With my very fair skin, all it takes is ten minutes under the harsh summer sun and I begin to burn. My usual sunburn remedy consists of slathering aloe vera onto my skin and then lying in front of a floor fan to cool off. However, aloe vera isn’t the only herbal remedy for burn relief. Many herbs can help protect skin and soothe it after a burn. Here are my four favorites.
1. Aloe vera, the common go-to sunburn remedy, helps heal and relieve skin. Whether it is in the form of a store-bought gel or came straight from its leaves, aloe leaves a noticeable cooling sensation on burned skin. This herb works most effectively on minor burns.
The juice from aloe leaves can help heal minor burns.
Photo by Powerhouse Museum/courtesy Flickr
Try Pure Aloe Vera Gel by Aubrey Organics, $7.78. This four-ounce bottle is 98 percent organic.
2. Chickweed, best known for relieving itchy skin, also works well for healing sunburns because of its cooling effects. This herb can be used immediately by pulling some up from the ground and applying it to the affected area. Another method is to crush some with a mortar and pestle into a paste and bandage it on the wound.
3. Green tea, the delicious hot drink you sip to soothe a sore throat, also works to relieve sunburns. The antioxidants in this herb help heal skin damage caused by ultraviolet rays. You can benefit from applying the tea to the burn externally and also by drinking it.
Try this recipe for a soothing aloe-green-tea-lavender mist.
• 1/4 cup brewed green tea
• 1/4 cup aloe vera juice
• 1/4 teaspoon lavender essential oil
1. Mix together cool green tea, aloe and lavender essential oil in a spray bottle. Shake well. Spray liberally onto skin as often as desired.
2. Refrigerate, and use within two weeks.
4. Since lavender has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties it is great for soothing sunburns. Add lavender essential oil to a cool bath for immediate relief.
Although these herbs work well for soothing sunburns, there’s nothing worse than having skin that resembles a tomato. The real key is prevention. When out in the sun, stay in the shade as much as possible and make sure to wear sunscreen.
For an organic sunscreen option, try SPF 30 Organic Lavender Face and Body Sun Protection by Tuscan Heights Lavender Gardens, $15.30.
References: Backyard Medicine: Harvest and Make Your Own Herbal Remedies by Julie Bruton-Seal and Matthew Seal (Skyhorse Publishing, 2009)