3. Moisturize often
After you’ve rinsed off, smooth on a natural bath oil like Burt’s Bees 100% Natural Lemon and Vitamin E Body and Bath Oil ($8; Amazon.com). Let it soak in for a minute, and then apply a natural moisturizing cream or lotion. This is an important step, says Rodney Basler, MD, or you may find that your skin feels drier than before.
4. Reach for these kitchen staples
Kitchen staples aren’t just for cooking; they can be great sunburn soothers, too.
Milk containa protein, fat, and haa a pH of about 6.5. When placed directly on the burn (using a washcloth or cotton ball) milk creates a film which restricts blood vessels and reduces swelling as well as minimizes heat.
Honey has been used as a topical treatment for burns since the Pharaohs. Some studies suggest that the sweet sticky stuff works better than some antibiotic over-the-counter creams – reducing inflammation, pain and speeding up the healing process.
Oatmeal, when finely ground, works as an anti-inflammatory when mixed with bath water.
Cider vinegar consists of acetic acid which eases discomfort, itching, and inflammation. Add one cup to a warm bath and soak for quick relief.
Baking soda also works great. Add to your bath water to reduce inflammation and ease itching and soothe the sting.
5. Try aloe
Aloe is believed to aid in the healing process by reducing swelling. If you have an aloe plant, simply break off a leaf and apply the juice. Aloe vera cream (containing a high concentration of the gel) can also be just as effective. Because it’s free of alcohol, dyes, and fragrance it won’t further irritate the skin.
If burns worsen and become too severe to be treated at home, consult a doctor.