12 Pantry Items That Can Soothe Your Sunburn

Updated: May 26, 2022

No aloe? No problem! Raid your pantry for these home staples to start getting relief.

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Sunburn from beach sun light on the shoulder and back of caucasian girl
Jingjits Photography/Shutterstock

We all know the importance of wearing sunscreen! But unfortunately, most of us also all know the painful burn you get when you forget to reapply. Thankfully, these common pantry staples can help yousoothe that burn and get back to your outdoor activities in no time.

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Peanut butter banana oatmeal
Taste of Home


Not only is oatmeal good for your heart, its anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants are also good for those burns! Take an oatmeal bath—finely ground oats work best—or wrap dry oats in a cheesecloth and run under cool water to make a compress.

Discover all the powerful health benefits of oatmeal.

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herb vinegar
Taste of Home


If oatmeal baths don’t sound appealing, add a cup of cider vinegar instead. (Confused by the myriad of vinegars? Our guide can help.) The acetic acid in vinegar helps alleviate pain, itching and inflammation. It’ll also help balance your skin’s pH.

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Pouring milk into glass
Shutterstock / NaturalBox


Grab the ice-cold milk out of your fridge to make a cold compress for instant relief. (Did you know while Americans keep their milk in the fridge, many Europeans don’t? Here’s why.) Milk’s proteins help reduce pain and inflammation while the fat content helps keep skin hydrated and moisturized.

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Spiced apricot tea
Taste of Home


If you think hot tea is the last thing you’d want on your sunburn, I don’t blame you. But the tannic acids found in green tea can actually ease sunburn pain. Just soak tea bags in cool water before applying—perfect for burnt eyelids!

Here are eight more crazy uses for tea bags.

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top view of baking soda on the blackboard
Shutterstock / focal point

Baking Soda

Not only for cookies and cakes, baking soda is great for sunburns—it can help relieve inflammation and itching. Soak in bath water mixed with baking soda for full-body burns, or add enough water to make a paste for the affected area.

Before you get started—do you know the difference between baking soda and baking powder?

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sliced cucumbers in a dish
Fresh Cucumber Salad Recipe photo by Taste of Home


They’re not only for spa days! Cucumbers have natural antioxidants and analgesic properties to help cool your burn and reduce swelling. Try blending them up to make a cooling paste, or slice them up and squeeze the juice into glycerin and water to make a soothing remedy.

(Use your extra cucumbers to make one of our favorite summer cucumber recipes.)

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Berries in Yogurt Cream
Taste of Home


Chock-full of probiotics, yogurt can help rebuild your skin’s natural barrier. Apply a thin layer of cold yogurt to your burns for 10 minutes before gently dabbing it off.

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Mashed potatoes
Taste of Home


Mash ’em, boil ’em or slice ’em—whatever way you apply the potatoes, the starch will help reduce the pain, draw out the heat and take out the sting to accelerate healing.

Any potato will do for a sunburn, but do you know which potato is right for your next recipe? We break it down for you.

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Pouring aromatic honey into jar, closeup
Africa Studio/Shutterstock


Grab the honey (here’s why honey comes in a cute little bear!) and slather it on your sunburn for relief. Honey’s healthy proteins and enzymes can lock in moisture, reduce infection and minimize pain.

Here are seven more unexpected uses for honey.

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Heap of fresh strawberries in ceramic bowl on rustic white wooden background.
Svetlana Lukienko/Shutterstock


Summertime means fresh strawberries—and sunburns. If you get burnt while picking strawberries, the remedy may be in the palm of your hand. Mash them up with cornstarch and apply to affected areas to calm down your skin.

Psst…Here’s the best way to freeze your fresh-picked strawberries.

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Fresh Romano salad on wooden table.
Shutterstock / Evgeny Karandaev


Your leafy greens make a great sunburn remedy! Lettuce has natural painkillers to help soothe skin. Boil the lettuce, strain the liquid and let cool in the fridge. Dip cotton balls into the liquid and press onto the affected area for relief.

Don’t worry about washing your lettuce for this remedy, but here’s why you may want to wash your “pre-washed” salad greens.

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cornstarch in a spoon
Yuri Tynyankin/Shutterstock


Like baking soda, cornstarch baths can reduce inflammation and itching. But if you’re dreading bedtime because laying on sheets is too painful, sprinkle some cornstarch on yourself or your sheets. It’ll help create a barrier between your skin and the fabric to reduce painful friction.

Put the rest of that cornstarch to good use by whipping up the fluffiest waffles ever.