A Post About Sunburn Relief - Aren't My Titles Wonderful?

In junior high, my family went on vacation to Mexico. I got to bring a friend with me!! We collected shells on the beach that we thought were empty but the next day realized they were so the two of us packed up to take them back to the beach and hang out for a little bit.

We forgot 1 thing - sunscreen.

We remembered this when we were laying on the air mattress in miserable amounts of pain, laughing/yelling at each other when they moved in bed.

While I tried to be good about remembering my sunscreen - especially when being at the pool or for the summer I worked at the pool - as a youth, I just didn't always remember. Lets not even talk about my time in tanning beds....

Of course, now, we are wise about our sun times. Limiting our exposure during the hottest times of the day, using sunscreen when we are near water...

But burns happen.

So lets get some relief and start the healing process. I will also be talking about what I am doing to help my skin from all my years of neglect.

1) Aloe Gel

While this is a no brainer, its is in my recipe below. Its also important to mention that if you are buying aloe gel, you need to check the ingredients. Almost all of them will contain some sort of preservative because, well, the gel is a fresh ingredient. 

The plant is easy to keep in your home and you can refrigerate the leaves once harvested to let the gel "keep" a little longer.

2) Prickly pear cactus

What?! A cactus for sunburn relief? Yep, inside of those pads are a wonderful gel to help with sunburns. They are even found in the Midwest. This last year, I harvested some and dried the gel to use at a later time. 

Watch out for the glochids when harvesting. If you end up with some, use the gel to help draw them out...or duct tape.

This is actually an amazing cactus for our medicine cabinet so take the time to learn more about it. I hope to cover it some more at another time. If you scroll through long enough, you will see my harvest on my Instagram account.

3) Calendula

You can use this amazing plant in actually several ways: herbal bath, hydrosol, infused oil, and salve. I have use them all successfully for skin healing and it is one of the herbs in my Sacred Green Salve.

The hydrosol is amazing and in many times comes in a spray bottle so it is ready to use at all times. I hate being without a Calendula hydrosol and, unlike the essential oil, it is easy to make at home. It will be even easier to make when I purchase a still but that is still a ways off (ah to dream).

For a bath, just make a strong tea (quart or larger) and add it to a lukewarm bath - not hot or cold. We don't want to damage the skin any further and we want to be able to keep the sebum on the skin (not only does it allow the vitamin D be processed into the body, it also works to help heal the skin).

Its really REALLY easy to grow so plant some!

Keep tuned in for my infused oil making process or see if you are local for a workshop!

4) Lavender essential oil

If you have been here a while, you know how rarely I use essential oils (and why) but Lavender essential oil is one that I do not find myself without.

I always dilute it to at least 3% but its usually even less than that (as you will see in the recipe below). Just because Lavender is generally regarded as safe for neat (undiluted) use, it is still advised to dilute. You can even go up to 5-10% for a sunburn as long as you aren't using it daily.

If you are adding it to a bath, you will still need to dilute before hand - water doesn't dilute an essential oil.

5) St Johns Wort

It is no surprised that this beautiful ally would bloom at the time we need it. St Johns wort oil is exceptionally nourishing to the skin, helping to relieve the pain from the burn as well as helping it heal.

Fresh flowers are what you use when working with St Johns Wort so be sure to check that when purchasing a SJW product or plant your own!

Now, I know some people might be saying "well, I thought St Johns wort caused sun sensitivity in people". This side effect is usually caused by internal consumption of SJW AND is actually very rare.

And now a spray recipe!

Sunny Sunny Sunburn Spray (I just made that up, call it whatever you feel like!)


  • Calendula hydrosol - 3 oz
  • Aloe gel - 2 oz
  • Lavender essential oil - 10 drops
  • Amber spray bottle (I like to reuse bottles old hydrosol bottles)

Making the spray

Combine all the ingredients in spray bottle. Shake well. Store in fridge (it will be fine in your bag for a day or so)

To use - spray onto affected areas and rub gently. Apply 3-4 times a day for 2 days.

Now, for those of us who completely damaged our skin when we were younger, its time to really focus some attention on our skin.

My favorite remedy right now for my skin is a frankincense infused oil. I use frankincense resin in a sealed simmer oil. This is where you add the oil and resin to a mason jar and add a canning lid to the top. In a double boiler, slowly heat up the oil for a few hours on low. Keep the jar sealed and let sit for about 6 weeks before straining. It is heavenly.

You can "cheat" by using an frankincense essential oil BUT there is a lot of controversy with this particular essential oil so using the resin is a more sustainable and ethical option.

Be sure to be drinking plenty of fluids and rest if you get a burn. 

Stay radical and blessed be. 3x3x3