This is me … two weeks ago 🙂


I had great fun on our family vacation in VA. Can you tell?

I promised to share a few thoughts from my sunburn adventures. So here I am, coming up with a rather late post!

Day 1:

Because we were visiting relatives in VA, the only two things we had with us that I knew to try, were Aloe gel and Honey. I rubbed Aloe on my face and arms first, and then followed it with honey {which I wore to bed all night :-/ }. Not fun!

At this point the burn was not painful at all, but I definitely felt the heat!

Note: Quite a few people have told me that Aloe does not seem to help them, or make a very big difference at all… while others have said it works wonders! Someone recently told me that Aloe seals the heat in, and should probably not be applied first thing… but that it works great if applied a little later, and can help a sunburn become a tan {rather than peeling}.

Day 2:

When I woke up the next morning, my skin felt more sensitive to the touch. As the day went on and we traveled home to NC, it started to feel more painful, to the point that it bothered me when someone rubbed up against me in the car.

When we got home I spent about 30 minutes rubbing cucumber slices all over my face, which felt cool and soothing. But as soon as I took the cucumber slices off the pain came right back.

In the evening I did some research and found that a lot of people recommended Vinegar as a first resort for pain relief and quick healing – followed by something like Aloe or Coconut Oil to create that protective seal/barrier over the skin. My burn was pretty painful at this point, and very uncomfortable. I felt rather desperate, so I found some Apple Cider Vinegar, and  rubbed it all over my arms and face. I applied Coconut Oil after the Vinegar, with a few drops of Lavender and Peppermint Essential Oil mixed in. This was extremely helpful! It took away the pain almost immediately, and felt very soothing to my skin. I wore the AC Vinegar and Coconut Oil to bed (with a small towel over my pillow-case so I wouldn’t get everything all greasy!) and slept great!

Day 3:

I applied more AC Vinegar and Coconut Oil. This time the Vinegar stung a tiny bit when I put it on my face. I continued to apply Aloe gel as well.

Note: It seemed like repeated applications of Aloe Gel caused a buildup on my skin that made it look like my face was peeling/flaking. I found that I could easily “scrub” it off without causing too much pain.

After 3 days there wasn’t really any more pain or sensitivity. The red gradually started to become tan. My arms and face peeled a little {my arms continued to peel a little for another 1-2 weeks!} but not much. I would continue to rub Coconut Oil on whenever peeling occurred, which seemed to help a lot.

One thing’s for sure! Aloe definitely works to turn a burn into a tan… my siblings all tease me about my darker arms, because I have very light skin, and almost *never* tan!

Next Time

What I will and won’t try…!

1. Vinegar

I love the vinegar effect! It’s a great pain reliever. The results I got on the second day were pretty incredible! I’d like to try it first thing next time, rather than using Aloe right away :-/

2. Coconut Oil (with Essential Oils)

Love! I’ll definitely rub this all over after the vinegar… but maybe not right away. I’d like to possibly give it a little time, without applying anything that would form a barrier and seal in heat.

3. Honey

I liked the honey, and think it helped a lot. But because it’s so messy I don’t like to use it all the time, and most preferably not to bed!

4. Aloe

I like Aloe. A lot. I just don’t feel like it was a good remedy to rub all over my burn right away. Next time I’d probably wait a few hours or even a day.

5. Cucumbers

Probably not. If I need a temporary pain reliever this works well. But they didn’t seem to make a very huge different otherwise, and the effects did not seem to last very long at all. I preferred the Vinegar and Coconut Oil with Essential Oils.

What do you do for a burn?

One thing I know… I’m loving each and every one of these life lessons, to try new things and experience what does and doesn’t seem to help! I’ll definitely have a greater awareness of how important it is to have something protective on my skin next time… and of course being able to experience these things firsthand, helps me better understand how to encourage others who are going through the same things in life.

Now that’s a blessing, for which I am truly grateful! 🙂


8 thoughts on “Sunburn

  1. Great post Sarah, thank-you so much for sharing!
    My family’s very favorite thing for treating sunburn, is straight Lavender Oil! Applying a few drops to the affected area{being careful not to get *too* close to the eyes, if treating the face!}as soon as possible has been the best thing we’ve ever tried! It does have an initial sting, but that is usually when your treating a “burn” burn, as opposed to a sunburn. But the relief from pain you get very quickly thereafter, is *wonderful*!! It is also our first choice in treating poison oak/ivy! And Coconut oil on sunburns is a favorite in our home too! But while you may not want to apply Coconut Oil to a fresh sunburn, as it ‘locks in the heat’, it is WONDERFUL used as a sun-block! My Mother has very sensitive skin, and it is the only thing she uses now =)
    Thanks again for sharing your ‘life lessons’ with us all!


    • Thank you Mallory!
      I have been told that straight Lavender is wonderful, although the only time I tried it was on a younger brother and he said it burned. His was a burn, not a sunburn, so I wasn’t sure about trying it again neat (undiluted). So thank you for sharing this – and I had not heard about it for poison ivy/oak either! I look forward to trying the Coconut Oil for a natural sun-screen… I recently found a couple of recipes that use a Coconut Oil base, along with some other great ingredients for skin and will definitely be making something up soon so that I don’t have to wear chemicals to keep myself from burning 🙂


  2. This post was very timely! After we spent a day at the lake last weekend with some friends, we returned home and I discovered (via the sense of touch first and foremost :/ :)) that the lower portion of my legs (below my knees, which my Wholesome Wear Swimsuit hadn’t covered) were fried. It was very painful; the rubbing of even a loose skirt against it was terribly uncomfortable.
    I completely agree with your thoughts on vinegar, Sarah! I used that and it cooled it tremendously, allowing the pain to dissipate enough so that I could sleep. Over the next couple days, after only a couple uses of the vinegar, the pain died down so much that, in the busyness, I kind-of forgot about it… until day 4, when I looked down and discovered that, while it didn’t hurt very badly anymore, certain areas (the ones most severely burned) were looking “dead” and getting a gray hint to them.
    Providentially, we were with another friend that day, who suggested cocoa butter. Since then, I have been using a mixture of cocoa butter and coconut oil (applied several times a day), and the healing has been wonderful. Not only does it feel (and smell! ;)) great, but the not-as-severely-burned areas are almost healed completely, and the gray hue that was on the more-severe areas has dissipated, leaving them a healthy-looking reddish-pink.
    So, what will I do next time?
    First, I probably won’t allow myself to forget about it for several days. 😉 Second, I will use vinegar for the initial cooling of the burn and for pain relief. Third, after a few applications of vinegar, I will apply the cocoa butter/coconut oil mixture.


    • Kathryn, thank you so much for sharing! It’s always wonderful to hear firsthand what others are doing that works!! I’m so excited to hear that the Vinegar and Coconut Oil helped you – they were the most helpful two remedies that I tried. I had not heard about Cocoa Butter specifically, but it makes so much sense, and I imagine Shea Butter would be excellent as well. I have both and will probably try some of these things next time I have an opportunity – hopefully right away rather than waiting {haha}!! 🙂


  3. I have read that eating watermelon is alleged to be a natural sunscreen. Sounds delightful. I wonder if it is true 🙂 Yes, prevention would be best 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Our number one *go-to* for burns is Aloe Vera Gel. We look for one without colorants and with as much purity as possible, which can be challenging to find in our area. Cover the burn to seal out the air. As soon as it dries the pain is mostly if not completely gone. We used to have an aloe plant. That was very handy. We also find Arbonne’s After Sun product to be an excellent for sunburn. We do not use burn relief products from the store as the ingredients can have icky (non-technical term) side effects. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you S Family! We used to have an Aloe plant as well, and now we have a *very* tiny one that is growing in my dad’s office! 🙂
      We also use an Aloe gel from the store, like you are describing, as pure as we can find it. I so agree with you on the burn relief products from the store… and am hoping to make up some natural sunscreen products for next time… so that hopefully I won’t get burned in the first place! 🙂


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