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3 Tricks for Getting the Burn Out of Sunburn

woman scooping aloe gel out of a container to put on a sunburn
Tinatin/Shutterstock

It’s easy to forget to put on sunblock, and for some, even a small amount of time in the sun can quickly lead to sunburn. Instead of dealing with redness and pain, use these tips to calm the burn.

Black Tea or Coffee Bath

Using a compress made from black tea will soothe your sunburn and might help your red turn to tan quicker. This sounds weird and can be messy (so do it when you’re wrapped in a towel or in clothes you’re not worried about staining). Steep the tea bag in hot water until it cools to room temperature. Soak a washcloth in the tea water, wring it out, and then place it on your sunburn. Let it sit for about half an hour.

If you don’t have black tea readily available, you can use coffee. Doesn’t matter if it is caffeinated or decaf. Years ago when I had a really bad sunburn on vacation, I soaked in a tub of decaf coffee—it worked wonders.

What helps relieve the burn are the tannins in the tea and coffee. Not only does this remedy relieve the burn of sunburn (for most people), it also promotes “tanning,” in a way, because your skin absorbs some of the coloration of the tea or coffee.

100% Aloe 

Aloe is the first go-to for many people when it comes to soothing the pain of sunburn. If you don’t have an aloe plant growing in your home, you can still get the benefits from this burn-soothing plant.

When shopping for aloe at the store, in a bottle, look for 100-percent aloe (if you can find it). You can buy aloe mixtures, too; just be sure to avoid aloe gels and lotions that contain alcohol, which is drying to human skin and can increase your pain.

Cold Compress

You can also treat your sunburn as you would any other burn. Use a cold compress and find ways to hydrate your skin. The cold compress—a wrapped ice pack or a washcloth run under cold water—will help with cooling your skin and taking the heat from the burn itself.

Yvonne Glasgow Yvonne Glasgow
Yvonne Glasgow has been a professional writer for almost two decades. Yvonne has worked for nutritionists, start-ups, dating companies, SEO firms, newspapers, board game companies, and much more as a writer and editor. She's also a published poet and a short story writer. Read Full Bio »

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