Are you feeling a little red in the face?

Did you spend a little too much time frolicking in the sun, only to be left with a fiery, painful sunburn? 

Fear not, my overly sun-kissed friend! 

You don’t have to suffer in silence or restore to slathering yourself in aloe for the next week.

Natural remedies from your kitchen can come to the rescue and provide some relief. Because who needs to spend a small fortune on expensive creams and lotions when you can raid your pantry for some sunburn-soothing goodness?

What is a sunburn?

So, what is a sunburn exactly? By standard definition, a sunburn is inflammation of the skin that occurs when the skin is exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight or other sources. 

When UV radiation penetrates the skin, it damages the DNA in the skin cells, and the body responds to this damage by sending extra blood flow to the affected area. This is what causes the redness and inflammation associated with sunburn. If the exposure to UV radiation is severe enough, it can also cause the skin to blister and peel.

What causes sunburns?

Sunburns are primarily caused by exposure to UV radiation from the sun that is invisible to the naked eye but can be harmful to the skin in high doses. 

When the skin is exposed to UV radiation, it triggers a response in the body to produce more melanin, the pigment that gives the skin its color and helps protect it from UV radiation. People with more melanin in their skin have a natural defense against UV radiation and are less likely to burn.  

However, If the skin is exposed to too much UV radiation, the body’s natural defense mechanisms become overwhelmed, and the skin becomes damaged. This is ultimately what causes sunburn.   

Sunburn Symptoms

The symptoms of a sunburn can vary depending on the severity of the burn, but symptoms typically appear within a few hours after exposure to the sun and can include:

  • Redness
  • Pain and tenderness
  • Swelling
  • Blisters
  • Itching
  • Headache and fever
  • Dehydration

Repeated exposure to UV radiation can lead to other symptoms, including premature aging of the skin and an increased risk of skin cancer. If you experience severe symptoms such as blistering, fever, or chills, or if your sunburn covers a large area of your body, it’s essential to seek medical attention.

Conventional Sunburn Treatments

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends several conventional treatments for sunburn, including:

  • Cool baths or showers: Taking a cool bath or shower can help soothe the skin and reduce inflammation.
  • Moisturizers: Applying a moisturizing lotion or cream can help keep the skin hydrated and reduce peeling.
  • Aloe vera: Applying aloe vera gel to sunburned skin can help soothe the skin and reduce inflammation.
  • Pain relievers: Over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin or ibuprofen can help reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Hydration: Drinking plenty of fluids can help prevent dehydration and promote healing. 

It’s also essential to avoid further sun exposure or cover sunburned skin until the sunburn has healed. And while these treatments can help relieve mild to moderate sunburns, the best way to prevent sunburn is to protect your skin from UV radiation by wearing protective clothing, sunscreen, and seeking shade.

5 Natural Remedies to Make Sunburn Go Away Fast

While prevention is always the best way to avoid sunburn, natural remedies can also provide relief from its symptoms – some that you can find right in your kitchen. These remedies can help reduce inflammation, soothe the skin, and promote healing.

Try these 5 natural remedies to make sunburn go away fast.

1. Topical Treatments You Can Find In Your Kitchen

Did you know your kitchen may hold the key to treating sunburn? You can find several effective topical treatments in your own pantry that can relieve sunburn symptoms such as pain and inflammation. These natural remedies are not only easy to use but also help to soothe and heal sunburned skin.


Oatmeal contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds that can help reduce inflammation, soothe irritated skin, and promote healing. 

Add a cup of uncooked oatmeal to a bathtub filled with cool water and soak for 20-30 minutes. Then, gently pat your skin dry with a towel. You can also make an oatmeal paste by mixing equal parts of oatmeal and water until it forms a thick paste. Apply the paste directly to the sunburned area and leave it on for 15-20 minutes before rinsing off with cool water.


Milk contains lactic acid, which can help exfoliate and soothe the skin, as well as proteins and fats that can help moisturize and reduce inflammation.

Soak a clean cloth or cotton ball in cool milk and gently apply it to the sunburned area. Leave the milk for 15-20 minutes, then rinse it with cool water. You can also mix milk and water in a  spray bottle and spritz it onto your skin for a cooling and moisturizing effect.


Yogurt contains probiotics and enzymes that can help reduce inflammation and promote healing, as well as lactic acid, which can help exfoliate the skin and reduce redness.

Choose plain, unsweetened yogurt and apply a thick layer to the sunburned area. Leave the yogurt for 15-20 minutes, then rinse it with cool water. Add a tablespoon of honey to the yogurt for added moisturizing benefits. Try mixing yogurt with aloe vera gel for additional anti-inflammatory and cooling properties.

2. Aloe Vera and Coconut Oil

Aloe vera and coconut oil can be used together to help heal and soothe sunburned skin. Aloe vera contains anti-inflammatory and cooling properties, which can help reduce redness and pain, while coconut oil has moisturizing and healing properties that can help restore damaged skin.

First, clean the sunburned area with cool water and a gentle cleanser. Then, apply the aloe vera gel directly to the sunburn and let it dry. Once the aloe has dried, apply a thin layer of coconut oil over the sunburned area. The coconut oil will help lock in moisture and promote healing. 

You can also mix equal parts of aloe and coconut oil to make a DIY sunburn relief cream. Mix the two until they form a smooth, creamy texture, then apply them to your sunburn.

3. Hydrating Foods

In addition to topical remedies, hydrating foods can help heal and soothe sunburned skin from the inside out. These foods are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can help promote skin health and reduce inflammation.

Here are some examples of hydrating foods that can help heal sunburn:

  • Watermelon: Watermelon is 92% water and is rich in vitamins A and C, which can help promote skin health while helping you stay hydrated.
  • Cucumber: Cucumber is 95% water and is rich in vitamin C, which can help reduce inflammation and redness.
  • Coconut water: This natural electrolyte drink helps restore lost fluids and is rich in antioxidants and minerals that promote skin health.
  • Leafy greens: Greens like spinach, kale, and collard greens are rich in vitamins A and C, which can help reduce inflammation and are also hydrating.

4. Very Diluted Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, which can help reduce pain and inflammation and has antibacterial properties to help prevent infections. 

Dilute the vinegar with equal parts water and apply it to the sunburned area using a clean cloth or cotton ball. Leave the solution for 10-15 minutes, then rinse it with cool water. You can also add a cup of apple cider vinegar to a cool bath and soak in it for 10-15 minutes.  

Undiluted apple cider vinegar can be too harsh for sunburned skin and cause further irritation. Always dilute it with water before applying it to the skin.

5. Diluted Essential Oils

Essential oils contain properties that can reduce inflammation, promote healing, and provide a cooling sensation to help relieve pain and discomfort.

When you have a sunburn, your skin will be more sensitive, so avoid applying essential oils directly onto your skin and dilute them with a carrier oil before using them on your skin. 

Dilute essential oils with a carrier oil such as coconut or jojoba oil and apply them to the sunburned area. You can also add a few drops to a cool bath or mix them with aloe vera gel for a cooling, soothing effect. 

Here are some dilute essential oils you can use to help heal sunburn:

  • Lavender oil: Lavender oil is known for its calming and soothing properties and can help reduce inflammation and promote healing. Some people notice more sun sensitivity when using lavender oil, so continue to be mindful of your sun exposure.
  • Peppermint oil: Peppermint oil has a cooling effect that can help relieve the heat and pain of a sunburn. 
  • Tea tree oil: Tea tree oil has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help prevent infection and reduce inflammation in sunburned skin. This is one essential oil that you always dilute prior to placing on the skin, sunburn or not. 
  • Eucalyptus oil: Eucalyptus oil has a cooling effect that can help relieve pain and discomfort from a sunburn.  

Remember that essential oils should always be diluted before applying them to the skin, as they can be too harsh and cause further irritation if used undiluted.

Sunburn Prevention

While natural remedies can be effective, it’s important to remember that prevention is key when it comes to sunburn. Here are some tips to help prevent sunburn:

  • Be aware of the UV index in your part of the world at different times of day. Ramp up your sun protection when the UV index is 3 or more. Sunrise and sunset are the best times to be outside to receive natural light with the lowest UV index.
  • Wear protective clothing made from lightweight and breathable fabrics
  • Use sunscreen on all exposed skin and reapply at least every two hours
  • Seek shade during the hottest parts of the day
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV rays
  • Avoid tanning beds
  • Stay hydrated

Even if you take precautions to prevent sunburn, it’s still important to regularly check your skin for changes and to see a dermatologist if you notice anything unusual.

Functional Medicine Dermatology in Scottsdale, Arizona

Ready to experience my full-body, inside AND out, approach to skincare at the Arizona Wellness Center in Scottsdale, AZ? If you live in Arizona, call to schedule your personalized functional medicine dermatology consultation with me today!