After an hour of playing in the pool and sitting in a deck chair, I applied more sunscreen. I noticed that the stuff from Tony's tube was slightly yellow and oily, but I attributed it to the fact it was a different brand than I'm used to using. Later, when I went to use the bathroom, I noticed that my legs looked a little red. I moved the swimsuit strap to the edge of my shoulder and there was a definite mark where it had been before. My sunscreen had malfunctioned!
I threw the offending tube of sunscreen away, but the damage was done. Now, several hours later, my back, chest, and shoulders are burned. Usually we have a bottle of green goo sunburn reliever in the closet, but it seems to have disappeared, so today I researched natural remedies and home concoctions for sunburns.
I found out that there are literally dozens of suggestions for treating sunburn. Many of them involve ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen or medicine cabinet:
- Aloe Vera – Break off a leaf of the plant, open it up lengthwise, and apply it to the burn. This works better than any gel you can buy.
- Apple cider vinegar – Apply vinegar with a spray bottle. It helps reduce inflammation and will relieve some of the pain.
- Aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen – Over the counter pain relievers will help lessen the pain and inflammation. Plan on taking them according to the package directions for at least the first day.
- Baking soda – Baking soda is cooling and will help the skin retain moisture. Dissolve baking soda in water and make a compress using a clean cloth, or add 1/2 cup of baking soda to a cool bath and soak in it.
- Cornstarch – Make a paste with cornstarch and water and apply to burned skin. Or add a cup to a cool bath and soak in it.
- Cucumber – Slice a fresh cucumber into thin slices and gently pat it on the sunburn.
- Epsom salts – Dissolve Epsom salts in water and make a compress using a clean cloth.
- Milk – Make a compress of cool (not cold) whole milk and apply to the burned area with a clean cloth for 20 minutes; repeat every two to four hours. The fat content of the milk is soothing for burns.
- Tea – Apply cool tea directly with a spray bottle or soak a small towel in the tea and drape over the burned areas. It instantly cools and relieves the burn, and the tannins in the tea will help the healing process.
- Witch hazel – Apply with a compress.
- Yogurt – Apply a small amount of plain yogurt, let it stand for a few minutes, leave on until the cooling action stops, then rinse off with cool water.