DIY cream for sunburn and compromised skin has become especially popular in recent years. We all try our best to protect ourselves, and our family, from the harmful effects of the sun. But let’s face it, mistakes happen.
Sometimes I’m so worried about getting the sunscreen on the kids and my husband that I often forget to think about my own skincare!
Of course, prevention is always better than a cure, but a good after sun cream is essential for repairing skin that has already been damaged. But even if you do take all the precautions to minimize sunburn, its good practice to slather some on after a day in the sun anyway.
But you know me, I’m always worried about exposing myself and my kids to unnecessary levels of synthetic chemicals. So I made my own! This lotion will help soothe pain, reduce inflammation, and restore your skin to its natural gorgeousness. You have nothing to lose with this recipe!
But it can take some time to gather the ingredients, so I’ve done a bit of research to find the home remedies for sunburn from one or two ingredients you can find around the house. But the best cream for sunburn is most definitely my after sun recipe below, so you really should check it out as well.
Quick Sunburn Treatments
Cold Compress & Showers
When you look like a lobster and your skin feels like it’s throbbing so hard it might fall off, a cold compress or cold shower can be a great natural sunburn relief.
What’s the first thing you think of doing when you burn your hand on the stove? Run it under cold water.
The same goes for sunburns, so saturate a cloth in cold water for small areas or jump into an icy shower if your whole body feels like it’s on fire.
You probably don’t need to be told how good vitamin E is for your skin, so slather it onto a burn to help speed up healing (although not as fast as my aftersun lotion below).
If you don’t have any vitamin E oil to hand, make use of almond oil, avocados or both mixed together, as both of these ingredients have high concentrations of vitamin e. When you mix them they’re a great sunburn treatment at home.
Although you could make use of any natural yogurt, I find Greek works the best. Slathering this on the skin works as a natural sunburn relief from the throbbing pain.
Make sure the yogurt you’re using is free from sugar, sweeteners and flavorings. Nobody wants to be sunburnt whilst simultaneously fighting off waves of insect attacks.
Surprisingly, tea is one of the home remedies for sunburn that actually works. English breakfast should do the trick, but calendula tea bags are best. Just immerse a few teabags in some boiling water, leave to cool (drop a few ice cubes into speed this up) then apply with a clean cloth to affected areas.
If you’ve burnt your eyelids, pop the used and cooled teabags on your eyes for instant relief.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
Staying hydrated is important for universal healing throughout the body. Without enough water, our bodies just won’t function properly, and that includes healing your sunburn.
Make sure you’re getting the recommended amount of water you should be drinking each day. 86 the sugary sodas as well for added benefit.
So now we’ve covered some of the home remedies for sunburn that you can probably start right away, let’s take a look at my recipe for after sun lotion, which really is the best thing I’ve found.
My Recipe For Sunburn Cream
Hands down this is the best after-sun cream I have ever used, it’s better and more natural than anything you could buy in a store!
- 70g Organic Aloe Vera Gel
- 70g Cucumber Juice (instructions below)
- 40g Macadamia Nut Oil
- 6g Shea Butter
- 5-10drp Lavender Essential Oil
- 10g Emulsifying Wax
- 0.5-1% Preservative
This should yield roughly 200g, so find a suitable jar, vessel or bottle to store it in.
Notes on the ingredients:
This lotion should last around 6 months, but perhaps longer if kept in the fridge.
When I originally came up with this recipe, I did a lot of research on homemade remedies for burns. The ingredients I have selected are all fantastic for repairing skin damaged by the sun, but also a variety of different first degree (minor) burns. Let’s take a look at each ingredient in more detail.
- You’d have to have been living under a rock no to know about the wonderful healing powers of the aloe vera plant. Concentrated aloe vera gel can be purchased at most drug stores or online and is clinically proven to speed the healing of burns. Enzymes that are naturally present in the plant will help to alleviate any swelling and restore blood flow to the area, in other words minimizing pain and speeding recovery.
- Cucumber is a naturally soothing ingredient. We’ve all put slices of this fruit on our eyes when they’re feeling a bit tired and puffy, but did you know it’s great for burns as well? This will help with the instant relief you crave when your skin feels like its throbbing. It helps to reduce swelling and soothe the pain.
- High concentrations of mono-unsaturated fatty acids and palmitoleic acid makes Macadamia nut oil a great choice for this after sun. It promotes the production of new skin cells and has been proven to heal sunburns and even smooth and reduce the visible signs scar tissue. It’s also a great source of omega 3 and 6. Although Macadamia nut oil is fantastic, a good alternative is Fractionated Coconut (particularly for those with nut allergies).
- Shea Butter is one of the best ingredients for any DIY burn remedy. Its high concentrations of essential fatty acids help to restore the integrity of our skin on a cellular level, as well as returning the soft texture we lose when skin is burnt. Not only that, but shea butter is chock full of vitamin E, which is absolutely fantastic at giving skin everything it needs to heal up. A good substitute for Shea Butter would be Cocoa Butter, however, keep in mind that the lotion may come out a bit firmer and greasier.
- Lavender Essential Oil is hands down the best essential oil for burns. It combines all of the benefits of the previous ingredients for double power, restoring blood flow to the area, reducing inflammation, speeding the production of new cells and killing the pain as well. It also gives it a lovely smell that, when mixed with the subtle scent of cucumber, smells gently but pleasantly medicinal. Alternatives are Peppermint, Clary Sage or Neroli, but if you can make use of the Lavender.
Step 1: Start by making your cucumber juice. First, cut your cucumber in half and then into smaller chunks. You can try just throwing two halves into the blender, but it just takes too long. You don’t need to peel it.
You’ll want to blend the cucumber for a good minute, making sure to break down all the fiber. You’re looking for the consistency of thin soup.
Step 2: Using a piece of cheesecloth, strain the pulp of the cucumber from the liquid, collecting it in the bowl underneath. It should be a rich, green color with no pulp or peel.
Step 3: Pour the cucumber juice into a Pyrex beaker, and add your aloe vera. In a separate Pyrex beaker, gather your oils, butters and the wax. Exclude only the lavender essential oil and the preservative (which we will add later).
Step 4: You should now have two separate beakers, one with your water parts and the other with your oil parts (plus the wax). Place the beaker with the oils in a water bath for around 10-20 minutes. You want the wax and butter to fully melt.
Just before everything is melted, pop your water parts beaker into the water bath with your oils beaker. You wanted to warm up the aloe and cucumber juice so that you can combine it with your oils. Keep in mind that we want it warm, not hot.
Step 5: Once the oils have melted and the water parts have warmed through, remove from the heat. Then, pour your water parts into the oil parts and whisk thoroughly.
For this, I like to use a small electric whisk, one that is most commonly used to froth milk. This will help the lotion emulsify as it cools. You do not have to whisk constantly.
No matter how much you whisk, your lotion will not thicken until it cools. If It’s taking too long to cool place the beaker into a bowl of cool ice water and whisk without a break until the lotion is completely cool.
Step 6: Once your mixture has cooled, we can add the essential oil and preservative!
Ad your 5-10 drops of lavender essential oil. I find those with sensitive skin should air on the side of caution and go for 5, otherwise the full 10 should be absolutely fine.
Next, using a pipette and your jewellery scales (set to zero with your full beaker sitting on top) ad your preservative drop by drop until you reach the required weight. You’ll want to use between 0.5-1%, but ALWAYS check the instruction that comes with your preservative or speak with the supplier to know how much to add to a 200g lotion.
Step 7: Give your lotion another good stir to make sure your essential oils and preservative are fully immersed. Then, pour or spoon your mixture into your chosen container. If you’re using a bottle with a narrow neck, you may need to use a funnel like I have.
Depending on the type of emulsifying wax, it may take a day or so for your lotion to thicken in the bottle. Otherwise, your after sun lotion is ready to use immediately. I like to leave it in the fridge for a few days, just to make sure it doesn’t separate (this is a good habit if you sell your lotions or gift them regularly).
So there we have it, an absolutely amazing after sun lotion that will moisturize and care for sunburnt skin. This will help speed up the healing process and get your skin feeling soft and beautiful again.
- Keep in mind that this is NOT the same thing as a sunscreen. This will NOT prevent you from getting sunburned, but simply a treatment for skin that has been exposed to any amount of UV light (particularly excessive exposure leading to sunburns). In fact, if you head out into the sun straight after using this, you will probably make things much worse.
- Always use a good sunscreen when leaving the house on a sunny day, no matter the time of year. Protection is always better than a fix. Apply this lotion after you have come inside and keep out of the sun until all the oils have been absorbed into the skin.
- You don’t have to have a burn to make use of this lovely after sun lotion. I find even when applying adequate sunscreen and preventing sunburn, my skin can sometimes feel a bit dry or tired after a day in the sun. This is the perfect lotion to restore life to your skin after a fun day at the beach!
- This lotion will last around 6 months. Obviously the sunnier seasons can come and go in that time, so if I have some left over after summer, I use it to reduce the appearance of scar tissue or simply as a daily moisturizer when I run out of my usual. It’s wonderfully versatile!