Did you know you can heal a sunburn faster and nourish your skin with your very own DIY after sun lotion?
When you use your own ingredients you know exactly what is going on the largest organ of your body…your skin!
You can pick and choose things that promote healing and cell turnover and leave out all the preservatives, dyes, and emulsifiers.
If you have ever suffered from a bad sunburn you know how miserable it can be! I use a few handy home remedies when someone in my family gets a sunburn, along with whipping up a batch of this homemade aftersun lotion!
I wanted to share the recipe with you today.
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You shouldn’t use only aloe vera for sunburn
The redness and swelling you get from a sunburn is actually an inflammatory response by the body from cellular damage after overexposure to UV radiation. (Wow, that was a mouthful!)
Inflammation is the body’s way of “cleaning up” the cells that are no longer working properly so they don’t become cancerous. (source)
That’s why we peel after a sunburn, to shed those damaged cells before they effect the surrounding cells.
Our real goal of aftersun care is to protect the skin layer underneath your sunburn. You can’t do anything for that top layer since they are already toasted!
Have you ever held your hand on your sunburnt skin and just felt the heat radiating off? Well you are losing a ton of moisture so one way to minimize the collateral damage is by sealing in the skin’s moisture and adding in antioxidants using topical creams.
A widely used remedy for sunburns is aloe vera gel for its strong antioxidant properties. The problem with using aloe vera alone being that it’s mostly water, it will quickly evaporate from the skin.
You also need to mix something in that provides a barrier to keep in moisture and further protect from UV exposure.
No matter what you put on your skin, you can’t heal a moderate or severe sunburn overnight, but it will certainly heal much faster with the right remedies.
Lucky for us, we will add those ingredients in our after sun lotion!
After Sun Lotion Ingredients
Shea butter has so many medicinal benefits for our skin. It is my absolute favorite base for almost all of the different creams and lotions I make for my family.
For example, shea butter is the base for my homemade stretch mark cream. I pretty much buy it in bulk whenever I can find it certified organic!
The cool part about shea butter is it’s naturally UV protective around 5 SFP. Although this isn’t much for a day on the beach, it’s perfect for a normal day when you don’t spend as much time outdoors. Shea Butter is also high in the antioxidants and is very anti-inflammatory, which actually helps reduce the swelling from sunburns. (source)
Besides all these healing attributes, shea butter is just delicious! It makes such a creamy base for our DIY aftersun lotion.
Of course we have to include aloe vera in our after sun lotion because it is so nutrient dense that helps our skin heal faster from burns.
If you are lucky enough to have a plant in your house you can cut the leaves in half, scoop out the insides, and use the fresh gel in your lotion. If you aren’t a plant lady, check out this aloe vera gel. It is organic, nonGMO, and has no preservatives, dyes, or emulsifiers like other brands on the market.
Sweet Almond Oil
Besides smelling wonderful, we are using sweet almond oil for its Vitamin A and Vitamin E, both of which help to heal inflammed skin.
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender Essential Oil is great for calming down the sting of a sunburn and gentle enough to be applied directly on top of damaged skin. Lavender is effective as a local anesthetic due to being high in linalool and linalyl acetate, so it will help reduce the pain of a severe sunburn. (source)
Helichrysum Essential Oil:
Our last ingredient for our after sun lotion includes helichrysum essential oil. This oil is included in the recipe for its powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. (source) People from the Mediterranean region (where the plant is abundant) have been using this oil for centuries for healing and now so will we!
How to Make After Sun Lotion
Gather up all your ingredients. You can find them at a local health food store but I will link here to some reputable brands that I trust on Amazon.
4 ounces of my favorite Shea butter (certified organic)
2 tbs Aloe Vera (certified organic)
2 tbs Sweet Almond oil (certified organic)
1 tsp Rose Hips (certified organic)
30 drops Lavender Essential Oil (certified organic & kid safe)
30 drops Helichrysum Essential Oil (certified organic & kid safe)
You will also need a pan and heat safe bowl like a pyrex bowl to make a double boiler as we will be gently melting the shea butter.
Cut 4 oz of shea butter in large chunks (about 1/2 cup) and place it in the double boiler.
Put about an inch of water in the bottom of your double boiler. Turn the stovetop on medium high heat and allow the boiling water to melt the shea butter.
This will take about 10 minutes. Stir occassionally.
Once the shea butter is fully melted, remove the pyrex bowl from the heat and allow it to cool for a few minutes.
Mix with a spoon.
Transfer the contents to a stand up mixer bowl while it is still liquid and then place it in the fridge.
If you have a hand mixer you can just put the original pyrex bowl in the fridge.
Allow the mixture to harden in the fridge for about 2 hours. Then whip it on high for 30 seconds and transfer to a 4 ounce jar with lid (something like this would work perfectly)
How to use your after sun lotion
The best time to use after sun lotion is right out of the shower while your skin is still mildly wet. This helps seal in moisture and can prevent your sunburn from peeling so quickly.
I also recommend lathering up 2-3 times a day immediately after you a sunburn so you can absorb more of the healing nutrients during that acute inflammatory period.
A quarter-sized portion of after sun lotion is enough for two arms or one leg.
Your after sun lotion will last outside of the fridge for the entire summer season. It will stay fresh much longer in the fridge. You will likely need to make more than one batch of this for the whole family to get through the summer.
Also note** you can use this recipe for just regular lotion. The ingredients are still great for your body even when you don’t have a sunburn!