Summer is here! Time to fire up the barbie and crack open a few bevvies as our friends down under would say.
While the benefits of sunscreen are well known, it would be socially irresponsible not to mention the dangers of sun exposure at all. To sum it up; make sure to always wear sunscreen of a respectable factor, reapply regularly as per the instructions on the bottle and seek shade during peak hours.
That said, sometimes in life stuff happens and you get a sunburn. Store bought after-sun creams can be expensive and are often packed with chemicals and parabens. Look after your skin and your purse with these 10 all-natural skin soothing sunburn remedies.
1. Aloe Vera gel
Delicious, gooey green goodness packed full of moisture, vitamins and antioxidants. Aloe vera is one of the oldest and most popular sunburn remedies in the book. Find pure aloe vera gel in your local health food shop. Make sure that it is 100% pure aloe vera (99% will do) and not a fragranced body lotion, as these imitations will not work and are likely to sting!
2. Cucumber paste
Cool two cucumbers in the fridge then whizz them up in a blender. Add in a little cornstarch for a thicker paste that is less messy to apply. Aloe vera gel can also be added for an extra boost.
3. Coconut oil
This tropical all-rounder is healing in many ways, from being a natural alternative to hair conditioner and lip balm to a nutritional superstar; it is also one of the best sunburn remedies around.
4. Chilled milk
The good old white stuff is rich in protein and when applied using a simple compress will instantly cool and form a protective layer on the skin, aiding the healing process. Make a compress out of gauze or soft flannel and soak it fully in a bowl of chilled milk. Let any excess liquid drain off and then press down gently over the burn, leaving it in place for at least ten minutes.
Another summer lifesaver you probably already have in your kitchen cabinet is cornstarch. Make a paste by mixing it well with chilled water. Apply the paste gently to the affected area and leave until the skin has cooled down. You might want to do this one in the bath if you have extensive areas of sunburn as it can be a bit messy!
6. Baking soda
As above. Just replace the cornstarch with baking soda.
7. Black tea
The tannin and antioxidants in tea make it a great sunburn remedy. Soak teabags in a bucket of cool water until the tannin has released and the water is brown. Place the teabags on sore spots and soak a flannel in the bucket of water to use as a compress for larger areas. Alternatively, if you are feeling brave and adventurous, run a cool to tepid bath, pop in a box of teabags and hop right in.
Oats are rich in polysaccharides which will moisturize, coat and heal burned skin. Cook up some porridge in the usual way (fine-milled oats are best), adding a little extra water for a runnier consistency. Wait for the oatmeal to cool to room temperature and then smear it over your skin. Do not rub the paste around as it will exfoliate and damage fragile skin.
9. Vitamin E
Vitamin E can be applied following an initial cooling treatment to aid skin healing. Break a capsule and spread gently over the affected area to help reduce visible signs of sun damage forming such as wrinkles and sun spots.
10. Kukui Nut oil
OK, so you might not just happen to have this one lying around in your kitchen, and being as exotic as it sounds it might cost a little more. However, it’s intriguing name and history make it an interesting number 10. The kukui tree is the state tree of Hawaii and was originally introduced to Hawaii from Polynesia. The nuts are often used as a cooking ingredient and the oil from the nuts has been used as a natural sunburn remedy by Hawaiian natives for over 1,500 years.
It is always important to drink around 2 liters of water a day. When you have sunburn and sunstroke it is even more important to drink up as you need to re-hydrate your body. These remedies are recommended for mild to moderate cases of sunburn. If you are really frazzled please consult a medical professional.
Featured photo credit: Daniel Lobo via flickr.com