The single most effective way to get rid of a sunburn

Well this is my first instructable, and is only going to be short because its an extremly easy and effective method to removing a painful sunburn. This method was recommended to me by my friends mother, who is a nurse and therefore MUST know what shes talking about. Turns out she did. I hope this helps many a painful sunburn to receed or dissapear.
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Step 3: Healing the wound

Once the water has cooled to a warm/lukewarm temperature, 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. The sunburn should be substancialy subsided or all gone, 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.
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jrh1436 years ago
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!
drpepper8412 (author)  jrh1436 years ago
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?
Just wanted to add that this remedy did NOT keep the burn from peeling. I currently look like a two-toned leper. I am still quite pleased with the instant itch relief this remedy gave me, but does anyone out there know how to keep burnt skin from peeling? Seems like I never go from honky white to tan without passing immediately through bright red and then peeling back to honky white + 1 shade darker. If I find the answer to this question "out there" I'll come back and post it here. Thanks again!

olive oil... not only does it heal the redness and pain overnight you won't peel. After a shower put olive oil on the burns and leave overnight.

Olive oil on a fresh burn will keep the heat in the skin. This will cause the burn to get worse, because your now cooking yourself slowly in olive oil.

pcanywii jrh1432 months ago
Take a band aid and take an Aloe leaf and squeez the gel out. Especially if it is dead because it is liquid. Put it on and it's comfortable... Just what a friend said.

aloe is a liquid they just make it a gel

Real aloe comes from the Aloe plant as a thick gel.

tovey jrh1431 month ago

The skin is peeling because it is dead.

If you want to prevent peeling, you have to prevent the burn to begin with. The best way to do this is with a long sleeve shirt that you keep handy. When you start feeling the sun on your skin feel hot, to the point that you may burn, you have to put the shirt on for a couple of hours. While this is not the best way to keep cool on a hot summer day, it is the best way to keep from burning.

I did this one year while working at a camp because I didn't want to deal with getting sun burned to begin with. When I went down to Florida that same fall, I was actually darker than many of the Floridians I came into contact with.

You could try lotion with Aloe Vera in it, but at this stage of the game, I don't think you can avoid the peeling.

smunoz5 jrh1432 months ago

If you put ice, and half vinigar, half water into a wash basin. Grab a soft wash cloth or hand towel. thoroughly wet the towel wring it out mostly and drape it over the sun burn. when u remove the towel it will be super hot rinse it in the basin again and reapply. this usually turns the sunburn into tan without peeling, but it really depends on how bad the burn is. Either way its instant relief. also make sure when you are done using the vinigar and water that you moisturize your skin.

The best I've been able to do to keep a burn from peeling is to slather it in Oil of Olay type moisturiser (Mal-Wart's Equate brand works just as well). Every time the toasted skin starts feeling or looking tight, hit the moisturiser until the skin won't take any more. You'll be vaguely sticky for a couple of days, but if you've kept the skin well hydrated, the peeling should be minimal. Of course, if anyone's got a DIY method with comparable results, I'm all (slightly pink) ears. ;D
Sure! It is at:
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.
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!
drpepper8412 (author)  TorinMiasma5 years ago
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!
THE NURSE7 years ago
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!!!!
drpepper8412 (author)  THE NURSE7 years ago
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.

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.
cindi593 years ago
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!
sickdog744 years ago
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!
drpepper8412 (author)  sickdog743 years ago
Congrats! I'm so glad it works so well for so many other people! =D
crank_girl6 days ago
I find that a shower as hot as I can bear it gets rid of my sunburn proto.

Look for a lotion/gel that has aloe vera and vitamin E in it. Aloe vera will soothe the pain and vitamin E will heal the burnt skin. Because sensitive layers of skin are exposed be sure to choose a lotion/gel that is natural and doesn't contain a concoction of fillers and chemicals because that will irritate the sensitive skin. I have helped many friends heal their burns with little pain and only minimal peeling. Feel free to PM me if you want recommendations on what to do.

cool9258229 days ago

thx it releived my sunburn

ned1031 month ago

This is actually and old wives tale that works. We used to do this when we were kids. My dad called my grandma and asked her what she used to do for him when he got burned bad. He was born in '32 and my grandma said that her mom did it for her too. So this remedy has been around even longer than that. Great ible. Thank you for sharing.

ned103 ned1031 month ago

I forgot to mention that we used regular Lipton tea bags but made the tea very, very strong.

If you just itch from a burn or you got into something that made you itch put 1 cup of oat meal into cheese cloth , pantyhose and run a hot bath or as warm as you can stand put the oat meal in and let it turn the bath white and soak it will relieve the itch. If you are allergic seek medical help.!!!!! But for minor stuff it works great and it great for your skin and will put a lot of moisture back into your skin. Oh any kind of oat meal works! and putting it into something saves the pipes from clogging as it swells.

npenick1 month ago

someone told me that it's better to use green tea because it helps to return moisture to your skin

ysabet npenick1 month ago

Nope-- you *want* tannin, it's what does the work; and the darker the tea, the more tannin it has in it. Green tea has some tannin so it'll help, but not nearly as much as black tea does.

alba1002 months ago

I live in Queensland Australia, where we probably have the highest incidence of Skin cancers in the World.

The best treatment for sunburn is to AVOID it. That means you need to wear a hat and regularly apply sunscreen to exposed areas and know what your sunscreen is designed to do. It will have a rating, SPF 30, SPF 50 etc, this is the level of protection it offers, and of course it needs to be regularly reapplied, but even so, you cannot spend all day in the sun and not pay a price.

Outdoor workers, wear long sleeved shirts and trousers, with built in sun protection and broad brimmed hats, the days of shorts and tee shirts for workers are long gone.

I would note the teabag remedy, as allieviating the symptom of sunburn, when you are lobster red, the damage has already been done.

Without boring you with details, skin damage which might result in skin cancer, happens before the age of 25, though the cancers may not appear for another 20-25+ years.

So enjoy the sun, enjoy your tea and stay safe, but keep the sunscreen close

ysabet alba1001 month ago

**nods** These days I live in Tucson AZ (the Sonoran Desert), and when tourists come here they tend to instantly fling on the shorts and tank-tops and eye us locals wearing hats and loose long-sleeved shirts with amused bafflement. And then they end up in an Urgent Care or ER and wonder how we deal with the heat..... Loose layers are the best, and be sure to cover your head; you don't know pain until you have to deal with a sunburned scalp! (It can make your hair fall out too.) Don't forget to sunblock your feet if you wear sandals also. I've known so many people here who've had to have skin cancers removed; and those were the lucky ones.

That being said, if you *do* end up burning, the tea remedy is really excellent.

As Spence stated previously....It's not that you're wrong, but when someone has a sunburn and is
looking for relief, your advice is more parental than it is useful.

ysabet1 month ago

Great instructable! I'm from the Deep South originally, and my mom (also a native) had me and my siblings soak in a lukewarm bath of strong tea whenever we sunburned. Interesting little historical note: In WWI, cloth packets of tea were carried in some medical kits to pack onto burns received in battle. If you scald yourself, soak one or more teabags with lukewarm water and bind them gently over the burns-- they'll help immensely both with pain and with healing.

john mantova2 months ago

I do not recall anyone claiming a cure, just relief from pain and inflammation.The nurse the doctor was patting on the back and the doctor were both doing what heath pros do a lot of: closing ranks.. Yes of course other factors may be taken into consideration but there is no denying that tea , IN ANY FORM as long as it's moist/wet does bring relief from burns howsoever caused. Correction. Be very careful with chemical burns, from solvents paint stripper etc. Tea will give relief from the symptoms but must be used only after all traces of the relevant chemicals from the skin. Once removed use as much tea as you like. Calamine and Witchhazel Cream also works wonders.

I DO recall this being titles as a cure by the poster in the email dated May 27.

Apparantly it's been relabled.

Sunburn Cure

by drpepper8412

You obviously have a beef for some reason with health pros. Why do you attack them for "closing ranks". These people are pros and therefore this implies they do actually know more than the average person about the good and bad of so-called cures...and may have witnessed misguided and false treatments harming people in the past.

Just to be pedantic: the title includes "get rid of a sunburn" which by my interpretation implies "cure" but you interpreted reduction of pain and inflammation which is symptom reduction not cure. Just saying....

danielcmr2 months ago

Thank you, but that won't avoid skin cancer...

Really, the best way is the use ofsolar protector and to avoid the hours with the "strongest" sun.

It's not that you're wrong, but when someone has a sunburn and is looking for relief, your advice is more parental than it is useful.

Tried this with standard black tea on a really nasty sunburn on my shoulder I made up 3 teabags in half a mug of boiled water and chilled it down with ice up to a full mug. Seemed a fair bit more effective than a just water cool damp compress at taking the redness out and reduced the itching a lot. alternated with plain moisturiser to reduce peeling .
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