Two Surprising Home Remedies for Sunburn

You don’t have to run to the store for some special soothing cream when you’ve got these simple home remedies for sunburn on hand.

Thanks to a strenuous PR campaign on the part of aloe vera lovers everywhere, most people are aware that this spiky desert succulent offers one of the very best home remedies for sunburn. Aloe juice not only sucks away the pain, it kills any bacteria that might be trying to sneak in.

But if you don’t have an aloe vera plant handy, you’re still copacetic as long as you have either milk or vinegar in your kitchen.


Yep. While we don’t pretend to be doctors here, the truth is, these two remedies work as well as most over-the-counter sunburn meds, and they tend to be less gooey… although admittedly, they probably don’t smell quite as special, especially the vinegar. But even then, it depends on the kind of vinegar you use.

The Vinegar Option

Speaking of vinegar, don’t get too fancy. You can use cheap white vinegar or apple cider vinegar; both work fine. Needless to say, white vinegar is usually the cheaper option.

Yours Truly tends to stand in a shower and pour the vinegar over the affected area and repeat as needed. But if the burn is small enough, you can apply the vinegar to a soft washcloth and pat it onto the affected area. Either style of application will take the sting away (at least somewhat) within minutes.

Vinegar can also help reduce the inflammation, speed up the healing process, and limit both blistering and peeling.

The Milk Option

Isn’t it annoying how something that’s supposed to be good for you, sunlight, can also be bad for you? Yes, it turns cholesterol in your skin into Vitamin D, without which you’ll get rickets and lose your hair. But of course, sunlight is also nuclear radiation, so if you expose yourself to too much of it, you get burned.

Speaking of Vitamin D, they put it in milk now — because, you guessed it, most kids don’t go outside enough to get Vitamin D from sunlight. Thank you, cartoons and video games.

It’s ironic, then, that milk can help your sunburn feel better. Mix it with water at a rate of one cup of milk to four of cold water, and apply a soft washcloth soaked in the solution to the affected area as a compress for 15-20 minutes every 2-4 hours. It’ll ease the pain, and the proteins in the milk will promote healing.

The Bottom Line

Both milk and vinegar are good ad hoc sunburn remedies, and they cost about the same; but vinegar is probably the most efficient choice. In any case, just use one or the other. Don’t mix these two home remedies for sunburn, because who knows what might happen?