A sunburn is a kind of burn that is the result of overexposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Sunburns can damage the skin, causing it to turn red and painful, and they are the primary cause of benign skin tumors [R].
The average stratospheric ozone reduction of approximately 4% between 1970 and 2000 has caused a proportional increase of approximately 4% to the average intensity of ultraviolet radiation on the Earth’s surface. This change is even intensified by the seasonal ozone depletion that occurs in some locations, especially in the Earth’s Southern Hemisphere. Due to this chemical damage to the Earth’s ozone layer, the prevalence and intensity of sunburn cases have continued to increase worldwide in recent years [R].
We’ve taken the time to list some research-certified natural sunburn treatments you can try at home.
1. Witch Hazel
Witch hazel, or Hamamelis virginiana, is a plant that was proven to be an effective sunburn treatment in a study posted on the website of the US National Library of Medicine in 1998 [R].
The study involved 30 participants who were given small patches of “sunburn” on their skin using UV radiation. These patches were then treated with two types of lotion: a regular sun lotion or a lotion with witch hazel extract. After 48 hours of observation, the results showed that the witch hazel extract lotion was able to lower skin inflammation better than regular sun lotion [R].
2. Brown Seaweed Extract
A study was done in 2016 that reported the effectiveness of brown seaweed extract or fucoxanthin in protecting the skin and healing sunburns caused by UV radiation. This is attributed to its ability to promote restoration of the skin barrier protein called filaggrin [R].
3. Aloe Vera
There are some older peer-reviewed studies that show evidence of aloe vera’s healing properties against first to second-degree burns, including sunburns that are not too severe [R].
A recent research study also found that the aloin component in aloe vera is responsible for its anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, applying aloe vera also promotes healing by introducing moisture to the skin and preventing skin peeling associated with sunburns [R].
Using aloe vera for sunburns is pretty straightforward. Simply cut an aloe vera leaf in half horizontally and apply the pure gel inside on the burnt area a few times a day. To alleviate hotness on the burnt area, you can also chill the leaf before using it.
4. Green Tea Essential Oil
It is a known fact that green tea is a rich source of antioxidants. However, unbeknownst to some of us, it can also be used as a sunburn treatment. The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology published a study in March 2001 that proves that green tea essential oil promotes skin protection against UV radiation and heals the skin after overexposure. This is due to its antioxidants that reach into deeper areas of the skin. Green tea essential oil is also a great addition to your suncare regimen [R].
5. Virgin Coconut Oil
Virgin coconut oil is also rich in antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation and alleviate sunburn. The Journal of Pharmaceutical Biology published a research study in December 2009 showing that virgin coconut oil addresses various sunburn symptoms, such as swelling, inflammation, fever, and pain [R].