Natural Remedies for Sunburns

| 5/31/2011 10:10:13 AM

S.McCabeSunburns, well, burn. I should know, because I sat outside for an hour this weekend without sunscreen (yes, bad move) and am now left with large, angry red splotches on the tops of my thighs and shoulders. 

To help soothe the burn, Aloe vera is an obvious choice to turn to because it cools the skin and helps decrease the sunburn’s inflammation. However, there are many other lesser-known natural treatments for sunburns, as well.

• Witch hazel: Witch hazel, an all-purpose remedy for skin problems, is a strong astringent that, when applied externally, hardens skin proteins and adds protection to the skin. Treating a sunburn with witch hazel will speed up the healing time and can also help prevent the skin from peeling as it dries out.

5-31-11 witch hazel
Witch hazel is a great treatment for skin problems, from burns to acne.
Photo by Mason Byrand/Courtesy

• Calendula: The flower petals of calendula, or more commonly known as pot marigold, are known for their healing properties. Studies show that calendula has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects, and the plant is able to stimulate new cell growth. Calendula both promotes the healing of burns and also helps prevent infections in the damaged area.

• St. John’s wort: The oil of this herb can be used to alleviate the pain of a sunburn as well as jump-start the healing process. It can also be used to protect the skin and help prevent sunburns in the first place. It should be noted, however, that the oil of St. John’s wort is very powerful and should be well-diluted before being applied to the skin.