Sunburned? You’re not alone. Roughly half of all adults report getting burned at least once in the last year, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.
Whether you skipped the sunscreen, happened to miss a spot when you put it on, or stayed out a little too long and forgot to reapply, the end result is painful. While there isn’t anything you can do to reverse the damage to your skin, you can find something to soothe the sting right in your own kitchen.
Fixes can’t get much simpler than water. Take a shower in cool water to drain some of sunburn’s heat from your skin. Drinking an extra glass of water will help you recover as well. Dehydration is a common side effect of sunburn.
Soak a face cloth or towel in cold milk, wring out the excess and apply it to your skin for 15 to 20 minutes. The milk causes a film of protein to form that eases sunburn pain.
Wrap ice in a towel to make a cold compress and let it rest on your sore spots. While not especially useful for full-body burns, this trick comes in handy if you just missed a spot or two.
4. Baking Soda
It cleans, deodorizes, substitutes for shampoo and makes delicious Irish soda bread rise. Is there anything baking soda isn’t good for? Add two-thirds of a cup or so to a lukewarm bath, and the baking soda’s alkalinity and antiseptic properties will soothe and cleanse your skin.
When slicing up a few cucumbers for your lunch salad, try mashing some up in a food processor or blender and applying the resulting paste to your tender skin. Cukes reportedly have both pain-relieving properties and natural antioxidants that may benefit your skin.
6. Apple Cider Vinegar
Another multipurpose product, apple cider vinegar is touted as a natural remedy for many issues. For sunburn relief, add it to your bath. Or, if you’re too sore to climb in and out of the tub, soak a cloth in a basin of diluted vinegar, wring it out and apply it to your skin.
Widely recommended for eczema and sensitive skin, oatmeal has a reputation for making troubled skin happier. That’s because oatmeal has anti-inflammatory properties, antioxidants that encourage healing and emollients that help skin stay hydrated. Add some to a lukewarm bath and soak to ease itch and soreness.
Potatoes are fantastic for both making French fries and soothing skin fried by sunburn. Cut or grate a raw potato and spread the pulp or juice on your skin. The veggie’s starch will act as a sunburn remedy and help alleviate the pain.
9. Black tea
Who doesn’t love iced tea in the summertime? When you fix yourself a glass to drink, make an extra serving for your skin. After the tea cools, dab it on your skin with a cotton ball or clean cloth. Tea’s tannic acid helps cool skin and restore its pH balance.
If you don’t mind a slightly sticky situation, slather this sweet stuff on. Studies suggest that raw, unprocessed honey is actually more effective than some antibiotic ointments at reducing infection, easing pain and helping skin heal.
The best way to take the sting out of sunburn pain is to avoid getting burned in the first place. But when prevention fails, it’s nice to know that relief is as close as your own kitchen.