This is a short note this week because we have many requests for our best recommendations for sunburn. Whether you believe in climate change or not, there is no debating the dangers and unpleasantness of sunburned skin. We recommend always making a cream with you to soothe the sting and reduce peeling.
But before we get into the essential oils for sunburn, it seems appropriate to remind you that they do not give adequate sun protection. Despite what you may read on certain internet pages, there are no essential oils with a decisive enough sun protection factor to consider going without sunscreen.
If you want to recap the science, I posted about this here: Carrot seed oil spf.
OK, Let's think about the best essential oils for sunburn.
They are lavender, Roman and German chamomiles, yarrow, peppermint, and patchouli.
People often look surprised when I say lavender because they imagine it to be emotionally relaxing but not necessarily that soothing to the skin.
Wide-eyed, they ask: "Does lavender essential oil help sunburn ?"
Absolutely. Lavender will take the sting and soreness out of the burn and will soothe the itching.
Lavender is one of the best essential oils for sunburn because it is so cooling generally.
As well as a lavender essential oil, I greatly advocate using lavender hydrolat (hydrosol) for sunburn too. It's so soothing and refreshing.
All chamomile oils are anti-inflammatory.
Roman chamomile is so soothing and refreshing.
The worst case scenario is that you don't have any camomile essential oil to hand; a camomile tea bag can do wonders in an emergency.
The blue oils (German chamomile, blue tansy, and yarrow) all contain azulenes, chemicals that act like liquid anesthetics.
Again, tremendously soothing because of its blue azulenes. This is probably the best essential oil for sunburn relief.
Menthol interacts with receptors in the skin and is activated by cold. As such, then, menthol actively cools the skin and calms the burning sensation.
Cooling and soothing but nourishing and protecting for the skin, to protect against peeling.
How Do You Use Essential Oils For Sunburn?
Ordinarily, mix essential oils into a carrier oil before commencing; however, aqueous cream is a much better option when diluting essential oils for sunburn. It's not all in my head, but I always feel like carrier oil fries on the skin when it's hot! Aqueous cream is available over the counter from pharmacies. It is cooling, refreshing, and hydrating. Another great one is aloe vera gel, an excellent base for essential oils. The two also mix very well if you are persistent.
DIY Essential Oils for Sunburn Recipe
- 4oz Aqueous Cream
- 1 oz Aloe Vera Gel
- 10 drops Lavender Essential Oil (Lavandula angustifolia)
- 5 drops Roman Chamomile Essential Oil (Anthemis nobilis)
- 3 drops Yarrow Essential Oil (Achillea millefolium)
- 2 drops Peppermint Essential Oil (Mentha piperita)
- 1 drop Patchouli Essential Oil (Pogostemon cablin)
Method of Preparation: An electric mixer is the best way to make an aqueous preparation. If you use a whisk, keep it in a shallow setting. We don't want to add too much air to the cream. Mix the Aloe Vera into the cream, then add your essential oil.
Method of Use: Use as and when required. Suggest using up to seven times each day till the pain has subsided.
Safety: Not suitable for use during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy.
Storage: More from a usability point of view than from safety… keep the cream in the refrigerator so it's lovely and cold when needed.
Keeping a pot of essential oils for sunburn in the refrigerator means you will always have a lovely soothing and cooling natural remedy as and when you need them.