The Single Most Effective Way to Get Rid of a Sunburn





Introduction: The Single Most Effective Way to Get Rid of a Sunburn

This is my first instructable, and is only going to be short because its an extremely easy and effective method to removing a painful sunburn.

This method was recommended to me by my friends mother, who is a nurse. I hope this helps many a painful sunburn to recede or disappear quickly.

EDIT: 6/26/16

As this instructable has seen over 6mm views since I first published it, I've decided to edit it for more clarity & for safety concerns.

Step 1: Gathering Materials

You will need a total of six things.

  1. A bathtub to do this in (preferably ceramic, so it wont stain)
  2. A pitcher
  3. A rag that you don't mind getting stained
  4. Water
  5. Three bags of black tea (I use Earl Grey)
  6. Ice

Step 2: Fill the Pitcher

First things first, strip down, because you don't want to get any of your clothes wet. Fill the pitcher with lukewarm water and soak the tea bags in it - the water should be just warm enough to help the tea brew. When you have the water almost black, like the picture, then move on to step 3.

DO NOT use hot water! As a sunburn is a first degree burn, adding more heat to a burn will exacerbate the effects and cause further damage to your skin. Use only lukewarm water at most.

Step 3: Healing the Wound

Once the water has cooled to a warm/lukewarm temperature (add your ice now to speed this)

Dunk the rag into the tea, and dab it onto the sunburn. Do not wipe it off! Leave it on and let it be absorbed into your skin. Once its dry, re-apply as necessary, but never wash it off. If you do this process before bedtime, you can go to sleep and give it time to work its magic. In the morning you can wash it off in your shower. Hopefully, your sunburn will be substantially subdued, but remember: the sooner you can apply the tea after you get the burn, the quicker and more effective it will be.

Note: I had a severe sunburn and I also used the tea bags straight up, dabbing them directly onto my skin. You may use as many "coats" of tea as you want, but the more the better.

2 People Made This Project!


  • Colors of the Rainbow Contest

    Colors of the Rainbow Contest
  • Casting Contest

    Casting Contest
  • Oil Contest

    Oil Contest

We have a be nice policy.
Please be positive and constructive.




It worked for me! Here's what it did: I used 4 tea bags (earl grey) in a large tea cup. Microwaved the 4 bags with water for 2.5 minutes. Let cool, swish around. You now have a very very very strong cup of tea. Dabbed on my sunburned face. Repeated every 45 minutes or so until bedtime. Probably did it 8 or 9 times before bedtime. In the morning, I was tanned but not burned! I went from lobster red to tanned in 12 hours!

6 replies

You were probably tanned from the tea. Once the skin is burned, nothing can reverse this anymore than you can reverse the cooking of a steak in a pan. Flesh has been burned. Non-reversable. Only healing will eventually replace the damaged skin.

Congrats! I'm so glad it works so well for so many other people! =D

Does this get rid of the redness overnight?

From my understanding it is supposed to. If it doesn't then you may not have applied it as many times as necessary

I Used 3 Family Size Luzianne Tea Bags And It Worked Perfect! :)

Please DO NOT take hot showers after a sunburn. This is a BURN and hot water can make it worse d/t nerve ending damage, u can't really tell how hot the water is. Cool water helps bring down the temperature of your skin. The tannic acid in the tea bag soothes the skin; this is a great remedy for any 1st degree burn. If you suffer a really bad burn seek medical attention, please!! Dehydration/burned skin is serious and u may need fluid replacement. Tea bag treatment is also great for itching burning feet!!!!

9 replies

Today was hell for me. I had the worst sunburn itch. If you don't have blisters and your sunburn itches, a warm/hot shower works. Make sure the temperature isn't so hot as to burn you, but after the shower, the itch will be gone. I know because this just happened to me. Also of course, Aloe Vera and cold showers are good too.

If u take a little bit of vinegar and then add cold water to dalute it and ten take a rag and TAP it on it helps a lot leave it on for about 3 minutes it will smell bad but it works

Although I try to avoid sunburns, sometimes it happens and when it does, I've always soaked in a tepid vinegar bath and it relieves the pain and in the morning my sunburn is tan.

Interesting, "The Nurse", that you signed up to comment here apparently only for this, and have never done anything else. Curious, since you are so educated, what commercial products are available that is equal to this? Wouldn't one of the big time cosmetic/pharma companies want to take advantage of the cheap tannic acid and put it in their products?

tannins are in tea not tannic acid

Tannins are tannic acid. They are the same thing.

Is it suppose to make it burn more when you use the tea?

Thank you very much for this! Im glad that you posted this so people now understand how dangerous some of their other methods are.

FYI, if you can afford to use a whole bag of family tea bags and you have a deep garden tub like I do, then steeping the whole box in a hot bath and climbing in when the water becomes tepid is a great way to do this. Lay in the tub for at least an hour.

I just tried this remedy on a two-day-old lobster belly, and WOW! what a fantastic difference! Only difference: I didn't have earl grey tea, so I used what was on hand, which is plain old Lipton ice tea bags. I used seven of the small (not family size) bags. I got almost immediate relief from my constant itching, which was making me think I was going to lose my mind (assuming I had something there to lose in the first place). I have posted this remedy to another site (wiki answers, I think) with credit given. Thank you very much for your helpful advice!

2 replies

I've been on instructables for a few months now and it took a wiki answers site to send me to this... and right when i needed it... my girl thinks i'm addicted but this site really does have a bit of everything.

My dad thinks that I should sip using this website cause I'm addicted to video games and he thinks I'm researching video games, which I am!