This article was brought to you by Stream2Sea, who make a Sun and Sting Relief Gel packed with the ingredients behind several natural sunburn remedies, so you can counteract the damage that sometimes comes from having fun in the great outdoors.


If you spend enough time outside, sooner or later it’ll happen—the redness sets in, you get the tense, hot feeling under your skin, or maybe the constellation of freckles running up and down your arms starts to connect its own dots. You’ve gotten too much sun, and now you’re as red as a cooked lobster.

Proper sun protection is the only way to avoid sunburn, of course, but sometimes that’s easier said than done.

Water and sweat wear away at your sunscreen, or you miss a spot, or the hike back to your campsite is longer than you imagined. Whatever the reason, sunburns happen. And when they do, you want to minimize the damage and discomfort so you can get back to your regularly scheduled outdoor routine as quickly as possible.

These Natural Sunburn Remedies Will Soothe and Help Heal

Crowd sunbathing on the beach.

Fortunately, humans have been dealing with sunburns for we’ve learned a few tricks for tending to skin that’s seen too much UVA and UVB exposure. These natural sunburn remedies not only feel good, they really work, getting you back outside faster.

1. Aloe Vera

Person touching large aloe plant.

There’s no doubt about it— aloe vera is one of the most reliable natural sunburn remedies available. The Aloe Vera plant has been used medicinally by ancient Egyptian and Medeterranian cultures for at least four thousand years. References to aloe vera have been found on Sumerian clay tablets that date back to 2100 B.C., while Egyptian hieroglyphics refer to its use healing the sick and in embalming rituals.

Today, scientists recognize that aloe helps heal burnt skin thanks to its high water content and unique array of antioxidants, amino acids, and lipids that not only replenish damaged skin, but help transport hydrating ingredients where they’re needed most. Patting pure aloe gel squeezed straight from the leaf on your burn as soon as you notice it is simple and effective. But if you don’t have access to fresh aloe leaves, make sure you purchase an aloe product that is alcohol-free and in which aloe is one of the first ingredients listed on the label. That will help you avoid drying your skin further, or paying for a product with a lot of filler.

2. Cold Compress

If your sunburn isn’t very severe, all you might need is a cool compress and some time in the shade. If you catch your sun exposure before a full burn has set in, a cool damp compress can feel amazing and help your skin release the heat it’s holding under the surface.. Some people like to add small amount of peppermint or tea tree oil to create a soothing mentholated tingle, or a little white vinegar to help take the sting out of the burn. But if all you have on hand is a bandana and some cool water, that can tide you over until you can get your hands on serious natural sunburn remedies.

3. Tea

Dried black tea leaves.

Black tea is often touted as a remedy for minor burns of all sorts, including sunburns, thanks to tannins and catechins that can reduce inflammation, take the sting out, and even help repair skin. And though it’s not mentioned quite as often as a burn remedy, green tea has also proven a very effective treatment in scientific studies, for the same reason nutritionists recommend drinking green tea regularly.

The high number of antioxidants in both black and green tea can help combat the cancer-causing effects of sun damage on the skin. Those antioxidants help repel free radicals, reduce inflammation, and can also help you avoid some of the cosmetic side effects of too much sun, like premature aging.

Simply brew a strong batch of tea and pat onto skin or mix with fresh aloe for a topical treatment, or let the tea bags themselves cool after steeping so you can daub your burn. Alternatively, look for skincare products with green tea as a primary ingredient to take advantage of its healing properties.

4. Chamomile Tea

Chamomile is a go-to when you need to summon up your inner calm. But it’s just as soothing for you skin as your nerves, with antioxidant, hypocholesterolemic, anti-parasitic, anti-aging, and anticancer properties uncovered in several scientific studies. Chamomile helps the body continue regulating the enzymes that protect against all sorts of short and long term skin inflammation, from psoriasis to allergic reactions to sunburns. It can also help reduce impact on DNA from too much UVA and UVB exposure.

Chamomile has even been shown to reduce inflammation markers known as cytokines, the same baddies that are elevated when you have a hangover and may be responsible for those rough morning-after symptoms. So if you’ve got a sunburn while throwing back a few beach drinks, chamomile tea within and without might help you bounce back.

Like using other natural sunburn remedies like black or green tea as a cure, this involves steeping a strong chamomile tea before pouring it over your sunburn or using it to soak a cold compress. Repeat several times a day, or use in combination with aloe, hyaluronic acid, etc. to give that sunburn added treatment.

5. Rosehip Oil

Rosehip gorwing on a bush

Rosehip oil has been used for centuries to reduce inflammation and even treat arthritis, and it isn’t just an old wives tale. Research has shown that rosehip oil can positively impact skin barrier repair, act as an anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory agent, reduces skin aging, and might even assist in wound healing. That’s all good news for anyone who has gotten a little crispy. After cooling your skin with a water or tea compress, apply rosehip oil to the burn and gently massage into your skin. You can also use it following hyaluronic acid or aloe to help seal that serum into your skin and retain even more moisture.

6. Natural Sting Relief Gel

Last but not least, you can buy a pre-packaged treatment that blends a lot of these natural sunburn remedies in one formula, along with extra ingredients to help your skin recover. Stream2Sea’s Sun and Sting Relief Gel has green tea extract as its first ingredient, along with other antioxidant rich tulsi (holy basil) leaf, olive leaf, and a hefty dose of aloe vera juice.

Along with bio-fermented wakame seaweed and cooling lavender, peppermint, cinnamon, and tea tree oil, and eucalyptus, this spreadable gel has all the proven natural sunburn remedies in one, even a dash of vinegar. And there’s no additives like alcohol that will further dry or irritate your inflamed skin.

You can also feel good about Leaving No Trace, thanks to biodegradable packaging and Stream2Sea’s commitment to reef-safe sunscreen formulas that won’t hurt the environment while you’re reducing sun exposure. And if you do forget to reapply, this gel will help mitigate the fallout, one antioxidant super punch at a time.


This article was brought to you by Stream2Sea.

Stream2Sea relief gel.

Stream2Sea’s sunscreen and sting relief gel will keep you pain-free all summer.


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Meghan O'Dea

Meghan O'Dea

Meghan O'Dea is a writer, world traveler, and life-long learner who grew up in the foothills of Appalachia. College led to summer stints in England and Slovenia, grad school to a sojourn Hong Kong, and curiosity to everywhere in between. She has written for the Washington Post, Fortune Magazine, Yoga Journal, Eater Magazine, and Uproxx amongst others. Meghan hopes to visit all seven continents with pen and paper in tow.