When I was young, the standard modus operandi of summer was play outside all day. If my parents wrangled me in time, some sort of sun block was slathered on and I was reminded to reapply if it got wet.
Back in the 80’s and even into the 90’s, we were brainwashed into thinking that the sun was evil and that the only way to avoid a burn was to slather on chemical laden SPF 100 sunblock. There weren’t any studies supporting effective natural ways to avoid burns and too gradually build up a natural protection within your own skin. I won’t go into the details in this post but you can check out my post on Coconut Oil for Sun Protection as well as Natural Oils for Sun Protection to learn how you can steer clear of a sunburn.
But what happens if your child does get a sunburn?
First, never fear! Herbal remedies are here!
Second, get your sunburned child into a cool bath infused with herbs as soon as possible! Cooling and soothing herbs include comfrey (roots or leaves) and marshmallow root. The stronger the infusion the better. I personally like to keep infusions on hand ‘just in case,’ and especially if I know there is a chance of a lot of sun exposure on a particular day. Let your child soak for at least 30 minutes if possible. You can also make compresses with the herbal infusions and lay them across the sunburned parts of the body several times per day for about minutes each time.
At the beginning of summer, I like to make herbal oils. I diffuse fresh herbs in a mixture of coconut oil, olive oil, with a dash of Vitamin E oil. My go-to herbs are St. John’s Wort, Yarrow flowers, and Chamomile flowers. These all have properties that help heal burned skin and promote new, healthy tissue regeneration. You would want to apply your herbal oil several times per day for about a week.
What are my other go-to herbs and essential oils for sunburn?
Lavender of course! Lavender is especially soothing and considered pretty safe for use on the face so long as it does not get into the eyes. A lavender compress is a wonderful way to ease the discomfort of sunburn. Mix 5 drops of lavender essential oil with 1 ounce of cold water, then soak a soft cloth in it. Keep the compress on for at least 20 minutes, 10 if using on the face. You can also make an infusion using dried lavender flowers. I love this brand.
Aloe Vera is another amazing healer. People all around the globe grow and use this plant after sun exposure and with good reason. It is soothing, reduces the healing time, prevents peeling, and encourages cell regeneration.
Some other herbs that have healing properties for sunburns include:
Looking for a tried and true recipe for an after-sun lotion? Click that link and check out my creation.