Saturday, July 14, 2012

Soothe and Heal Sunburn Naturally with Herbs

Boating, hiking, beach going... it's awesome fun in the summer, until you get a nasty sunburn. While you may try to stave off the worst of it with sunscreen, too many hours and too much water can even render a high SPF sunblock useless. So what can you do to ease the sting of your sunburned skin? Reach for some good old fashioned natural home remedies, of course!

Aloe Vera - Perhaps one of the best known and most useful plants for sunburn. Just break off a frond, split it open at the seams, expose the clear inner gel of the plant, and gently smear the cool soothing gel onto the sunburned area. Scratch the inner meat to secrete more gel from the plant until it is gone. If you have any left over, put it in an airtight container, or wrap it in plastic wrap or a sandwich bag, and place it in the refrigerator to keep it fresh. 

Witch Hazel - You can buy a commercially prepared extract from most pharmacies and grocery stores (in the first aid section). Using a cotton ball or soft cloth, apply witch hazel several times per day to the burn. Witch hazel is cool and soothing, and useful for minor scrapes, cuts or burns. 

Echinacea - This herb can be used for sunburns both internally and externally, as a topical application or compress. Make a tea using 1 teaspoon per cup of water, using 1 cup for drinking, and another one for a compress. Soak a cloth in the cooled tea, and place the cloth over the affected area. This will help to kill and repel bacteria on the skin, but also stimulates skin cell repair. 

Ginger - Using the fresh root, grind a small portion into a pulp, drain liquid into another container. Using the juice from the ginger root, wipe or pour it over the burned area, and place the pulp onto the skin. This will help to sooth the sting, and help lessen the pain of the sunburn. 

Chamomile - This is a wonderful herb for skin repair, stimulating the healing process, soothing irritated nerves, and preventing infection. Use Chamomile topically as you would echinacea, by soaking a cloth in cooled tea, placing it directly onto the sunburn as a compress.