5 At-Home Sunburn Remedies for Rapid Recovery

Use sunscreen to protect your skin from getting sunburn. However, once you develop sunburns, try these effective sunburn remedies to rapidly heal yourself, relieve your pain, and prevent your skin from getting damaged.

The degree of sunburn depends on the duration of exposure to the sun, your skin type, the amount of UV rays you are exposed to, and whether you have used sunscreen or not.

In addition, sunscreens come in different strengths known as SPF (sun protection factor). Here is how different sunscreens can provide the degree of protection [Ref]:

  • SPF 15: These sunscreens filter about 93% of the ultraviolet rays (UVB rays)
  • SPF 30: These sunscreens filter 97% of the UVB rays.
  • SPF 50: These filter 98% of UVB rays.
  • SPF 60 +: These filter more than 98% of the UVB rays. Because there is no evidence suggesting the superiority of SPF 100 over SPF 60+, the FDA proposes labeling all sunscreens above SPF 60 as SPF 60+
  • SPF 100: These sunscreens provide more than 98% UVB protection.

Children, fair-skinned people, individuals with moles, and people with prolonged sun exposure should use a sunscreen of SPF 50 or SPF 60+.

Once you develop sunburns, you may notice that your skin has become red and painful. After a few days, your skin will peel off.

sunburn over face redness and pain

Here are a few at-home sunburn remedies you need to immediately do to protect and heal your skin.

Soothing the Skin Burn: Immediate Actions

The first thing is to avoid further sun exposure. You should cover your body and get into a shade.

If you stay in the same spot, the damage will only get worse. The sun’s UV rays are at their strongest between 10 am and 4 pm; seek shade and remain covered during this time period even when your skin is healthy.

Here is how you can calm the burning sensation with some cooling methods.

1. Cool baths/showers:

Drench your body in lukewarm cool water. If your bath water is hot then avoid it as your skin will only be irritated further and any residue of natural oil will be stripped.

Take a cold shower for 10 to 15 minutes and let your body air dry. Lastly, pat it with a towel gently.

2. Cold compresses:

If you can not take a bath immediately then wrap some ice cubes in a piece of cloth and apply it to the affected regions.

Use the same 10 to 15-minute intervals for each spot and remove the ice once you feel uncomfortable.

A bag of frozen peas or anything from the freezer can do the same job if you have run out of ice.

3. Aloe vera for sunburn:

This is your best option. As a natural remedy, it can soothe any sunburn. Look for a gel that is free from fragrances and apply generously on the afflicted areas.

It has both cooling and anti-inflammatory properties which can reduce the pain and promote healing.

sunscreens body application


5 At-Home Sunburn Remedies for Rapid Recovery

If you are looking for how to get rid of sunburn in minutes then try these options.

1. Hydration is key:

Sunburn rips away fluids from your skin including natural oils and water. So, staying hydrated is critically important.

Make sure you intake fluids throughout the day and consider adding fruits and vegetables to your diet as they are a good source of hydration.

2. Soothing lotions:

While consuming water will keep your body hydrated, your skin is dry, too. For immediate relief, apply any moisturizer on that portion.

If you have the time, buy a motion that contains colloidal oatmeal, soy, or ceramides, which can help calm the irritation.

It will also restore the skin’s moisture barrier. Avoid any lotion with alcohol or fragrance as they can harm the skin.

applying sunburn cream over the hand soothing lotions
Apply soothing lotions

3. Taming the pain:

While dealing with the physical aspects of a sunburn you might be enduring too much pain. You can take over-the-counter medications including ibuprofen (Advil) and acetaminophen (Tylenol) which can help relieve the pain and discomfort.

For the most part, while you heal your skin with other remedies a pain killer can help you relax and take some rest. If you are too anxious or exhausted then an irritated mood will only do bad for you.

4. Do not pop up the blisters:

Popping the blisters is tempting, but for your own sake, you must resist it because it will only increase the chances of infection.

Rather than that, cool compresses or aloe vera gel can soothe the area. If a blister pops on its own, immediately clean it with milk soap under running water and cover it with a loose bandage.

5. Natural soothers:

  • Oatmeal baths:

Grind oatmeal into a powder-like consistency then dissolve it into lukewarm water. Soak yourself in it for about 15 to 20 minutes and either air dry your body or gently dab with a towel.

This method works due to oatmeal’s properties, such as being anti-inflammatory and itch-relieving.

  • Diluted vinegar solution:

Apple cider vinegar mixed with cool water can relieve the itching as well as the inflammation. Add 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water and apply it to your body then air dry.

  • Chamomile tea compresses:

Dip these tea bags in cool water and press them over the affected areas for sunburn treatment. This will provide a calming and cooling sensation.


Additional Tips for Healing Sunburns:

  • Dress for comfort:

Even your bandage should be loose not just your clothes. The peeling sunburn skin is sensitive and tight outfits will only make it worse.

Go for fabrics that are breathable (cotton or linen). This will tone the irritation.

  • Don’t scratch the itch:

There is no doubt the afflicted region will be itchy, but an important aspect of sunburn aftercare is resisting the urge to scratch the skin.

It can tear the swollen and delicate area and prolong the healing process while causing more infections.

  • Fuel your healing:

The composition of your food can affect the healing process greatly. Keep your diet balanced with all essential nutrients.

Include more fruits and vegetables for their healing properties and less junk food. Avoid any food in its refined form and only eat whole grains.

oatmeal bath
Taking a bath can soothe your skin burns.

When to See a Doctor for Sunburns:

Even though sunburn treatment can be done at home, there can be a situation where a trip to the hospital is inevitable.

  • Feeling pain that can not be tolerated anymore and no OTC meds are helping.
  • Sun poisoning is a fever with sunburn that results in a more severe reaction.
  • A blister bigger than 2 inches in diameter or if it’s covering a larger portion of the skin.
  • Increased redness, puc, swelling, or red streaks coming from the burn (infection is present).


Nobody is a fan of red skin so these sunburn remedies will help you soothe the burning sensation.

Give it proper care and attention if you want to recover quickly. Never forget what caused this in the first place and do not repeat the same mistakes.

Sun protection while being outdoors is essential but nothing can help you more than covering your body with masks or caps. So, wear protective clothes and keep sunscreen with you at all times.


What do you think?

Written by Dr. Ahmed

I am Dr. Ahmed (MBBS; FCPS Medicine), an Internist and a practicing physician. I am in the medical field for over fifteen years working in one of the busiest hospitals and writing medical posts for over 5 years.

I love my family, my profession, my blog, nature, hiking, and simple life. Read more about me, my family, and my qualifications

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