6 Super Easy Ways to Treat a Sunburn

For most of us, summer means getting a killer tan. However, the first time laying out since last summer usually leads to a nasty sunburn. When you’ve sunbathed a little too much and your skin is feeling red and tender, try one of these six ways to get some relief in the comfort of your own home—with ingredients you probably already have in the house!

If your skin is blistering or if you have flu-like symptoms, call your doctor right away before trying any of these at-home treatments.

1. Take a vinegar bath

Draw yourself a lukewarm bath and add three cups of regular or apple cider vinegar to the water. You’ll need to sit in the bath for at least 15 minutes for the vinegar to balance out your skin’s pH back to a normal level. According to Bonnie K. McMillen, a college health nurse at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, the vinegar helps promote faster healing and can prevent your skin from forming blisters and peeling. Play some ocean sounds while you soak in the bath to remind yourself of the good ole days when you weren’t burnt.

2. Slather yourself in plain yogurt


Spread a generous amount of plain yogurt on your burn, put on your favorite Real Housewives spin-off and sit still for 15 to 20 minutes while you marinate. New York City dermatologist Francesca Fusco recommends using a thicker yogurt, like Greek yogurt. She recommends applying aloe after washing the yogurt off to further restore your skin. We recommend doing this when you’re not expecting company!

3. Make aloe vera ice cubes


Aloe vera is probably the most well-known remedy for sunburn. Rather than just spreading it on your skin and hoping for the best, try making these cool (no pun intended) aloe ice cubes!

Pick up a bottle of aloe vera from the grocery store or pharmacy (or, if you’re really fancy, cut open a leaf from an aloe plant) and freeze the gel in an ice cube tray. Once it freezes, wrap one of the cubes in a paper towel and rub it on your sunburn. You’ll feel relief like never before.

4. Make a cucumber paste


Slice up some cucumbers, freeze the slices and then pop them in the blender to make a cooling cucumber paste for your sunburn. Dermatologist Dr. Cynthia Bailey recommends this method because cucumbers have natural botanical properties that are ideal for relieving pain and providing antioxidants. The cooling from the cucumber paste will feel great on your burn, and it also smells really refreshing.

5. Try a milk-soaked compress


This is a great idea if your back is burned and you’re having a hard time contorting yourself to reach your sunburned skin. Soak a hand towel in cold milk (any variety will do!), pop it in the freezer for a few minutes to make it a little colder and then lay on your stomach with the milk-soaked towel on your back for 20 minutes. Fusco says that the milk’s protein, fat and pH have a calming, anti-inflammatory effect on the skin.

6. Make a tea-soaked compress


Steep about six or seven bags of any black tea in a pot. Just like the milk, grab a towel and let it soak in as much tea as the towel can hold, then stick it in the freezer to cool it down. Lay the towel over your back or wherever else is hurting and let the tea soothe your skin while you unwind for around 20 minutes. YouTube beauty guru Michelle Phan highly recommends this method because of the tea’s high antioxidant levels and its tannic acid, which is a key ingredient in fighting sunburn.

Don’t forget to drink a TON of water! When you’re recovering from sunburn, it’s so important to stay hydrated so your body can work on healing itself. Also, be sure to stay out of the sun if possible because you don’t want to make your burn any worse. The next time you lay out, use sunscreen (and don’t forget to reapply!) so you don’t permanently damage your skin!