If you’re like me, sunburn doesn’t show until several hours after the fact. 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.
After a bad sunburn a few years ago, I went to Walgreens and searched 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 help, and my skin peeled anyways.
The two primary remedies for sunburn involve proper hydration: drinking plenty of water and moisturizing your skin. Like regular lotions, regular sunburn ointments contain too much alcohol to properly heal or moisturize damaged skin.
After I started making my own lotion (a.k.a 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 nourishing vitamins like A and E. I reapply as often as necessary so that my skin doesn’t get 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 😊.
If you don’t have whipped shea butter, unrefined shea butter will also work. It feels very greasy by itself and has a distinct nutty scent, but it’ll keep your skin sealed. Be kind to your skin by warming up shea butter before using it, because it’s almost rock solid at room temperature.
Enjoy the outdoors whenever possible but remember to monitor your sun exposure. Avoid peak hours of the sun (10:00 AM- 3:00 PM) 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 sunburn, try using a 100% natural or homemade moisturizer to speed the healing process along. Sometimes, our bodies just need a simple solution to work their own healing magic.