Treat Your Sunburn With These Effective Home Remedies

Updated on September 25th, 2019
home remedies for sunburn

As much as you love spending time sunbathing, a small error of inadequate sun protection can leave you red-skinned in the summers. This condition of red and inflammatory skin due to direct sun exposure is called sunburn.

Sunburn is caused because of the ultraviolet radiation present in the sunlight. When the UV rays hit your skin, a group of pigments called melanin to absorb it to protect the body from further harm.

Melanin is responsible for the color of your skin. When the skin is exposed to UV rays, it speeds up the production of melanin as a defense mechanism and results in a tan.

However, the melanin shield in not infallible; some rays sneak past and damage the cells, causing inflammation.

Did You Know?

People with lighter skin are more prone to getting sunburned(1). This is because they have less melanin. They are also at a higher risk of getting affected with skin cancer compared to darker-skinned people.

If you’re dealing with tender, red, sunburnt skin, below are a few home remedies for sunburn to help you soothe it.

Home Remedies for Sunburn

1. Ice

ice cubes
Image: Shutterstock

Why Use It?

The application of ice dissipates the heat from the burn site and provides a cooling effect. A cold compress made of ice is a first action step for sunburn.

How to Use?

Place 2-3 ice cubes in a hand towel or cotton cloth and apply it on the sunburnt area. You don’t want to apply the ice directly. It may worsen the situation and result in a cold burn on top of the sunburn. This can be repeated 3-4 times a day till the burning sensation subsides.

[Read: Amazing Ways to Treat Sunburn]

Did You Know?

Snow(2) reflects the sun and increases your chance of a sunburn.

2. Aloe Vera for Sunburn

Why Use It?

Aloe vera gel has anti-inflammatory and moisturizing properties that calms the affected area and prevents the skin from flaking. Aloe vera is also very soothing for sensitive skin and is a great home remedy for sunburn on the face.

How to Use?

Cut open an aloe vera leaf and scoop out the gel. Apply it directly on the burnt area twice a day. You can also place it in the refrigerator for 15-20 mins before applying it for added comfort.

3. Coconut Oil for Sunburn

Coconut Oil

Why Use It?

Coconut oil is rich in saturated fats which helps keep the skin moisturized. Its moisturizing properties help with dryness and itchiness caused because of sunburn.

How to Use?

Coconut oil can either be applied directly to the affected area or mixed with aloe vera gel for better results. Apply it regularly for a week for faster results.

[Read: Coconut Oil for Treating Sunburns]

4. Tomato for Sunburn

Why Use It?

Tomatoes ease the inflammation and alleviate the redness caused by the sunburn because of lycopene, an antioxidant present in it.

How to Use?

Take a tomato and blend it to form a puree. Place it in the refrigerator to cool before applying it to the burnt area. Upon applying the puree, let it remain there until it no longer feels as cold. After that, proceed to gently wipe the puree with a damp cloth. Repeat the process 2-3 times a day.

As good as the topical application of tomatoes feels on the sunburnt area, eating them can also help protect you against the UV rays. This is because of the presence of the antioxidant, lycopene, which also gives the tomato its red color. Lycopene helps the body shield itself from the harmful UV rays.

5. White Vinegar for Sunburn

White Vinegar

Why Use It?

White Vinegar is widely used for treating sunburn. It contains acetic acid which helps relieve pain, inflammation, and itching.

How to Use?

Soak paper towels in white vinegar and use it as a compress on the sunburnt area. Keep it till the paper towels dry. As another option, you can add a cup of white vinegar in the bath and soak in it for 20 mins once every day.

6. Apple Cider Vinegar for Sunburn

Why Use It?

Apple cider vinegar has anti-bacterial and cooling effects which are ideal for relieving the itchiness caused by sunburn.

How to Use?

Soak a towel in a mixture of cold water and apple cider vinegar in a 1:1 ratio and apply it gently on the affected area thrice a day. Dilution with water is essential as the direct application may lead to dryness and discomfort.

[Read: Apple Cider Vinegar for Sunburn]

7. Yogurt

Yogurt Benefits

Why Use It?

The presence of Lactic acid in the greek yogurt gives it its anti-inflammatory properties. It also has lightening agents that help with de-tanning.

How to Use?

Apply chilled yogurt topically on the affected area before you shower in the morning. Let it dry and wash it off afterward in the shower.

[Read: Essential Oils for Sunburn]

8. Milk

Why Use It?

Milk contains vitamins A and D which are antioxidants and aid in healing. Similar to yogurt, milk is also a lightening agent and helps in de-tanning.

How to Use?

Soak a washcloth in milk, keep it to cool in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes, and apply it as a cold compress on the affected area at least 3-4 times a day. Alternatively, you can also soak yourself in a milk bath for easing the sunburnt area once a week.

9. Cocoa Butter for Sunburn

Cocoa Butter

Why Use It?

The skin is very irritable and itchy after being sunburnt and can turn out to be a nuisance if left unattended. Not all moisturizers can be applied to burns. Cocoa butter is specifically recommended for sunburn because it melts at the body’s nominal temperature, making it easy for the body to absorb it.

How to Use?

Apply the cocoa butter directly on the burnt area 2-3 times a day.

[Read: Natural Treatments for Burns]

Did You Know?

The sun’s UV rays are at their strongest during the hours of 10 AM to 4 PM(3). It is recommended to stay out of the sun during this time.


Before using the above remedies for sunburn, please identify whether the burns are critical and require medical attention or not. The below-mentioned symptoms will give you an idea of the severity of the burns:

  1. Blisters forming on the affected areas.
  2. Fever, nausea, and/or vomiting.
  3. Any kind of pus or liquid discharge from the burns.

If any of the above symptoms exist, take a quick trip to the doctor.

No matter how regular and diligent you are with your sunscreen application regimen, you can still be susceptible to it. The above-mentioned remedies will not only help you with tending to the sunburnt area but are also good skincare tips for all the times you are exposed to the sun.

An extended amount of time spent under the sun leaves your skin vulnerable to premature ageing and pigmentation. Use these home staple hacks for healthy and moist skin even when you are not noticeably sunburnt!


1. Can One Take a Cold Shower Instead of a Cold Compress?

Yes, as an immediate course of action, you can take a cold shower to soothe the burn. However, a cold compress is more effective.

2. Is Apple Cider Vinegar Good for Sunburn and Does It Sting on Application?

Yes, apple cider vinegar is a great remedy for sunburn and you will feel a slight sting on its application. To reduce the sensation, dilute the compress with cold water.

3. Is Coconut Oil Good for Sunburn and Are There Any Alternatives to It?

Yes, coconut oil is good for sunburn because it contains saturated fats that help moisturize the skin. You can also use olive oil if coconut oil is not readily available. Olive oil is a natural moisturizer and will help with the itching and dryness.

4. Is Aloe Vera Good for Sunburn If Consumed Directly?

No, aloe vera is good for sunburn only if applied topically. Oral consumption of aloe vera has other benefits but it does not help with sunburn.

5. Can You Get Sunburnt on a Cloudy Day?

Yes, the sun rays on a cloudy day too can harm your skin. It is a common myth that you can’t get sunburned on a rainy/cloudy day.

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