I warned you. But you didn’t want to smell like a coconut. You didn’t want to get greasy. But, darlings, sun sans SPF, and you’re gonna feel the burn (and not in a Richard Simmons sort of way). It happens to the best of us. And it feels the worst.

Now that you match that seaside lobster lunch, what do you do about it? Here are a few quick tips for soothing that summer skin sadness.

  • Aloe is a go-to sunburn savior—it hydrates and soothes. Buy an aloe plant for at-home 100% natural relief.  Snap off the stalks and squeeze out the gooey goodness. Smooth it all over your burn. To act even cooler, seal the stalks in a Ziploc and place in the fridge for an hour before you smooth it on.
  • Green tea helps prevent free radical cell damage. Brew yourself two cups—one to sip to help from the inside out, the other for a cloth compress on your sunburned areas. The tea contains ingredients that help protect the skin from UV damage and reduce inflammation.
  • Oatmeal isn’t just for breakfast. Grind up a cup in a food processor and add it to a cool bath to care for burnt skin.
  • Expect some serious itching as your skin repairs itself. To calm the irritation, try vinegar. It contains acetic acid—one of the components of meds such as aspirin. Add two cups to a cool bath. You can also soak a few paper towels in white vinegar, and apply them to your sunburn. Leave them on until the towels are dry. Reminds me of the smell of dyeing Easter Eggs. Thanks Easter Bunny…bok bok.

There’s nothing you can do about peeling. Let it be. Don’t help it along or you might be exposing skin that hasn’t healed fully yet. And remember…the new skin should be uber-protected from new rays, so lather on the SPF the next time you go out. Or bookmark this post. Your choice.

Photo credit: Michal Marcol