Aloe vera for sunburn; that's almost a given nowadays in most parts of the world. If you do any research, something we suddenly have time for when we are burning up from a sunburn, you will find on just about evey such page, and often at the top, the recommendation to use aloe vera to sooth and heal your sunburn.
If you have access to a live aloe vera plant, your best option is to break off a leaf, slice it open and lightly smear the open gel side on your sunburn. Have someone else continue on the areas of your sunburn that you cannot reach. This will greatly ease the burning sensation, and will keep your skin from blistering and peeling.
These days I have aloe vera spray in a bottle, and oh, is that ever a delicious feeling to spray it on a burn or itchy spot on my skin! Definitely, my first choice is aloe vera for sunburn!
Or, if you have some aloe vera juice pour that carefully over your sunburn. It too, should give great relief. The more pure the aloe vera juice, the better for your sunburn.
I do know of one other remedy that will do a good job. Back in 1977 I had flown home to my parents' place in Saskatchewan for my sister's wedding. She and her husband had a very short weekend honeymoon because he had to get back to work. So the following week, Elsie and I rounded up our younger sister Erma, and our cousin June, and we all drove up north to Waskisiu Park to lie on the beach and catch up with each other's news. There was some cloud and a breeze, so we didn't notice that the sun had scalded our backs and arms. By the time we had returned to Mom and Dad's house, after dropping off June, all three of us sisters had serious sunburns. I did not know about aloe vera for sunburn at that time.
Fortunately, I had brought with me a spray can of Vitamin E oil. We sprayed each other and sighed with relief as the cool oil cancelled out the heat in our skins. Normally, after a sunburn I've had to peel myself, plucking those thin, transparent layers of skin for a week or more. As I recall, that time there was not much peeling, and in a few days my red skin had turned into a lovely light brown tan.
If you do not have an aloe vera plant, and don't know of any neighbours or friends who do (which should be quite rare), then the next best thing is to buy and keep on hand some aloe vera products. To be helpful, I'm collecting a list of products that should do the job, and I'll be adding to it below. However, in a pinch you might need a few other home remedies you can try.
First though, a no-no. Don't put ointments and cremes on your sunburn before you have cooled off the internal heat. Otherwise you are locking that heat into your skin and flesh and it will go inside and give you other problems, such as heat stroke or an upset stomach, and so forth. Some of the remedies below work to bring out the heat first. Then you can apply other products to ease the pain.
Also, take some aspirin, or pain killer for at least the first day or two, so you don't have to whimper and cry with the pain, and can get some sleep.
If you don't have the aloe vera for sunburn (plant, juice, or prepared products with aloe vera gel or juice in them), then you could try;
Vitamin E oil or spray, or vitamin E capsules. Puncture the capsules with a needle and squeeze the oil onto your sunburn. Slow work but it will help a lot like aloe vera for sunburn.
Olive oil, or a baby oil is another sunburn remedy.
Apple cider vinegar can be dabbed with a cotton ball, or wet a folded cotton cloth with the apple cider vinegar and lay it over the burn. It will draw the heat out.
Baking soda mixed with water can be used the same way.
20 Drops of essential oils in water can also be used that way. The herbs that work best are - Calendula, lavender, or peppermint.
Herbal teas - if you don't have the drops, make a tea of the dried leaves those same plants, calendula, lavender, or peppermint, and when the tea is cooled down, dab it on your sunburn, or simply soak a light plain cotton cloth in the tea, wring out only lightly, so it stays well moistened, and lay over the sunburned areas.
Got cucumbers? Slice some fresh cucumbers length-wise and lay those slices over the sunburn. (Ah, how soothing! Almost like aloe vera for sunburn).
Lemon juice will work too. Even the juice in a bottle of RealLemon which may be in your fridge. Besides cooling your sunburn it will disinfect the skin and prevent infection.
Oatmeal - soak some oatmeal in several cups of hot water. When cooled down to at least tepid (barely warm) or cold, apply that to the sunburn. Oatmeal has lots of Vitamin Bs, which are good for the skin, and healing.
Onion - slice a wide slice of onion, or take a half oinion and glide it over your burns. It may sting in the first few seconds, and then will bring out the heat and kill anything that could give you an infection.
Milk or buttermilk, or yogurt for a sponge bath with your cotton balls can work too, but then you must remember to wash it off again later, as they can cause you to smell like dairy products gone bad.
Grate up a potato and lay that on small sunburns for a while. The starch will be soothing, but handling the grated potato can be messy. Of course, when you are in pain, and have none of the above options, I know - I'm willing to try anything at least once.
Lastly, if you really have none of the above, but have access to ice cubes, or ice cold water, apply those to your sunburn. If you are out in the wilderness, and it is hours to get home to your fridge or all these home remedies, then, you need to reach for what you have at hand. At the very least, get into the shade and apply cold water to the sunburn.
If I bump my finger on the oven while baking, I quickly reach for an ice cube, and a clean dishrag, and I press the ice cube on the burned spot for a good 10-15 minutes. If I must continue my work I lay it down nearby and pick it up and press it on my burn again and again for the next hour or two. The next day I may have a white spot there, but the pain is gone, and normally, no blister.
Prevention is the best remedy of course. By now you may know too, that sunburns can lead to skin cancers. Some are easily removed, and some will mean your death. Learn to think ahead, and bring along some aloe vera for sunburn if you are going out where you or someone with you might have a chance of a sunburn. Even then, try to keep everyone out of the direct sunlight during the hotest hours of the day. Generally that is from about 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. But adjust that to your location and weather.
I wish you a whole summer without a single sunburn! If you need help, check out Sunburn-Magazine.com. Sunburn Magazine will teach you how to protect yourself from sunburns with other sunburn remedies like those above.
More information about how to Avoid Sunburn - even without sunscreens.