Aloe Vera Plants – Image Courtesy: Birgit_H
It’s late summer, and for many of us, it means lucky, happy, lazy vacation in the sun. This most likely means we’re cramming in as much time in the sun as we can. Vacation, however, means time in the sun to make up for all the time we spend in the office. While some time in the sun is good, because we do need sufficient amounts of vitamin D, we do need to moderate the sun exposure to avoid getting burned.
Natural Remedies Against Sunburn
Sometimes, however, we might forget to reapply the sunscreen and the result is a painful, red, hot-feeling skin. For those times, it’s good to know about natural remedies against sunburn. There are a number of sunburn lotions for just those times, and many of these are simple, common food ingredients already found in our homes.
Vinegar – A Good Cooling Agent
First of all, if you notice you’re burning, get out of the sun immediately and put on a cooling agent. Your skin will continue to burn once it’s started unless you take action to cool it and draw the heat out. A good cooling agent — and a surprising trick to know about — is vinegar.
If you notice you’ve burned already, dab some white vinegar on a cotton ball and apply it to the burned area. It’ll take effect immediately and you’ll feel a sense of relief. This isn’t so great for your face because of the strong vinegar smell, which can irritate the eyes. However, it’s excellent for your shoulders.
Aloe Vera – The Classic Sunburn Lotion
Another classic sunburn lotion can be found in aloe vera, which is widely available in gels, formulas, and other aloe remedies. However, the best aloe is straight from the plant itself. Make an aloe gel by combining 1 aloe leaf with 500 mg powdered vitamin C and 400 IU of vitamin D. Blend in a processor until smooth, then refrigerate; the cooling gel will be that much more effective cold (and it feels great on sensitive skin).
Sunburn Peel from Tea
Tea is also excellent for burns and sunburn peel. The tannins in the tea will work to soothe the sunburn quickly; it will draw out the redness and leave you with a slight tan. To treat a sunburn with tea, just make a rather strong batch (5 or 6 teabags in a quart of water), then wait for it to cool. Once it’s at room temperature, soak a cloth in it and place over the sunburned area.
Yogurt & Lemon
Finally, if you do end up getting a weirdly shaped sunburn, and you already know that it can fade into an even weirder tan, there’s an easy solution for that as well. Mix up 1 cup of yogurt with the juice of one half of a lemon — quickly, or it’ll begin to curdle. Then apply to the skin and leave on for about 5 minutes. It should fade the edge of the tan enough to make it much less obvious.
Protect Your Skin and Keep Hydrated
It’s important to remember that our skins are our largest organs, and since they cover our entire bodies, they’re vulnerable to just about everything outside. We should take care to protect them whenever we’re out, especially in the sun. Always, always wear at least an SPF 30, and during the hot hours (10AM-2PM) wear a hat and shades as well. It’s also important to remain well hydrated, as skin protects itself best when it’s not dried out. Have fun in the summer sun, but be good to yourself!
Maria (Niina) Pollari is a poet, editor, writer and translator. She wrote two chapbooks, Fabulous Essential (2009) and Book Four (2011). Pollari’s writing has been featured in numerous literary journals as well as the Brooklyn Rail and Jezebel.com. She has received her Master’s in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College.