I’ve spoken before about my largely Peace Corps induced fear of the sun, but it actually dates back further. Being of Italian and Jewish heritage, you’d think I would have the same rich, olive complexion as my beautiful sister. But while I got the same curly mop of hair, I inherited, from who knows where, pale, dry, sun-sensitive skin.
The trouble is that I adore being outside in fresh air all year round. And the result is that I’ve had to overcome my fair share of painful, sizzling sunburns, despite my best efforts to apply and reapply sunscreen and stay in the shade.
So unless you have next-level burns that need medical treatment, here are a few of my most soothing go-to remedies for home healing.
This is the classic remedy we all remember our moms slathering on us after a day at the beach—and for good reason! Aloe has anti-inflammatory properties that help soothe sun-damaged skin and restore nutrients. It’s also water-based which aids in rehydrating your skin after all the moisture has been sucked out from a day in the sun.
If you’re trying to re-establish the water in your skin, you might as well immerse yourself in it. Soak in a cool bath for about 30 minutes to reduce the heat coming off your body, and add some soothing household ingredients to the bath that will help your skin heal even faster. Some of the most effective are apple cider vinegar, which will help restore the pH balance of your skin and fight off potential infection, oatmeal, which reduces inflammation and redness, baking soda, which is antiseptic and will relieve itching and burning caused by sun exposure, and black tea, which has antioxidants and tannins that help protect against the damage caused by UV rays. You can also add gentle essential oils, including peppermint, lavender, and frankincense.
Unless you want to be shedding skin flakes for the next couple of weeks, you absolutely must moisturize. I moisturize my sunburns up to 3 or 4 times a day to avoid pealing, and it’s been extremely effective, especially if using a moisturizer that contains aloe or oatmeal. Moringa oil also contains lots of Vitamin E and deeply moisturizing fatty acids that will help restore your skin to its pre-burn glow, especially if used following a water-based toning mist.