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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.

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!
Congrats! I'm so glad it works so well for so many other people! =D
Does this get rid of the redness overnight?
<p>From my understanding it is supposed to. If it doesn't then you may not have applied it as many times as necessary</p>
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!!!!
<p>tannins are in tea not tannic acid </p>
<p>Tannins are tannic acid. They are the same thing.</p>
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
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.
<p>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.</p>
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!
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!
Glad you found it! Once summer starts up, I always tend to get a lot more comments, so I'm glad it could help with one of the first burns of summer!
Wow, thats wonderful! I'm so pleased that it worked that well, especially on an old burn! Could you send me the link to where you reposted the remedy?
Sure! It is at: <a rel="nofollow" href="http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_do_you_do_when_your_sunburn_starts_to_itch">http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_do_you_do_when_your_sunburn_starts_to_itch</a><br/>Mine is currently still the last one on the page, signed John Hance. Thank you for the helpful tip! It is one I will be handing down to my kids and passing on to all my family and friends.<br/>
I did this last spring when I forgot to put on sunscreen while gardening. I wasn't burnt to a blister state but was uncomfortable on my shoulders to sleep! I made 4 bags of plain lipton tea in a glass two cup measuring cup. I let it cool and started by dipping a washcloth in and after wringing (not completely, just to not drip) it out I dabbed. Instant difference! I was able to cool the burn enough to sleep. I left the tea in the cup and in the middle of the night when I got woke up in pain I did it again. The next morning the majority of the sunburn was gone. I did use the tea on the more burned part over the next day. Instead of days of soreness, I had one! My kids have done the same since! It isn't a cure of course but It sure helps!
<p>I can't comment on how well this works because I never tried it. What I do with ANY burn is use liquid bleach. If you burn your finger simply pour some bleach on your finger over a sink and immediately after rinse off with cold water. The pain stops INSTANTLY. For sunburn simply apply the bleach with a dampened white wash cloth and wrinse off in the shower, no soap. Easy as that. </p>
<p>Had the misfortune at our first ever family camp to have the four year old pour boiling water right down the side of his leg. That's when I realised we were 2 hours from any hospital, miles from any residence, no large quantity of cold clean water, pre mobile phone &amp; no first aid kit. Son went into shock. Soaked several tea bags in luke warm water &amp; plastered the teabags on the burn site with toilet paper; wrapped the leg with more tp to hold in place then a 2 hour fast drive to an ED. The leg blistered badly but none of them burst. No infections, no complications &amp; it healed well. Only thing was the skin at the scald site was darker for about 10 years!! Tannin really does work ( a proprietry burn ointment in my youth was called Tannafax</p>
<p>Please, please avoid too much sun in the first place. Sun damage is cumulative over your life span. Melanoma can form. I guess we all know how dangerous a cancer melanoma is!</p>
<p>I cut some aloe stems off the plant, then put it in a blender on high, add little water and it turns into a gel. I rub it all over my burn, let it dry and sleep in it. The next morning I take a shower and my burn is usually almost gone. </p>
<p>I grew up in Florida, I'm a natural redhead with fair skin, I'm now 58 years old and have always sworn by Aloe gel. If you don't have access to a natural plant just buy the 100% Aloe Gel in the pump bottle (clear, no additives)... cheap, cheap (usually under 2 bux) at WM. I've been sunburned more times than I care to remember, even to the point of being hospitalized for sun poisoning... I could go on with more gory details but I'll spare you. I also work with hot glass, as in glass blowing, and have also received many burns ( I sound like a french fry don't I?) I keep pump bottles of the stuff in my studio. Because of Aloe I've never had any skin cancer thus far nor do I have any scars from sunburns, torch burns, hot glass burns, etc. </p><p>The tea bath works too, any kind of black tea, takes the burn out but doesn't really heal, just soaking in a tub of plain water will ease the discomfort as well. So does applied white vinegar but that makes you smell like a salad. But Aloe... I recommend it enough.</p>
<p>I'm with you on the aloe. I'm red head and white skin and know fully the dangers of UV. To all the foolish people who strip off and stay out in full sun too long, get some aloe vera.</p>
<p>The oil of bergamot in Earl Grey can make you burn easier if you go back out in the sun. Please use care</p>
This I learned from a radio drama. You fill your tub with water as hot as you can handle and you climb is you must become red as a cruyfish Lie in the tub till the water became cold. Then drain the tub and fill it with cold water ans wash your body. The nexed day no burning sensation and just a nice tan
<p>yes this is what I have always done and a hot shower has worked for me X</p>
Do NOT do this. A sunburn is a first degree burn. Treating it with more heat only exacerbates the burn, irritates, and causes more burns.
Thankyou for posting that incredible remedy to counteract sunburn pain and inflammation!! That offshore claim that was declared by an individual without subsidiary, scientific evidence, needs to go research more thoroughly on ultraviolet's damaging effects on skin, on a cellular level, concerning cancer. I am from a beach community that was born and raised in California. The, &quot;Tried and true surfer's remedy&quot;, we always used was: lukewarm APPLE CiDER ViNEGAR (incredibly soothing to sunburned skin)!! This, saturated into a soft cloth, then placed on sunburned skin and allowed to soak in, is also extremely effective! You can also make a lukewarm bath to soak in.
<p>Just so we're on the level here, this doesn't actually get rid of sunburn. The tannic acid in tea is an analgesic pain reliever. The tannins themselves dye the skin brown, reducing the apparent redness. The underlying damage is done. <br></p>
Another sure fired cure for the relief of sunburn is to lavishly rub on the juice directly from a stalk of an Aloe Vera plant.<br>It kills the pain of severe sunburn instantly and it insures a good nights sleep without any interruption to ones sleep pattern.<br>It also heals any sunburn damage to the skin in a very short space of time.
<p>My mom used extra strong Lipton tea on my sunburns when I was kid and it really helped with the burn and the itching. But, it doesn't prevent peeling. Once your skin is BURNT it will blister and peel. I quit tanning many years ago. I still use olive oil all over when I get out of the shower. The smell of the olive oil goes away quickly but, the benefits last. I've gotten wind burns on my face and used the strong tea---it calmed the soreness and was incredibly soothing.</p>
<p>A lot of the comments here are irrelevant, or offer some different, and irrelevant, cure suggestion. Save time, just stick to this instructable.</p>
<p>Aloe Vera WILL keep you from peeling. Works wonders.</p><p>Fresh from the plant is best. Apply and leave it on.</p><p>If fresh is not available then use the tube of 99% Aloe from GNC ($2).</p>
<p>What I use if I happen to get really sunburned is <b>Methylsulfonylmethane</b> (<b>MSM</b>). It's a food supplement and very good for the skin. I would take it 2-4 times over the first day or two. It must be taken asap when you have a sunburn. I never peeled or if I did, it was ever so slight. I'm sure it helped with the itching too. But the tea idea sounds really great to me, and then using the MSM is just a added advantage to not peeling. Some people say the taste of MSM is bitter and nauseating. However, the secret is to warm the water -- not to boiling -- just drinkably warm, and then it almost has no taste. </p>
<p>Noxema Skin Cream was originally invented and marketed as a sunburn remedy--and still works better than anything. Spread it on sunburn--even super bad ones--and the pain's gone instantly. The eucalyptus oils continue to make the wound feel cool and pain-free which, after all, is what you want right? Get the stuff that comes in a dark blue tub--original Noxema. Beware Noxema &quot;skin creams&quot; or &quot;hand creams&quot; which may be only partly Noxema.</p>
<p>Do this several times a day till ALL the RED is gone! Been using this remedy for years and yes it works I also have my girls keep a wet tea bag in a sandwich bag for at school when they still have the sunburn.</p>
<p>We always keep Chap-Guard Plus Udder Cream with Aloe Vera made by AgriLabs when we go out in the sun. (Not the kind you buy at Walmart.) Only cost around $12.00 at any Feed &amp; Seed Store, or you can buy it online. Only other thing that is better is Silvadene but you have to have a prescription to get that. Udder Cream works for a lot of other different things too, cuts, rashes, chapped skin... we use it for just about everything. Takes the itching and burn out in around 15 minutes. If you get it on your burn within an hour of two you won't peel either... best to put it on as soon as possible. Have never tried the tea soak but sure it will help take the burn and itch out also. </p>
<p>Nothing will prevent the skin from peeling after a sunburn (not a tan) it is dead skin that is burnt by the sun. I will peel. If you are light skinned and want a tan, it has to be done gradually. Get slight color over a period of days. Some skin just doesn't tan well, take it from someone with light skin. My tan is not what others consider a tan. Nothing I can do about it. It's genetic. ..........and by the way DO NOT put olive oil on burnt skin. It isn't an old wives tale, it's insanity. Don't put any kind of oily substance on a burn.That is BAD advice!! Cold water soaks are the best. Using tea in cool water won't hurt either but no matter what you do if the skin is dead it is going to peel. </p>
<p>I use vinegar or vanilla extract! </p>
<p>I use vinegar or vanilla extract! </p>
My mother used the tea bag remedy on me when I was a kid. (I'm 70 now.) I vividly remember standing in the tub having cold tea poured all over me. It worked then and evidently it works now!
<p>I guess it's the tannins in the tea that soothe. NOTHING can make skin not peel though after damage. It's DEAD! so needs to come off. Best thing is to avoid a sunburn totally. I know, I know, like that can happen when you don't want to bother with sunscreen. But sunscreen works. To avoid skin cancer and really damaged skin ( when youre older like me) just don't go out an try to tan or burn. End of lecture. I know, I'm no fun but I am a grandmother with lots of sun damage. I shoulda listened!</p>
<p>I guess it's the tannins in the tea that soothe. NOTHING can make skin not peel though after damage. It's DEAD! so needs to come off. Best thing is to avoid a sunburn totally. I know, I know, like that can happen when you don't want to bother with sunscreen. But sunscreen works. To avoid skin cancer and really damaged skin ( when youre older like me) just don't go out an try to tan or burn. End of lecture. I know, I'm no fun but I am a grandmother with lots of sun damage. I shoulda listened!</p>
Im quite sure that &quot;David Dickinson&quot; has copyright on this instructable......
<p>This remedy is not new. It was rediscovered by Edgar Cayce, the famous mystic of the 1930's. Cayce's son had been severely burned in an accident and he went into one of his trances and this remedy, unheard of at the time, was the result. Research Cayce and read the story yourself.</p>

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