Whether you’re a Southern Californian clad in beachwear 24/7 or facing humidity in NYC, chances are you’re exposed to the sun and can very well expect to suffer from some degree of sunburn this summer. And while the beach or lakeside invites fun opportunities to nab a sleek tan, sneak in some booze or flaunt some fierce skills in volleyball, they’re also the ideal places to get killer burns. However, have no fear, your kitchen is most likely already stocked to save the day from sunburn peril. Here are 5 foods that will work if aloe vera is not available.
Cucumbers are in season during the summer, which means not only should you stock up on the vegetable to eat, but keep some extras around to help soothe sunburns. Cucumbers have special properties that give the same quality of care as store-bought sunburn relief products—without the chemicals. Mash up a cucumber and apply directly to skin.
This remedy is a bit old-fashioned, but effective nonetheless. One way to use oatmeal is to cook it as directed with more water than normal to obtain a runny consistency. Cool oatmeal and apply liberally on the sunburned areas (take care to not rub, as the grainy texture can end up “exfoliating” the already damaged, tender skin). Another way is to grind up and add the oats to your bath before taking a soak.
Potatoes’ notorious, fatty starch is a life-saver in this situation. Simply cut up a raw potato into slices and rub over the sunburn; the starch is what will relieve the sting. For more severe sunburns and immediate relief, grate or blend the potato and apply as a poultice, allowing more of the starch to make contact with your scorched skin.
Skim or Fat Free Milk
Feel free to use any milk, but the purpose of milk is to create a protein film over the sunburned areas (which are deprived of protein after intense sun exposure). Skim or fat free milk has a higher protein to fat ratio, so it is more effective. Soak cloth in cool—not cold—milk and apply to burn for 15 to 20 minutes.
Yet another fruit that’s in season, strawberries are not only great for eating but also for sunburn relief, thanks to the tannin in them (an ingredient also found naturally in tea). Mash up several ripe strawberries, apply onto the burn for a few minutes and then rinse off.