme but it works; get a small bottle of rubbing alcohol and a small bottle of aspirin. If you want to use it right away, crush the aspirin up and place in alcohol, shake for a minute, then apply to the affected area. It works wonders, but it also promotes peeling so the next day, treat with a skin lotion. It works every time! (06/09/2008)
You can try plain yogurt, not the flavored one, but the plain yogurt. It's supposed to be good. (07/29/2008)
As a pharmacist, we are often first line in sunburn treatment. There is a new product out this year called Sunburn911. I was a skeptic but results back up this product's claims. Really good stuff and gives up to 6 hours of relief as it claims and that is a big plus when you are hurting from sunburn. (07/28/2009)
What is something that you can use to relieve sunburns other than aloe vera gel. I have sensitive skin and I am very light skinned and can't tan.