Virtually everyone plays the unwilling host to sunburn during these summer months when we’re soaking up the sun and warm weather. Obviously, the best way to prevent UV skin damage is through the application of sunscreen. Recent studies suggest that people should stick with broad-spectrum lotion that contains a minimum of 30 SPF (Skin Protection Factor).

But even the most diligent of sunscreen users can become victims of sunburn.  And with the characteristic pink skin comes discomfort that can range from mildly irritating to downright painful.

If you’re suffering from sunburn this summer, try these natural treatments for relief from the burning, itching and (eventually) peeling.

Vinegar

Strange but true: vinegar is one of the most effective household treatments for sunburn. Vinegar contains acetic acid, which is often used in pain relief medications like Aspirin. Saturate a cotton ball or towel with the substance and place it directly on the affected area to reduce irritation and inflammation. If you are suffering from a particularly bad case of sunburn, you might want to try taking a vinegar bath. Simply mix 2 to 3 cups of vinegar in with warm water and soak. Traditionally, most doctors recommend that patients opt for white or apple cider vinegar to get the best results.

Potatoes

These root vegetables provide some of the best natural relief for sunburn. Cut a cool potato into slices and place it directly on the afflicted area, where it will draw heat away from the skin. An added bonus: if your epidermis is raw from itching, potatoes’ starchy content contains antiseptic qualities that prevent infection.

Honey

Add sunburn to the long list of ailments that can be treated by honey.  The magical bee byproduct is a natural healer, simultaneously providing relief while restoring skin to its original quality. Consequently, it fosters re-epithelialization of damaged areas and reduces peeling. Doctors recommend that patients opt for manuka honey, as it has the most effective antibacterial and soothing attributes.

Aloe Vera

Although the fleshy aloe vera plant has a reputation for soothing sunburn and scratches, there is little academic research to back the claim. Nonetheless, aloe vera’s light, cooling properties bring tangible – if only temporary – sunburn relief. When applied topically, the plant’s gel cools the skin to lessen the throbbing sensation typically linked with sunburn. Natural aloe vera lotion can be purchased at any drugstore, or you can opt for the ultimate homegrown remedy. Simply peel the outer layer from the plant any apply the stalk’s flesh directly to the skin.

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