9 Best Essential Oils For Sunburn: Soothe, Cool, and Care for Your Skin

There’s no justice in the world is there? We have been licked up for months and our skins are all pale and out of condition. One lovely day and we get burnt to a crisp! To date, no scientific studies have been published with results of any studies that either prove or disprove their usage, however, it’s very easy to make your own mind up about how soothing and cooling essential oils are. Today we’ll think about the best essential oils for sunburn.

9 Best Essential Oils For Sunburn

  1. Peppermint essential oil
  2. Yarrow essential oil
  3. Spikenard essential oil
  4. Patchouli essential oil
  5. Roman chamomile essential oil
  6. German chamomile essential oil
  7. Spearmint essential oil
  8. Lavender essential oil
  9. Helichrysum essential oil

1. Peppermint Essential Oil

This one is at the top of the list of the best essential oils because it is so cooling. Our skin is the largest organ in our body and is covered with sensors. These monitor pressure and temperature amongst other things. Sometimes these sensors have more than one job to do. An example of that is the TRPV8 channel, which sends both temperature signals and ones about pain. 

Peppermint is high in menthol which is known as an agonist for the TRPV8 channel. Agonist means it switches it on and off. 

TRPV8 channels also respond to cold and to pain. The menthol in peppermint cools the skin and switches down the pain response. 

However…

And there is always a however in aromatherapy, have you noticed?  

Peppermint is the best essential oil for sunburn relief, but it is also a very wakeful oil. It is stimulating and its skill is making you as alert as you possibly can be. For this reason, we need to be careful about using it in the evening, or you won’t get any sleep. 

Also, menthol slows respiration, which can be problematic in children. For this reason, we do not recommend peppermint essential oil for sunburn for children under six. 

If you have already made yourself a blend, and you want to know if you can  use it, only apply it on your child’s back. Please keep it away from their faces. 

Like any other essential oil, avoid using peppermint essential oil for sunburn in the first 16 weeks of pregnancy.

2. Yarrow Essential Oil

This is the gentlest of the gentle things from gentleville. Yarrow is one of the best essential oils for sunburn because of its constituents called azulenes that are like liquid anesthetic. 

Yarrow is perfect for using on children too. 

As usual, as long as we avoid using yarrow in the first 16 weeks of pregnancy, it’s lovely and safe.

3. Spikenard Essential Oil

The spikenard is a tiny pink flower that grows on the sides of mountains in Nepal. The people of Nepal are so poor that around a quarter of the population collects medicinal plants like spikenard (or the jatamansi, as it is known there) to supplement their incomes and have enough to eat. 

The picking season is long and so the younger members of the families are put into orphanages to care for them while their children are gone. 

These orphanages tend to be way up on the mountainsides, and tragically, they are so poor that the people who run them cannot afford to buy sunscreens for the children. Many of them have cruelly burnt skin from the exposure. 

Ironically, spikenard is one of the best essential oils for sunburn, especially when blended with yarrow. It is a threatened species, which has a high ecological and human cost attached, so should only be used for very acute conditions. 

That said, it is one of the foremost treatments for diarrhea which can also present when people have sunstroke. 

The same old safety rules apply. Spikenard is not suitable for use in the first sixteen weeks of pregnancy.

4. Patchouli Essential Oil

This is a very conditioning oil. It is soothing to the skin and again comes from one of these countries that really know about heat. Patchouli and cardamom oils are lovely for skin that looks like it might peel. 

Avoid using patchouli essential oil in the first 16 weeks of pregnancy.

5. Roman Chamomile Essential Oil

We’ve talked about the limitations of peppermint so what essential oil is good for sunburn in kids? The chamomiles, hands down. In fact, this is one of the rare occasions where it might be best to use two chamomiles together. Roman chamomile is very good for anything that is inflamed. Its anti-inflammatory action would refer to how hot the skin is and how sore the burn is. It is soothing and calming. Again. Like patchouli, it’s a very good skin conditioner if it looks like the skin might peel. We also love the chamomiles for itchy skin and prickly heat.

As ever, avoid in the first 16 weeks of pregnancy.

6. German Chamomile Essential Oil

There are advantages to using German chamomile over Roman chamomile though. German chamomile is also sometimes called blue chamomile because, like yarrow, it too has these liquid anesthetic azulene chemicals in it. It is one of the best essential oils for sunburn relief. 

Roman chamomile is one of the best essential oils for sunburn that is inflamed, german chamomile would be better for the soreness. 

What the heck...whack them both in. That’s what we say. 

Safety: Avoid during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy.

7. Spearmint Essential Oil

Spearmint is not as good as peppermint because it does not have as much menthol. But if you find that peppermint is too bossy, or if it gives you a headache, then spearmint will do an adequate job. It’s also a better choice if the cream is for kids too. Less menthol means there are not so many worries about it affecting respiration. You can use spearmint safely at about 0.5% on kids. (That’s one drop in two teaspoons of carrier oil), for adults, your normal 3% maximum dilution is fine. Avoid using spearmint essential oil during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy.

8. Lavender Essential Oil

Of course, we had to add it in. Soothing, calming, and refreshing. After all, what is summer all about, if not lavender? There is an old story that circulates about lavender oil and burns which is very interesting here. Renée Gattefosse is the father of modern aromatherapy. Born in the late 19th century, Gattefosse was a talented scientist, who was fascinated by the healing attributes of plants.
Legend tells how he burned his hand, one day and plunged it into a vat of lavender oil. The story makes it sound like he discovered the skin healing properties of the oil. But naturally, it was a controlled action done because he knew how incredible lavender is for burns. In just a matter of days, the skin had healed perfectly. 

Lavender is safe and easy to use. Avoid in the first 16 weeks of pregnancy.

9. Helichrysum Essential Oil

Helichrysum is rich in neryl acetate, a constituent whose main skill is skin healing. It has some analgesic properties, however, we would suggest blending this with something live lavender and chamomile to take the sting out a bit more. 

Safety: As ever we would not recommend using helichrysum essential oil during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. It also has a blood-thinning action, so avoid this oil if you are taking blood-thinning medications, have a blood clotting disorder, or have surgery scheduled in the next 48 hours.

How to Apply Essential Oils Good For Sunburn

10 Best Essential Oils For Sunburn

It is vitally important that you do not dilute your essential oils into a carrier oil. Think about what happens when you place fat into a skillet then add heat. Oils will fry on your skin which only makes the burns worse. 

Always use an aloe vera gel base - aloe vera is also a wonderful help for burns or an aqueous cream. Aqueous creams are readily available from most pharmacies

DIY Essential Oil Blend For Sunburn 

  • 30ml Aqueous Cream 
  • 5 drops Yarrow essential oil (Achillea millefolium) 
  • 2 drops German Chamomile essential oil (Chamomilla matricaria)
  • 1 drop Peppermint essential oil (Mentha piperita) 

Safety: Not suitable for use during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy 

This peppermint in this blend is dilute enough to be safe to use on children. 

Conclusion

Use the best essential oils for sunburn to soothe, cool, and heal your skin. Just be careful of how you use peppermint essential oil for sunburn, otherwise, everything else is pretty straightforward. Having a good collection of soothing oils around you will make life so much simpler the next time the sun comes out!

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