24 Oct 2019
Summer is almost here, which means swimming, long mornings at the beach, picnics in the park and unfortunately, sunburn. If you’re suffering from irritating sun-damaged skin, these natural home remedies can help relieve the discomfort.
Cover up, wear a hat, re-apply your sunscreen every couple of hours: As Aussies we’re all familiar with the sun smart drill. But the first bursts of spring sunshine can often catch us unaware and underprepared. With warm days sneaking up on us, sun protection isn’t yet front-of mind, occasionally leaving our winter flesh tinged pink after a busy day spent outdoors.
So, if your little one comes home from school with ruby cheeks, or your walk with the dog has left your shoulders glowing, here are some soothing natural home remedies to take the sting out of sun-damaged skin.
The first remedy on our list is an obvious one. Aloe vera is perhaps the most well-known natural treatment for burns and is readily available in both its purest form – taken straight from the humble plant – and as an over-the-counter product. It soothes, is an anti-inflammatory and re-hydrates the skin.
As succulents, aloe vera plants are incredibly easy to grow. They need dry conditions and should be planted in pots with plenty of drainage holes. Once the plant is mature enough, simply cut off a leaf lengthways and gently rub the oozy sap directly onto the skin. Refrigerating the leaf for half an hour or so will cool the sap, making it even more soothing.
Like the plant, tubes of aloe vera gel (bought in your local supermarket or chemist) should be kept in the fridge so that the juice is more soothing. Try to avoid any products with potentially irritating additives and dyes.
Pure Vitamin E is another well-known natural sunburn treatment – when applied topically, it has been clinically proven to sooth the sting of sunburn and reduce any associated scarring. As an antioxidant, it can also help decrease inflammation.
If possible, reach for pure Vitamin E oil capsules, which can be pricked open with a pin and simply massaged directly over the affected area. You can also ingest vitamin E oil, which will help to heal your body from the inside out. The recommended does is up to five capsules per day for up to two days but as with any supplement, consult your doctor first.
Raw honey is a natural antiseptic, so not only will it sooth sunburnt skin when it’s applied topically, it will also kill any bacteria on the affected area and begin the healing process. The best way to work with honey is to spread it carefully onto the skin, cover it with gauze and then let it sit. This will provide nutrition to the damaged tissue and decrease inflammation and swelling.
This one is a little left of centre, but potatoes are also excellent at treating sun damage. That’s thanks to the starch compounds, which can help take the sting out of the burn. For a quick soothing solution, rub slices of potato (flesh side down) along your skin. If the burn is quite raw and blistered, a more comfortable approach is to blend the potato until it’s thick, then soak gauze in the paste before applying it to the affected skin.
Cucumber is a spa staple for its cooling, re-hydrating properties. It’s for the same reasons the fruit is an excellent choice for treating sunburn. Place chilled slices directly onto the tender areas, or gently rub them along the burn. Once the slices come to body temp, simply flip them over and use the other side. You’ll find your skin cools and feels soothed almost instantly.
The fat, protein and pH in dairy products work together to have an extremely soothing effect on sun burnt skin, especially when the product is chilled – the cooler the yoghurt, for example, the more effectively it will reduce the swelling in the area.
Effective treatment ideas include soaking in a milk bath. If you don’t have enough milk to fill a basin, simply soak a cloth in cool milk then lay the compress across the burn.
Plain Greek yoghurt applied topically to the burn will not only cool it immediately and provide hydration, its antibacterial properties will help keep infections at bay.
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
If your Grandmother told you to take a vinegar bath after sunburn, she wasn’t crazy. Apple cider vinegar, specifically, is incredibly effective at treating rashes and burns thanks to its anti-fungal and antiseptic properties. It also rehydrates the skin by restoring it to its natural pH levels.
The best way to use apple cider vinegar is to bathe in it. Add one to two cups of vinegar to a warm bath, then soak in it for as long as is comfortable. If you don’t have apple cider vinegar, a 1/4 cup of baking soda added to your bath will do the same job.
We may not be able to treat your sunburn, but at The Black Truffle, we can certainly help take your mind off it with our delicious, nutritious and refreshing range of summer salads, rolls, drinks and ice creams.