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There is nothing better than a beach vacation. There is nothing worse than a sunburn at the BEGINNING of a beach vacation.

If you got too much sun, you need natural remedies for sunburn so you can get back out there and live your best life at the beach, pool, ballpark, and everywhere else in the great outdoors.

As someone who spends the entire summer on the beach, I am a pro at keeping my extremely white family protected from the sun. But every once in a while, I miss a streak of skin and end up with a flamingo-colored zebra stripe.

For this I use natural remedies and today I am going to be sharing some of the best ones for sunburns with you! 

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How to avoid a sunburn

The best home remedies for sunburn is to avoid one all together. If it were only that easy! 

I don’t know about you but I literally change ethicity from winter to summer. I start out the year looking like Casper’s older sister and end it just around the riverbend looking like I could get some serious minority scholarships!

**I’m actually half Mexican which is why I tan so well.

There is always that awkward time though where your skin doesn’t have enough melanocytes to make that protective layer that we call “a tan.”

The first few times your skin gets prolonged sun exposure can lead to sunburn even if you slather on sunscreen every hour.

This is why I love using SPF long sleeve shirts for myself and full body SPF bathing suits for kids.

You don’t have to use as much sunscreen and as long as you are getting wet, you won’t get hot wearing long sleeves.

Another awesome way to avoid sunburns is to be conscious of how much direct sunlight you get in one sitting.

We bring a lightweight beach tent like this one to the beach and a family sized pop-up tent to other outdoor events. I don’t like to rely on others for shade so I always BYOS. (bring your own shade!)

Related: The ultimate list of beach essentials you didn’t know you need

Related: Best baby beach tents for your little one

For every 15-30 minutes you spend in direct sunlight, go relax under the tent for an hour and give your skin a chance to cool off.

Best sunscreen when you already have a sunburn

 

If you have a sunburn but still plan to be out in the sun, you will need to cover your skin with sunscreen to prevent further damage.

I am an advocate for non-toxic coral reef safe sunscreen at all times. This is because most sunscreens have toxic ingredients that damage our marine life and aren’t so great for our bodies either.

When your skin integrity is already compromised from a sunburn, safe sunscreen becomes even more important to prevent further damage to your skin.

I recently found a new sunscreen brand that I am absolutely obssessed with. It’s called All Good. It is chemical-free, full spectrum UVA/UVB protective, and the other ingredients actually work to nourish and heal skin.

All Good Products have a few different formulations but they contain ingredients such as organic Jojoba oil, calendula flower, coconut oil, and chamomile flower.

We use chamomile as a natural treatment for heat rash all the time so when I saw this in their formulation I got excited.

I highly recommend researching the ingredients of sunscreens. If you already have a sunburn, definitely go with this sunscreen for the rest of your vacation.

Natural Remedies for Sunburn

There are two ways we are going to support the body naturally to heal quickly from a sunburn: through nutrition and topical remedies.

Depending on how severe your sunburn is, it can take anywhere from a few days to even a few weeks for the skin to heal. Normally, our skin completely turns over every month or so.

What we will try to accomplish with natural remedies for sunburn is to speed that process up by giving the body everything it needs for cell growth and to reduce inflammation.

It’s important to think about physiology when we are trying to treat anything naturally. Our goal is to work with our biology by giving it a “little boost” with the right nutrients and topical treatments.

With that said, lets look at nutrition for sunburns.

Essential Nutrition for Sunburns

Whenever you have a sunburn, you will need an increased amount of certain nutrients to promote faster cell turnover and new cell growth. (source)

In the next section we will go over some of the most important vitamins to get in your diet.

For those who just want a quick nutritional superfood, I highly recommend supplementing with Virgin Cod Liver Oil when you have a sunburn.

Cod liver oil contains almost all of the essential nutrients which we will discuss that helps you grow glowing new healthy skin.

Collagen:

Collagen is essential for skin health. Mix this power in water, almond milk, or a morning smoothie to get a supportive dose of collagen. This will not only help heal a sunburn faster but it is also a great anti-aging maintenance supplement.

Another great way to get extra collagen in your diet is to make homemade bone broth and drink a cup a day while you have a sunburn.

Vitamin A:

Vitamin A is an essential nutrient for repairing damaged skin. There are two forms of vitamin A and you can get these by eating colorful fruits and vegetables along with egg yolks and whole milk. Whenever you have a sunburn, it is helpful to increase your intake of Vitamin A.

Vitamin D:

Vitamin D is also known as the sunshine vitamin. You may think that once you have a sunburn you probably had enough Vitamin D for one day. However studies have shown that oral supplementation with Vitamin D helps with skin cell proliferation.

The best way to increase your Vitamin D intake through diet is to eat egg yolks, beef liver, cheese, or a whole food supplement. Taking Vitamin D will also help regulate your mood!

Related: How to be a happy mom

Vitamin C & E:

Both Vitamin C and Vitamin E are antioxidant and protect the skin from free radiacal damage. Research is showing that when taken together, these vitamins can prevent sunburns from getting worse. (source)

Natural sources of Vitamin C include broccoli, dark leafy greens, bell peppers, and colorful fruits.

The best dietary sources of Vitamin E comes from nuts and seeds.

Omega Fatty Acids:

Omega Fatty acids play a critical role in skin function and appearance. If you body is deficient in these nutrients, you will likely take much longer to heal from sunburn. (source)

The best way to get Omega fatty acids in your diet is through eating wild caught salmon, avocados, or olive oil.

Water:

When you are sunburn, make sure you are drinking plenty of water, at least 10 eight ounce cups a day.

When we become dehydrated, the first place our body shunts fluid from is our skin. This will not promote fast healing and could even make matters worse. 

 

Topical Remedies for Sunburns

Along with supporting our body with extra nutrition and water, we want to put some things on our skin to help soothe the pain and redness.

The best place to start is by taking a bath.

Sunburn bath:

Soaking in the tub is therapeutic for your burned skin and can help ease inflammation.

On the first night of your sunburn, fill the tub with lukewarm water (the cooler the water the better because it helps with swelling) and add 2 cups of baking soda, 5 drops of lavender essential oil and 5 drops of chamomile essential oil. This will help ease inflammation, pain, and redness.

Use this soak for the first couple days when the pain and swelling from the sunburn is the worst.

Once the pain from your sunburn starts to ease up a bit, fill the bathtub with lukewarm water and add a cup of apple cider vinegar. This will help to balance and restore your skin’s pH and microbiome.

Aloe Vera:

You have probably heard that aloe vera gel is great for sunburns or even seen some after sun products that have aloe vera in them.

I actually keep a live aloe plant in my home and when we missed a spot on our skin, I break a peice off and rub the juice from the plant directly on our skin.

If you aren’t a plant person, definitely check out this aloe vera product. It is all organic, contains no preservatives or blue dyes, making it much safer and a potent remedy for your sunburn.

Immediately after your bath, mix this aloe vera gel with coconut oil and rub it on the sunburnt parts of your skin. Doing this after your bath will seal in the moisture from the water.

Related: I have the best after sun lotion recipe…check it out!

Therapeutic compresses:

Those first few days after a bad sunburn, you may feel like your skin is on fire all the time. This is when a cool compress comes in handy for quick relief.

I like to keep a reuseable ice pack wrap around the house for injuries and burns. You can then wrap this around the sunburt area at various times throughout the day.

Alternatively, you can wet a washcloth with cold water and witch hazel and then apply this to your skin. Witch hazel helps to relieve pain and swelling.

Final Thoughts

Sunshine is good for our bodies and our souls! We shouldn’t be afraid to be out in the sun. Whenever you plan to spend a lot of time in direct sunlight, do your best to cover your skin with shirts, hats, and take breaks in the shade.

If you start to feel that all-so-familiar feeling of prickly heat on your skin, make sure to take cover immediately, drink plenty of water, and support your body with natural remedies for sunburns.

What are some of your favorite ways to spend the summer? Let me know in the comments!