Even with best intentions and sunscreen use, sunburns happen. Sunburn severity can range even sometimes sending people to the emergency room. The following use of essential oils to relieve and heal the symptoms of sunburns is intended for mild cases. As always, it is best to test a small area before applying liberally with the essential oils, as well as consult a medical professional.
What is a sunburn?
A sunburn is the result of overexposure of skin to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. The Mayo Clinic explains:
Sunburns are caused by exposure to too much ultraviolet (UV) light. UV radiation is a wavelength of sunlight in a range too short for the human eye to see. Ultraviolet A (UVA) is the type of solar radiation most associated with skin aging (photoaging). Ultraviolet B (UVB) is associated with sunburn. Exposure to both types of radiation is associated with developing skin cancer. Sunlamps and tanning beds also produce UV light and can cause sunburn.
Melanin is the dark pigment in the outer layer of skin (epidermis) that gives your skin its normal color. When you’re exposed to UV light, your body protects itself by accelerating the production of melanin. The extra melanin creates the darker color of a tan.
A suntan is your body’s way of blocking the UV rays to prevent sunburn and other skin damage. But the protection only goes so far. The amount of melanin you produce is determined genetically. Many people simply don’t produce enough melanin to protect the skin well. Eventually, UV light causes the skin to burn, bringing pain, redness and swelling.1)http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sunburn/symptoms-causes/dxc-20323221
Essential Oils Treatment for Sunburns
Last year, I worked too long in the garden and developed a sunburn on my neck and shoulders. It was painful and made it difficult to sleep. I researched home remedies to soothe the burn and discovered common essential oils offer treatment. I was amazed at how effective two essential oils worked: lavender and peppermint. Dr. Axe explains:
Peppermint oil is a natural analgesic, or painkiller. It also helps soothe burnt areas by providing a cooling sensation. Bonus: because peppermint oil is also effective at alleviating headaches, it can help with the after-sun headache some people suffer from.
Lavender oil is my second essential oil go-to for sunburns. It reduces the sting of burns and reduces redness. Thanks to its antimicrobial properties, it’ll speed up healing, allowing your body to recover faster.2)https://draxe.com/sunburn-relief/
I used the oils directly on my skin, but it is best to mix them with fractionated coconut oil to avoid any negative reaction from full strength essential oils.
DoTerra provides a DIY sunburn relief recipe that adds aloe vera and tea tree oil (Melaleuca).
Ingredients:16-ounce glass spray bottle1 cup aloe vera juice1/4 cup Fractionated Coconut Oil1 teaspoon vitamin E8 drops Lavender essential oil8 drops Melaleuca essential oil8 drops Peppermint essential oilNote: You can find Aloe Vera Juice at your local health food store.Directions:
- Combine all ingredients in glass spray bottle.
- Shake to combine.Tip: Shake before each use to incorporate all ingredients. Spray onto skin as needed and enjoy its soothing benefits.
The Mayo Clinic advises you see a doctor if you have the following sunburn symptoms:
See your doctor if the sunburn:
- Is blistering and covers a large portion of your body
- Is accompanied by a high fever, extreme pain, headache, confusion, nausea or chills
- Doesn’t improve within a few days
Also seek medical care if you notice signs or symptoms of an infection. These include:
- Increasing pain and tenderness
- Increasing swelling
- Yellow drainage (pus) from an open blister
- Red streaks leading away from the open blister4)http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sunburn/symptoms-causes/dxc-20323221
Natural remedies for sunburn relief are very effective in my experience. Apple cider vinegar diluted with water also brings relief; however, essential oils treatment for sunburns speeds healing and relieves pain.
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