The majority of us love a day out in the sun. Whether that is hiking, the beach, pool, park or just hanging outside. The worst part though is sometimes there is not enough sunscreen (or any at all) to protect your skin. A sunburn can honestly ruin a good day, well at least in my post sunburn grumpy opinion. I also could be acting like a baby. We may never know. What I do know is that it hurts, It itches and then it peels, and me being the Irish girl I am, I burn bad, every summer. Luckily once I get a good tan I no longer burn but the beginning of the summer, those first few beach trips… I’m looking like a lobster. So over the years, just as I have perfected my packing list( if you’re going away and a need a list read here), I have indeed learned to care for sunburn pain quite well. This is the ULTIMATE tip to relieve sunburn pain almost instantly.
The SECRET to a pain free burn….
Baking Soda Bath
YUP, you read that right. And if you think you didn’t, read it again because baking soda is the key to instantly feeling better and soothing the tender skin. Literally everyone I have mentioned this to thinks I am crazing but I have taken quite a few in my life. Baking soda helps level out PH levels in your skin. When those are level, your skin will reduce inflammation…causing the redness and pain to subside. Depending on the severity of the burn, it might not take away the pain completely but I promise you, it is gonna help tremendously.
This does require a bathtub, which can be kinda tricky because I have been to hotels/houses that only have showers (You can skip down to secret number two if you don’t have a tub).
Start to fill up the bathtub with warm water. You don’t want this set extremely hot from the start because your burned skin is going to amplify the heat. When you get in, you want it to be easy to adjust to, rather than putting extra heat on your already too hot skin. Don’t make the water too cold though as you will want to be comfortable enough to sit in for about 20 minutes without becoming freezing. It is quite the delicate balance. Once the tub is about half full start adding in the baking soda. Generally I use about half a box, but there have been moments where I toss a little extra in just for good measure. I stir a bit with my hand and then let the water mix it together as it continues to fill. Once the tub is full, climb in and relax the best you can. It can be a little difficult and uncomfortable to make sure every sun burned area is covered in water but just do your best.
After the 20 minutes, dry off by patting your skin. Rubbing is only going to cause you more pain!. Once dry, take some aloe (whether it be fresh from the plant, lotion or gel) and apply to all burned areas. APPLY A TON. Seriously saturate yourself in it. If you don’t have aloe then a normal lotion will do. Whether you are burned or not, if you are out in the sun you’re going to want to help rehydrate the skin. Drink extra amount of water after a sun burn as well. Taking this extra time to care for your injured skin will help I promise, you just now have to go find a semi comfortable position to sit or lay and not move.
If you are burned pretty bad but don’t have a bath tub for a baking soda bath, this next method will be for you.
This one is a little trickier but still easily accessible and helpful, especially if you’re hurting. Tea bags. Bring a pot of water to boil and then steep the tea. I would recommend 2-3 tea bags for one mug of water, so adjust your tea bag quantity accordingly. You’ll need more water if your whole body is burned or if you burned very very badly. (This is why the baking soda bath is the easiest method) Once the tea is steeped, let it cool. You can add ice cubes to help speed up this process. I always put it in the fridge too because I’m #impatient. Once the tea is cool enough for your skin, sponge onto the areas of need. You can apply the tea with a sponge or a washcloth.
One summer when I was in Hawaii for vacation, I burned so bad I ended up getting blisters. We had no bath tub and my mom had to go down to the hotel restaurant asking if they had tea bags for us since they had none at the shop. While I took a cool shower, my mom got a towel soaked with tea. Then I just laid on the bed, and she laid the towel on my back. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Nov 2021 update: I used this method back in April. My friends and I went to San Diego for the weekend and my shoulders got burned so bad. It was a slightly cloudy day and we went out to the beach towards mid afternoon so my mind totally skipped on needing sunscreen. We were not out there long either but my shoulders got burned. So the next day we went on a hike and I kept repeating myself that I needed to apply sunscreen as soon as we got there and then… I FORGOT. I had to walk the majority of the hike with a sweatshirt just on my shoulders, even though it was hot and painful, to reduce sun exposure. Had to hold the seatbelt off my shoulder the whole 5 hour drive home and patiently waited to make tea. As soon as the tea was cool I dumped 2 mugs worth onto a towel and laid down with it for the whole night. It definitely helped, so I did it again twice the next day.
The baking soda does work more effectively for a whole body burn, but sometimes it’s not an option or you only need one area of relief. So tea it is.
I hope if you ever have to apply this, you are sunburn pain free after these tips:) If you have anymore life saving sunburn tips please comment them down below so we can all put them to use!