With the summer season in full swing, now is the time to combat sunburn and restore healthy skin. Essential oils, known for their anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, can be used to soothe redness, burning, and blistering that come as a result of being overexposed to the sun.
Sunburn occurs when one’s skin is overexposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or an artificial light source, like a tanning bed. Each person reacts differently—some with minor redness, others with more severe blisters or peeling of the skin—so it is important to take necessary precautions both before and after sun exposure.
That being said, if one’s skin has burned, prompt treatment can decrease skin damage and speed up the healing process. There are various essential oils, formulas, and sprays that are particularly useful for the two-part experience of sunburn: relieving pain and healing damaged skin. The following options can serve as a guide.
Tea tree oil (Melaleuca oil)
Excellent for post-sun relief, this essential oil comes from the wild tea tree bush native to Australia and New Zealand. Filled with over 98 compounds, and usually clear to pale golden in color, tea tree oil rejuvenates dehydrated skin and alleviates stress with it’s pleasant, camphor-like scent. The cooling properties of tea tree oil are akin to mint and are refreshing in cases of sunburn.
Heal Damaged Skin
A member of the mint family, lavender’s anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, anti-fungal, and antibacterial properties work to quickly heal damaged skin. Lavender essential oil contains aromatic molecules called esters which work as a tonic for irritated skin cells. Lavender oil increases circulation, prevents blistering, and heals skin so that scars and pain are minimized. For a quick home remedy, you can even make your own sunburn spray using lavender oil.
Homemade Sunburn Spray
– 1/2 cup water
– 2 tablespoons pure aloe vera gel
– 10 drops pure lavender essential oil
– 10 drops pure peppermint essential oil
– A 4 oz. (or larger) spray bottle
Mix ingredients together well and pour into a spray bottle. Spray onto skin, allowing the spray to dry. Re-apply as often as needed.
While using essential oils to treat sunburn, keep in mind that they are extremely concentrated and have the potential to burn or irritate skin when used alone. Utilize a carrier oil—an oil derived from the fat in plants, usually from the seed, nut, or kernel—to use as a base. Some common carrier oils are olive oil, coconut oil, grape seed oil, jojoba oil, and safflower oil. Most essential oils and carrier oils can be bought in health stores or online.
Lastly, while essential oils are useful, preventing sunburn is the easiest way to avoid pain and skin damage. Use sunscreen before and during sun exposure, and cover susceptible areas with clothing.
Written by Nicole Kagan
- Accorsi, K. (n.d.). Aromatherapy and Essential Oils. WholesomeOne. Retrieved May 21, 2014, from https://wholesomeone.com/treatment/aromatherapy
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