I recently dealt with quite an ugly sunburn. In trying to take care of it, I used several different products in hopes of getting pain relief as well as speed up the healing time. Fortunately, I had several options already at home in my first aid kit and in my herb collection. I say "fortunately" because my burn was so severe that certain articles of clothing caused me tremendous pain. If I had to have gone to the store to purchase something, I would have needed to wear very uncomfortable clothes and suffer from those clothes rubbing my burns. Thank goodness I was prepared!
If you are living in a southern state, your chances of getting a sunburn are increased due to the nature of the environment of your area. Don't think that you are "in the clear" if you live in Alaska! The sun DOES still shine there too! None of us want to live in a cave with no sun exposure, so the wise thing would be to store some items you can utilize should you have a little excess sun exposure.
Now remember I tried several things, and luckily I had good results with all that I tried, but I did have some favorites. I think my MOST favorite was aloe gel. My skin absorbed it rapidly which kept moisture in it and I think it has helped reduce the severity of the peeling and itching. I have a Natures Sunshine brand aloe gel that is thin and easy to apply. It doesn't leave a sticky residue behind like aloe gel straight out of the plant does, so it felt good and it brought instant relief. It has citric acid in it too, which is a plant matter that acts as a preservative, so it lasts a while even once its been opened. (I make my own deoderant and this is one of the ingredients of my recipe, giving me a second reason to have it on hand.) I have another aloe product that has menthol in it, which brings on a cooling sensation right away too. I liked that one as well. Aloe is inexpensive and readily available, so its definitely a top choice for me. I also have an aloe plant in my kitchen windowsill which is an added bonus because its pretty, its available if I get a kitchen burn, and it replenishes itself regularly. Renewable resources are GREAT!
Next is lavender oil and a calendula cream. Calendula takes care of the skin and is an ingredient for a lot of skin preparations, even for babies. Adding lavender essential oil to it gives added antiseptic properties and awesome analgesic abilities. So I took the lavender oil and doused my skin with it. Lavender is great for pain relief, but it can get expensive so that makes it more of a second choice option for me. The calendula cream is one I make, so that cuts cost down for me there. It has a wide range of uses, but by itself it doesn't take the pain away nearly as much as I'd like it to.
Third is cider vinegar. Now you can use any vinegar of course, but I prefer REAL cider vinegar (the kind that still has "the mother") because it has none of the chemical stuff in it that I prefer to avoid. Plus, cider vinegar has other abilities (too numerous to mention in this post) and its inexpensive too. I poured a good amount onto a tissue and dabbed it on my burned skin. It eased the pain significantly and immediately, and I think it sped up the healing time too because I started itching immediately as well! Tommy said he thought it was probably the histamine release that caused me to itch,...I don't know. I just know it was maddening for about 45 seconds. Mesa had gotten a bit of a burn too and we tried this on her back with identical results.
Those are my top 3 picks. All three are easy to store and have multiple uses.
Whatever YOUR choices are, plan ahead and store a little extra just in case of burns....whether by the stove, a campfire or the sun...they all hurt! Burned skin compromises your immune function too, so take care of it before it can become a bigger problem.