Treat and Prevent Your Sunburns with These 6 Simple Ingredients

BY Deborah Kim TIMEJune 19, 2014 PRINT

As summer progresses, the risk of getting a sunburn is becoming higher. The good news is that there are a lot of ways to treating painful, red skin and many of them can be found from your own kitchen! Experiment using these ingredients next time you get sunburned and see what works out for you.

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Olive Oil

Olive oil is known for being a natural moisturizer to the skin, so it can certainly be used to treat sunburns as well. While the oil moisturizes the dry skin, it also keeps the skin from peeling as it heals.

 To treat your sunburns, apply olive oil with a cotton ball to the affected areas until the skin is moist. Wait for a few hours until the oil absorbs into the skin, or until the area doesn’t feel oily.

 Be sure to use extra virgin olive oil for this treatment.  

Corn Starch

Corn Starch has a silky texture that provides cooling and instant relief to your sunburns.

Slowly mix in cool (not cold) water to your corn starch and mix until it reaches a paste-like consistency. Adjust the amount of starch and water accordingly depending on the size of your sunburns. Apply the paste over your sunburn and leave on.

The starch mixture should help release the heat or let up some of the pain. Rinse off completely afterwards.

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Potatoes are high in starch so they’re perfect for relieving the skin from sunburn stings and keeping the inflammation down. They even help moisturize dry and damaged areas of the skin, take away the redness, and absorb the heat out of your sunburn.

Wash two potatoes thoroughly and pat dry. You don’t need to remove the peels for this treatment.

You can use either a blender or a grater to make a paste.

If you’re using a blender, cut the potatoes into chunks and blend until they are liquidized. If they seem dry, add a little water. Remove the mixture and soak cotton balls or an absorbent cloth before applying to the sunburn. You want to keep it on for as long as you can.

If you’re using a grater, grate your potatoes over a bowl and apply the pulp directly to the skin. The magic works from the collected potato juice so it’s best to apply much of it as possible.

Another alternative is slicing the potatoes and laying the slices directly onto your sunburn. Keep the slices on for as long as possible to allow the juice to soak into the skin.


Lettuce contains natural pain-killing properties that can sooth sunburns and relieve the skin of the sting.

For treatment, boil lettuce leaves in water then strain. Let the liquid cool in the fridge for several hours until chilled. Soak cotton balls in the water and wipe over the irritated skin.

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Red tomatoes are considered “rubies” when it comes to sunburns. Tomatoes contain lycopene— a natural ingredient that gives the tomato its red pigment—which helps protect the skin against skin damage from sun exposure.

If your sunburn is very recent (red but not peeling), squeeze the juice from a tomato and apply it onto the affected areas.

You can also prevent sunburns by eating tomatoes prior to sun exposure. 


Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, making it a great alternative to sunscreen when it comes to protecting the skin against the nasty sunburns.

To heal the skin and prevent infection, grate a carrot and apply it directly onto the sunburn. Keep it on for as long as you can.

You can also prevent sunburns by consuming a glass of freshly juiced carrots prior to sun exposure. 

*Images of “sunscreen“, “olive oil“, “potato“, and “tomatoes” via Shutterstock

Deborah Kim
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