The EclecticPhysician

The Eclectic Physician
Q&A Archive
By Dr. Beth Burch

Aloe vera gel especially soothing for sunburn.


Will breaking open a vitamin E capsule and spreading it on a sunburn help relieve the pain and keep the skin moist? Do you have any other suggestions for sunburn?


Vitamin E oil in capsules would be one choice for soothing a sunburn. You can also find it in an oil or cream base made for external application. Creams with vitamins A & D are also soothing and healing.

Some of my favorites for sunburn are aloe vera gel, calendula cream, St. John's wort oil and zinc oxide ointment. Aloe vera gel is especially soothing for sunburn- it is cooling and promotes healing and is available everywhere. Calendula cream or ointment is great for promoting healing and is very gentle. St. John's wort oil (not the pills), makes a good topical application for sunburn- soothing and pain relieving. Don't use it however if you will be in the sun again as it can make you photosensitive and subject to a worse sunburn. Zinc oxide ointment can have amazing results especially if the skin is blistered. It is soothing and protective and helps to dry up the blisters. It also works as a sunblock to prevent further sun exposure to a burned area.

Cool wet cloths can help to take the heat and pain out of a bad sunburn, along with the use of one or more of the above creams or ointments. Apply lots of a good moisturizer as well to help prevent drying and peeling of the area- my own favorite is rose cream.

Of course the best treatment for sunburn is prevention. Always use a good sunscreen or sunblock and apply it frequently especially after swimming or sweating. For skin prone to burning, I suggest a sunblock with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide for maximum protection. Wear a hat to protect your face and avoid staying in the sun too long.

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