camping, camping tips, family camping

Natural Sunburn Home Remedies To
Relieve Sunburn Pain, At Home Or When Camping

sunburn treatment

There are probably as many sunburn home remedies as there are places to camp in North America! Everybody has their own method of treating sunburn. And while they are called "sunburn home remedies," they can easily be used while you are out camping as well.

Aloe Vera

Think of sunburn remedies and most people think of the aloe vera plant. And with good reason! This miracle skin plant has been around for thousands of years and was used for healing by ancient civilizations.

It is effective for far more ailments than just treating sunburn, but we will keep our discussion limited to using it as a home remedy for sunburn. Aloe vera has natural antibacterial properties and healing properties. Best of all, its soothing, cooling properties help pull the heat of the sunburn out of your skin and provide sunburn pain relief.

Overall it is one of the best sunburn home remedies you can use!

Have access to an aloe plant? Use the gel straight out of the plant, fresh from a just-picked leaf. Avoid the layer of yellow sap just under the skin. It can irritate your skin or cause an allergic reaction. And of course you don't use the skin in your mixtures.

No aloe plant handy? You can buy aloe gel or juice at the pharmacy, grocery store, or health food store. It is important that when buying aloe you buy a product that is pure aloe. Many "aloe" products sold in the store have only a tiny fraction of aloe in them and will not do as much good as the real thing. Some of the store-bought preparations may also contain a topical anesthetic to help relieve the pain.

Here are several different ways on how to treat sunburn using aloe vera gel to treat sunburn and try to prevent sunburn peeling:

  • Cut a stalk off of the plant and slit it in half horizontally from the bottom to the top, so the widest part of the inside of the plant is exposed. Rub the gel from the plant over the sunburned skin. Wrap up the remaining portion of the plant in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. Repeat this every few hours.
  • Another way to use it straight from the plant is to scrape the gel out of the middle of the plant and rub it on your sunburn every few hours. For a moisturizing effect, open a vitamin E capsule and mix in with the gel.
  • Apply the aloe straight out of the bottle directly to the burn, reapplying every few hours. As with fresh aloe, you can also mix a capsule of vitamin E oil for extra healing benefits.
  • Make a cooling spray. Mix the aloe, from either the plant or bottle, with just enough water to allow it to pass through a spray bottle. Store this in the refrigerator for extra cooling relief. This will last several weeks in the fridge, although you will only need the the relief for a few days.
  • Soak gauze in aloe and lay over the sunburned skin.
  • Pour a generous amount of aloe into a cool, not cold, bath and soak in it.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is another one of the more well-known sunburn home remedies. It is known to relieve the sunburn pain and help prevent blisters.

A perfect sunburn remedy when camping as a well-stocked camping kitchen probably has some form of vinegar right on hand. No, you probably can't take a bath in it while camping, but you can soak clothes in it and put them across the affected area.

White vinegar will also work if that is all you have, but apple cider vinegar is more effective and is the better choice if available.

Just like with the aloe, your best choice for vinegar is all natural vinegar that has been purchased from the health food store, rather than the grocery store, which usually contains other preservatives or additives. However, if you can't get to the natural food store, use what you have on hand.

  • Soak gauze or a light cloth in the vinegar and lay across the burned areas.
  • Soak cotton balls in vinegar and lightly dab over the affected area. This is particularly effective for the face.
  • Pour into a spray bottle, spray over the sunburned skin and allow to dry. It is best if you wait a few minutes and allow it to air dry, but if you must, you can also lightly pat dry the area.
  • Draw a cool, not cold, bath and pour two cups of apple cider vinegar into the tub, then soak.



Looking into your refrigerator for some more sunburn home remedies you will find milk. Milk has long been known for its valuable skin benefits and is perfect as a natural home remedy for sunburn. Remember hearing how Cleopatra used to soak in milk baths for her skin? Milk has soothing and healing properties to naturally nourish and soften your skin. And milk is another item you probably have right in your camping cooler as well.

Due to the moisturizing properties of fat, whole milk is the best choice, but any form of milk will work for treating sunburn. A packet of dry milk will also work, when reconstituted with water in its liquid form of course!

With milk it is important to rinse it off, or else by the end of the day you might smell like old cheese! Yuck!

  • Soak cloths or cotton balls in milk and lay the cloths across the burned skin.
  • Soak the cloths or cotton balls in milk and lightly dab across your sunburned areas. Again, this is a better method to use when getting a sunburn while camping.
  • Back at home, pour a gallon of whole milk preferably, or whatever you have, into a tub of cool water. You can also sprinkle a packet of dried milk into the tub. For some additional healing benefits, you can also add a cup of ground oatmeal to your bath.


sunburn treatment with tea

Tea contains tannic acid. While the liquid itself is cooling and helps pull the heat out of a sunburn, the tannins also help to quickly eliminate the sting of the sunburn and take the redness out of the burn as well.

The methods of applying tea to your sunburn are pretty much the same as the other methods:

  • First you can just wet the tea bags and place them directly on the sunburn. Again, this is a method that is easy to use if you get a sunburn while camping.
  • Brew a pot of tea, moisten a cloth in the tea and place over the area of the sunburn for soothing relief.
  • Finally, turn your bathtub into a giant cup of tea! Fill the tub with cool water and toss in a bunch of tea bags. When your tub water has steeped, climb in and soak.

Baking Soda

Baking soda seems to be a natural home remedy for almost everything, and sunburn is no exception. A good soak in a baking soda bath soothes the skin, takes away the sting, and reduces the redness, and almost everybody has a box lying around, either in their refrigerator for odor control or in their pantry for baking.

  • Toss a box of baking soda into your tub, relax, soak, and feel the burn slipping away.
  • Make a paste of baking soda and water and smooth it over the burned areas.

Other Sunburn Home Remedies

These sunburn remedies above are the ones I have used and are most familiar with. However, there are many many more, including using oatmeal, lavender oil, shaving cream, etc. The list of sunburn home remedies you can pull from your refrigerator or pantry is nearly endless.

Even when using these methods above, don't forget the importance of keeping your skin lubricated and using either the aloe vera gel or a rich, perfume-free moisturizer on your skin in between soaks.

And help reduce the pain and inflammation by treating your sunburn with a dose of Aleve or Motrin as well.

Prevent a sunburn to begin with by knowing your facts about sunscreen
and how to choose the best sunscreen

How should you properly and effectively wear sunscreen?

Learn some other great methods for treating sunburn

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