How to cool sunburn down fast – 4 easy home remedies

BBC Weather: Easter weekend set for dry and sunny conditions

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The UK saw its hottest day take place yesterday according to the Met Office, reaching highs of 22C in St James’ Park in London. While many take to gardens and parks to make the most of the warm temperatures after weeks of unsettled weather, it can be easy to forget those sun cream top-ups, leaving many to suffer from dreaded sunburn.

Sunburn is an inflammatory reaction to damage caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun.

Sunburnt skin is often red, warm, and sore to the touch – and in some severe cases, it can blister.

The danger sunburn poses can go far beyond the short-term pain and discomfort.

As well as accelerating skin ageing, it’s also a leading cause of the majority of skin cancer cases.

Usually, the sunburnt skin will flake and peel off, which is a sign of your body trying to shed the damaged cells away.

To prevent sunburn, we’re instructed to reapply sun cream all day – the factor level tells you how long the cream will protect your skin.

For example, Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 30 would take your skin 30 times longer to burn than if you weren’t wearing any at all.

However, it’s easy to miss a spot or forget to reapply or leave the bottle at home when you go out, meaning despite your best efforts, you still might have succumbed to the burn.

Thankfully, there are a number of easy ways to cool any sunburn you might be experiencing – and most of these can be done with ingredients you might likely already have in the cupboard.

Cool water

As mentioned, sunburn is inflammation of the skin and any fast remedy to relieve any pain this can cause is by cooling the area down.

Run a cool bath and soak – without soap – to bring down the redness and cool the skin. Soap can dry out and irritate the sunburnt skin, so it’s best to stick to plain water.

If you’re out – lakes, rivers, or pouring a bottle of water over your skin will help although, it’s important to note, be careful of chlorinated pools. This can also irritate the skin further – keep it natural.


Oats are an incredibly effective cure for soothing sunburnt skin. 

Research by the National Library of Medicine, shows colloidal oatmeal helps tamp down inflammation and reduces itching.

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Simply grind up some plain oats in a food processor and add them to the bathtub. Mix in the oats with cool water and soak your skin for around 15-20 minutes. The oats will help your skin retain its natural moisture.

Gently pat your skin dry instead of rubbing, as this can irritate your burns.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is a very popular method for cooling sunburnt skin, and you can buy this from many supermarkets and chemists.

Aloe Vera, a succulent plant, houses a special gel inside its leaves and this gel has been used for centuries as an ailment to help skin damage, among a number of other things.

If you have an Aloe Vera plant at home, you can break off a chunk of it and apply the gel directly to your skin for immediate relief.

Chamomile teabags

Not only can it calm the mind, but it also works as another super soothing remedy to help with any sunburn mishaps.

Just brew the tea as you normally would do and when it completely cools, soak a washcloth in the water and bathe the burnt area with it.

However, if you’re allergic to pollen, you should maybe avoid this one as it could provoke an allergic reaction.

Drink lots of water and remember to moisturise

It’s important to rehydrate your skin while it works to battle the burn, so make sure to be drinking plenty of water to bring more moisture into your skin.

Moisturising the sunburnt skin will really help in the days after to prevent the peeling and flaking. Try to keep it natural and scent-free to mitigate any further skin irritation.

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