Summer is here, and with the warm weather and fresh air comes lots of extra sun exposure. Outdoors activities such as swimming, hiking, canoeing, picnics and just laying on the beach means extra sun exposure time for skin that is normally covered most of the year, for most people. I’m personally a big advocate of natural sunscreen options, not chemical-carcinogenic lotions and potions, and believe it is essential to our health and wellbeing to get regular sun exposure during non-peak hours of the day. Our bodies naturally produce Vitamin D, and mood boosting hormones via natural sun exposure, and far too many people are deficit in both. Slathering our bodies with chemically laced products has consequences that I won’t get into here, but I urge you to do some serious research into the subject matter, and choose a natural skin protection option best suited for you.
That being said, what do you do for relief after the fact….after you’ve suffered a sunburn? Keep reading to find out what 6 natural kitchen remedies are proven to bring you fast natural sunburn relief and help start healing your skin.
Cucumbers – Cucumbers offer sunburn relief on par with store-bought sunburn-relief products, without added with chemical preservatives and harmful fragrances. To use, simply mash up a cold cucumber and gently dab on generously to affected skin areas. Leave sit on skin for 30 minutes, let the bigger pieces fall off and allow the remaining cucumber juice to stay on skin. Apply as often as needed.
Strawberries – The high tannin content in strawberries is proven to help take the ‘sting’ out of sunburned skin. To use, thoroughly mash up some strawberries and mix with enough cornstarch and water to make a slurry. Gently apply to affected skin areas and leave sit on skin for 30 minutes before gently rinsing off with water. Apply as often as needed.
Oatmeal – When your whole body is sunburned, oatmeal provides the best type of relief. Grind up a cup of oatmeal in a food processor, add it to cool bathwater, and soak. You can also wrap dry oatmeal in cheesecloth or gauze, run cool water through it, and then toss the oatmeal and soak compresses in the liquid, applying every 2 to 4 hours.
Potatoes – Did you know that potato’s starchy compounds are quite effective at taking the ‘sting’ out of sunburned skin. Cut a raw potato into slices and rub a piece on your most painful sunburned spots. For a more intensive treatment, grate a cold raw potato and apply it as a poultice. For yet an even more intensive treatment, if you have a juicer, run several peeled potatoes through and apply the concentrated potato juice to affected skin areas. Leave air dry for best relief.
Green Tea – Green tea’s catechin compounds help protect against the sun’s harmful radiation, while its tannic acid helps soothe sunburn pain. Studies suggest drinking just two cups a day could help provide a bit of added sun protection. If you’re already suffering from sunburned skin, make a couple of cups of STRONG brewed green tea and chill it in the fridge, or quicker by adding ice. Soak a cheesecloth, handkerchief or other thin cloth in the cool tea and place on affected skin areas. Leave in place until cloth becomes dry, and then repeat as often as needed.
Vinegar – White vinegar’s acetic acid acts like a topical non-sterioidal anti-inflammatory drug (think aspirin and ibuprofen). If you’re red (just not blistered), soak some cotton balls with vinegar (chill it first, if you can) and gently dab onto affected skin areas. The vinegar will kill the pain for about 20-30 minutes, while reducing swelling and tissue inflammation.
Bon Veggie Appetit!
Gina “The Veggie Goddess” Matthews