The best home remedies to help with sunburn

Soothe sunburn with things lying around your home (Picture: Getty)

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s scorching outside.

But as much as we love the sun, we don’t love the sunburn that can come with it.

Sometimes we can take all the right precautions (the sunhat, sunglasses and lashings of SPF) but simply lose track of the amount of time we’ve spent outside.

If you do find yourself with telltale red lines, there are some simple home remedies which can help.

Of course, it’s worth pointing out that sunburn should be avoided at all costs – as it can result in more serious problems, such as skin cancer, further down the line.

But for those who accidentally burn and need help with it ASAP, here are some easy things to try using things you’d find around the house…

Coconut oil

While coconut oil has often been cited as a good home remedy for sunburn, there’s little research to back up that it actually helps bring it down.

However – due to its high fat content – it has great moisturising and nourishing properties which can help alleviate dryness and itching.

A cool shower/bath

Sunburn gives off a small amount of heat – making it warm to touch – because of the concentration of blood involved in the healing process.

This means we can feel warm and uncomfortable after sunburn, but a cool shower can help.

Ada Ooi, founder of 001 Skincare, tells ‘I recommend taking cool baths or showers to alleviate the discomfort. You may wish to just use water and skip using any foaming body cleansing products because they can dry out skin more.’


Beauty expert and co-founder of Raw Beauty Lab Sonia Bainbridge has a lesser-known hack to try which involves a familiar vegetable.

She tells ‘Whilst it might seem counterintuitive, applying slices of tomato to the sunburnt skin can do wonders to alleviate both the heat and redness from a burn. This is one of my favourite after-sun hacks from long summers spent on Australian beaches. 

‘Tomatoes are packed with a powerful antioxidant, lycopene, that can not only help protect the skin from UV damage if consumed but will also help to alleviate redness post-burn.’

Shaving foam

Shaving foam is designed to prep the skin for a shave, so has soothing and hydrating properties.

It makes sense, then, that some people find this helps with their sunburn.

Dr. Joshua Zeichner told Healthline:  ‘Some shaving creams also contain menthol, which has cooling and anti-inflammatory benefits. This also may explain why some people report skin benefits as a hack treatment for sunburn.’

Lavender oil

Bianca Estelle, a skin specialist and medical aesthetician, explains that a certain essential oil could help with sore skin.

She says: ‘Lavender boasts anti-inflammatory properties. It also helps to relieve the pain and discomfort associated with sunburn and it can aid the skin’s natural healing process.’

Rose water (made from rose petals and distilled water)

Dr Nitasha Buldeo, founder of Organic Apoteke, says rose water can soothe, heal and cool burnt skin and scalps.

She comments: ‘I remember as a child playing out in the South African sun all day and complaining to my grandmother that I had a headache. Out came the home distilled rose water. She poured a small amount onto her palms and then would put it onto the crown of my head applying pressure as she allowed the rosewater to be absorbed by hair and scalp. 

‘If smelled wonderful and always worked. Rosewater was also sprayed on red, inflamed sun burned skin to soothe and heal.’

Greek yoghurt 

Your fridge is likely to hold some unexpected ingredients which can help soothe sunburn.

Dr Rita Rakus says: ‘Greek yoghurt is very calming and soothing for the skin, packed with lactic acid which is known to soothe the skin and probiotics which helps to soothe inflammation on the skin.’

Apple cider vinegar (but with caution!)

Apple cider vinegar (which is diluted with water) has been known to help with sunburn due to its antibacterial, cooling effect.

However, it’s worth pointing out that apple cider vinegar can sometimes cause its own burns – so it’s not recommended by dermatologists.

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