Three Old-Fashioned Remedies for Severe Sunburn

Updated April 13, 2022
Young woman using aloe vera in her hands

After a day in the sun, a home remedy for your sunburn may not be the first treatment option that comes to mind for your tender, burning skin. There are several over-the-counter medicated sunburn sprays available. While those products are often easy to use, some people find the chemicals to be harsh. And there may be times when you can't get to a store that carries the product you need.

Often, the best cure for a sunburn is an old-fashioned remedy made from common items found around the house.

Three Home Remedies for Sunburn

There's no need to spend money on pricey sunburn treatments. Mother nature provides many natural methods to treat your skin when it has been damaged by the sun.


Oatmeal may be nature's perfect grain. Oatmeal is delicious as a meal, and it can also soothe skin that has been damaged or irritated by bug bits, mild eczema, poison ivy, or a sunburn. It is a natural, chemical-free product that belongs in every medicine cabinet or pantry.

Oatmeal face mask in wooden bowl with spoon

Follow these steps to treat severe sunburn with oatmeal:

  1. Cook oatmeal as directed on the package. Add a little more water than indicated to make a runnier consistency.
  2. Allow the oatmeal to cool completely.
  3. Apply liberally to damaged skin, being careful not to rub the oatmeal too hard.
  4. Leave oatmeal on the skin until the desired level of relief is obtained
  5. Rinse off with cool water.
  6. Reapply as often as needed, do not reuse the oats.

There are also over-the-counter oatmeal products available. Aveeno skincare is found in the health and beauty section of most grocery stores and pharmacies. Oatmeal-infused products such as mild cleansers and bath soaks may offer the same relief without the mess.

Black Tea

Black tea has many different uses for skin and body. It is perfect for treating puffy eyes and it is rich and full of antioxidants to keep your cells healthy. And studies have shown that black tea can help treat skin that has been damaged by UV rays.

Black tea on a table

To treat irritated and damaged skin with black tea:

  1. Soak several black tea bags in cool water to allow the tannins to release. When the water darkens, the tea-infused water and the bags are ready.
  2. Place the cool, wet teabags on the burned skin for a period of ten to twenty minutes. You may also soak a cloth in the tea-infused water and pat the sunburned skin.

Black tea will help reduce the heat, pain, and sting of your skin. It will also leave a warm glow, which is much more favorable than the reddened, irritated skin.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is probably the most well-known, old-fashioned sunburn remedy. Many people living in coastal communities grow aloe vera to soothe their skin during the heated summer months. Aloe is a succulent plant and is very easy to grow, perfect for a sunny windowsill or Zen garden. And research shows that aloe vera is helpful for retaining skin moisture and integrity.

Women preparing Aloe Vera gel

To treat your sunburn with aloe vera:

  1. Rip off a chunky stalk of your aloe vera plant.
  2. Tear open the juicy leaf and apply the live aloe directly onto the burned skin.

If you do not have a live aloe plant at your disposal, aloe vera gel is available on most grocery store and pharmacy shelves. Pick up a bottle and leave it in your medicine cabinet year-round for treatment of your sunburn or dry skin.

Tips for Safe Sunburn Treatment

If you're searching for additional old-fashioned treatments and home remedies to treat a sunburn, seek the help of an herbalist or homeopathic specialist. They may have books full of ancient treatment recipes.

You can also reach out to your dermatologist who can provide medical and non-medical treatments. For instance, vitamin E gel caps, saltwater, white and apple cider vinegar, as well as baking soda have been known to help soothe and heal sunburn naturally.

Gentle, Safe Remedies

Natural sunburn remedies are perfect for everyone, especially young children who should avoid chemicals and topical treatments. It's best to immediately stop the use of perfumed fragrant lotions, oils or chemical products throughout the healing process, as they can contribute to the uncomfortable pain, stinging and irritation that accompanies severe sunburn.

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Three Old-Fashioned Remedies for Severe Sunburn