hand next to whipped shea butter

What to do about sunburn

Oh noes! You went outside to enjoy the day and accidentally came back inside with sunburn. Maybe the burn didn’t show right away, but now you’re feeling it. Ouch! What do you do?

If you’re like me, sunburn doesn’t show until several hours after the fact. This makes it difficult to keep tabs on my skin when I’m nearing the prime hours of 10:00 AM- 3:00 PM. I try to be smart about when I go outside without sun protection, but sometimes running into a friend or another chance encounter bumps my schedule and keeps me outside longer than I planned.

Like regular lotions, regular sunburn ointments contain too much alcohol to properly re-hydrate my skin. After a bad sunburn a few years ago, I remember going to Walgreens and searching for an aloe vera solution that didn’t contain alcohol. I couldn’t find one. On top of that, the sunburn “remedies” were full of preservatives, artificial coloring, and other chemicals. I bought one anyway, desperate to help my angry red skin. It didn’t really work and my skin peeled, anyways.

The two primary remedies for sunburn involve proper hydration: drinking plenty of water and moisturizing your skin. After I started making my own lotion (whipped shea butter), I realized that it was also a great antidote for sunburn. Whipped shea butter is easy to make, chemical-free, and naturally contains skin-nourishing vitamins. I’ll gently rub this on my hurt skin and then regularly apply it as soon as my skin starts to dry.

Within a day, my skin has noticeably healed. The pink has begun to fade and my skin is no longer as tender. For those of you who know about my aloe plant at home— no, I don’t use it. This little plant has been across the country and back with me, and I can’t bear to cut off its poor little arms. I call it my dancing aloe because of its long and graceful leaves. And long and graceful they shall stay 😊.

Dancing Aloe

If you don’t have whipped shea butter, straight shea butter will also work. It feels very greasy by itself, but it will keep your skin sealed. Be kind to your skin by warming up the shea butter before using it, because it’s almost rock solid at room temperature. Unrefined shea butter is better for your skin than refined shea butter because it contains more nutrients. However, it also has more of a nutty scent. It doesn’t bother me and after years of using it, I’ve actually grown to like the fragrance.

I’m glad you’re getting outside and enjoying the summer days! Keep getting out there but remember to monitor your sun exposure. Avoid peak hours of the sun and consider wearing a sunhat to keep the strongest rays off your face and shoulders. Mineral sunscreen is also a good option. If you do happen to get some sunburn, try using a 100% natural and homemade moisturizer to speed the healing process along. Sometimes our bodies just need the simplest things to work their own healing magic.