It’s that time of year again. You know, the one where I go outside and immediately burn to a crisp. It’s enough to make me almost believe the people who insist I’m a vampire, even in spite of my love of garlic.
But the one weird thing about being me is that a sunburn, while certainly painful, is also an opportunity. Because I am my own guinea pig, after all, and now I’m free to experiment. (Insert evil laugh here.)
I’m rather fond of this experiment. I didn’t think of it until day 3 of the sunburn, but it still hurt like heck this morning and now… it doesn’t. So I imagine it should be similarly helpful if you think to use it sooner. My skin is delightfully soft and far happier than I would have expected after only one treatment, so much so that I might consider trying this more regularly just as a moisturizer.
It’s also delightfully simple, with only three ingredients, and as you will see all you have to do is mix it together. It’s so uncomplicated, I can’t believe I didn’t think of it sooner.
About the Ingredients
Lavender essential oil is incredible stuff. It has some amazing skin soothing and healing properties, and it’s especially good for burns. I keep a bottle of it in my kitchen for exactly that reason. Sunburns tend to be a bit more persistent than kitchen burns and I’ve had poor luck with it on its own, but mixed with the other two ingredients here the lavender oil works its magic pretty well. You could leave it out if you don’t have any on hand, but it may not work quite as well. Seriously, get some. It’s awesome.
Honey is antibacterial, and as such it has been used to treat wounds for centuries. It’s also a humectant, which means it has the power to draw moisture into your skin. If you’re the sort who enjoys reading PubMed articles, here’s a study expounding on the wonderfully healing substance that is honey. It’s actually a pretty interesting read if you’re nerdy like me.
Aloe Vera is also an age old sunburn treatment. Science also backs up the folk wisdom here, showing that aloe can help speed healing of burns. It’s also a common ingredient in moisturizers and such, as it tends to be something our skin rather enjoys. If you can get it straight from the plant, great. Otherwise you can buy a bottle of it, but make sure it’s the pure stuff! The ingredients should be aloe vera gel and a preservative or two, nothing else. (It is highly perishable, so aloe gel with no preservative is a bit suspect as well.) If it’s bright green, that’s not what you want. Often I see bottles enthusiastically labeled “100% GEL!!!” which means, um, nothing. Double check the ingredients before you buy.
Lavender Honey Sunburn Treatment
- 1 tablespoon raw honey
- 1 tablespoon aloe vera gel
- 10 drops lavender essential oil
Mix all of the above together. This recipe should make enough for several treatments, depending on the size of your burn.
To use, gently dab this mixture on the burned area, coating it completely. Let it soak in as long as possible. Warning, it will be sticky! Once you decide you’ve gotten enough out of it (or in my case, once you decide you want to be able to use your arms again) rinse clean with cool or tepid water and pat dry with a towel or washcloth. Repeat as necessary, and store in the fridge between treatments.
As another helpful note, don’t be afraid of getting this in your hair, especially if your sunburn is near your hairline or on your scalp. (Ouch!) It will rinse out quite easily in the shower, and chances are your hair will quite enjoy it too.