Treating sunburns with essential oils

With the heat of summer come a number of less than desirable skin situations – sweat can trigger breakouts – and excessive sun exposure can lead to sun burns and dry and dehydrated skin. Factor in the added complications of humidity – which can make a typical moisturizer a challenge to absorb into the skin – and you’ve got a very good case for oils. One of the quickest ways to up the decadent factor of your skin care routine—and to give your skin the moisture it craves—is by incorporating high quality oils as an easy and effective part of your summer skin care ritual to help with sunburns and to keep your skin looking fresh, radiant and nourished – and anything but greasy.

  • Mild sunburn – These are the “first-degree” variety that only affect the top layer of skin. Essential oils should be effective remedies for this type of burn. Apply them evenly and often.
  • Severe sunburn – If your sunburn is really bad it’s better to seek the help of a doctor. Essential oils may still help, but it’s likely that you’ll need additional treatments too.

Luckily there are plenty of remedies available for you to slather on that burn. And some really nice essential oils for you to put into the mix to heal you up and ensure your skin gets better soon. Hopefully softer and healthier than before, and with a nice tan left over!

Types of Oils to Use: 

Lavender essential oil is one of the few essential oils that can be used directly on the skin without dilution. Besides it’s sweet fragrance it is is also a natural antiseptic, with antiviral properties that help soothe and cleanse the skin of impurities. With anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, this flowering plant has saved many a skin from peeling sunburns, cysts, and signs of stress. It reduces the sting of burns and reduces redness. Thanks to its antimicrobial properties, it’ll speed up healing, allowing your body to recover faster. It can be used to treat sunburns, summer acne, moisturize hair or as a fragrant facial mist. Lavender works so well due to the presence of adaptogenic compounds that are great at amplifying the skin’s ability to transform and heal itself after sunburn. And because lavender oil is so rapidly absorbed by the skin you’ll quickly notice that the redness of your burn becomes reduced and your skin feels less aggravated when touched. Over time lavender oil also tones and firms the skin. This stimulates cell formation, improves circulation and promotes a healthy oxygen flow into cells. Your new skin cells will become flush with fresh oxygen and grow healthy and strong during the renewal process.

Peppermint essential oil is a natural analgesic, or painkiller. It also helps soothe burnt areas by providing a cooling sensation. Bonus: because peppermint oil is also effective at alleviating headaches, it can help with the after-sun headache some people suffer from.

Frankincense essential oil - another powerful skin tonic and works wonders for sunburnt skin. Applied topically this oil is ideal for pain relief associated with your burn. It promotes skin regeneration and is well known for returning damaged skin back to it’s original luster.

Rosehip oil - well-known in the beauty world for its moisturizing and restorative properties. Because sunscreen can be drying, using a heavier oil at night, no matter your skin type helps moisturize the skin. Rosehip oil is a bit thicker than the other oils and absorbs very quickly. Botanical oils are highly concentrated with antioxidants and omega fatty acids. This is critical in the summer when our skin is constantly barraged by free radical damage from exposure to the sun and air pollution. Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants work to repair the skin barrier and antioxidants can help prevent sunburn and reverse free radical damage.


Some DIY Natural Remedy Recipes

1.  A very simple and pleasant cold compress to soothe the sunburn is:
  • 5 drops Lavender 
  • 1 drop Peppermint 
  • 1 cup cold water


  • Pour one cup cold water into a bowl and mix the essential oils
  • Soak your cloth in the infused water and wring it out enough that it won’t drip
  • Apply cloth to affected areas

2.  Lavender mix to soothe summer sunburn

Mix 40 drops of Lavender to 4-ounce extra virgin coconut oil. Extra Virgin coconut oil is raw, unaltered coconut oil. It is solid at room temperature and melts at 76 degrees Fahrenheit. Melt the coconut oil, then add the lavender essential oil and wait until it’s cool before applying on the affected area.

3. This recipe uses only four natural ingredients that are beneficial to the skin:

  • Aloe Vera– Aloe is naturally anti-inflammatory and great for skin. It is moisturizing without being oily and is perfect for those with normal or slightly oily skin. Rich in nutrients and antioxidants, it is often used in anti-aging skin products as well.
  • Witch Hazel– for its uses in skin care and natural remedies. It is slightly antiseptic, which makes it cooling and great for skin. In fact, it is often used to remove excess oil and fight blemishes and blackheads. Its ability to shrink blood vessels and reduce inflammation is what makes it beneficial for hemorrhoids and also for cooling the body.
  • Peppermint Essential oil
  • Lavender essential oil


  • 4 tsp aloe vera gel
  • 1 tsp witch hazel
  • 2-3 drops of peppermint essential oil
  • 20 drops lavender essential oil


  • Combine and mix the ingredients thoroughly
  • Apply to burn with a cotton ball as needed
  • Mix before each application





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