Did you sleep during a beach tanning session again? Or, just played too much under the sun? No matter the case, those scratchy, stingy burns must be a real pain in the neck - literally and figuratively speaking. Popping an Advil or two may ease the pain momentarily, but that surely wouldn't be enough to chase those flaming spots away. Luckily, your tropical beach paradise may just have the help you need – go loco over coco! Learn how you can use coconut oil for sunburn and say ta-ta to painful summer memories!
Coconut is said to be the miracle worker of the tree family. Everything about the tree has real, practical applications and true enough, they do. From its over-arching leaves that can be used to build beach huts with its far-reaching roots with medicinal properties, coconuts score an A+ on usefulness.
And then, we have coconut oil. Better add another plus on that A.
How Do You Know When a Coconut Oil Is Good?
You must’ve used coconut oil a couple of times before so you must be familiar with how it looks and smells. Coconut oil usually becomes solid before its jar even gets delivered to your door. And that is entirely normal. Good coconut oil starts to crystallize and eventually solidify when the temperature goes below 24°C or roughly 76°F. You know you've got something legit when it's susceptible to the chill.
READ: The 5 Easy And Natural Ways On How To Get Rid Of Heat Bumps
Aside From Using Coconut Oil for Sunburn, What Else Can It Do?
You can use coconut oil in beauty regimens, herbal medications, and even when you just want to fry up some morning waffles. Despite being high in fat and calories, it can also help with dieting and lowers cholesterol levels. In a 2004 study, the effectiveness of coconut oil as a skin care product has been validated with positive results. It was found that coconut oil is a safe and effective moisturizing agent like any other mineral oil. The possibilities are endless with coconut oil which is why it is no surprise that it can be used for healing sunburns and blisters too.
But before you go smudging all the coconut oil you can get on your sunburn skin, you better learn how it works and the proper way to do it. For all you know, you might be doing more harm than good. Also, before we demonstrate how you can use coconut oil to make your burns heal better, it’d be best to have you prepare what you’ll need.
What You’ll Need for Sunburn Care
#1. Coconut Oil (Obviously)
When you go out to buy one, select the kind that says virgin, extra-virgin, vold-pressed, unrefined, or something along that line. I use Nutiva Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, and it works pretty well for my skin.
Note: Using an unrefined kind will help you get all the nutrients and minerals as if it was fresh from the tree. Best part – no other additives – just pure coconut oil. Thus, you get to utilize all the medicinal properties that come with it.
#2. A Cloth
This needs to be clean and soft – preferably made out of cotton material.
#3. Basin with Cold Water
Sit a small basin of clean, purified water (500 mL) inside the freezer for 10-15 minutes. Or, you can just drop a few cubes of ice in lukewarm water for faster preparation. Just make sure both solid and liquid forms are clean and sanitary.
#4. Aloe Vera
You have the option to extract the plant balm yourself or buy ready-made gels or oils in a cosmetic store. You can also substitute this with other moisturizing agents such as vitamin E extracts or a Hydrocortisone cream (1%).
If you have the option, choose aloe vera. It's a natural cooling agent, and it's always a safe choice to go herbal. Vitamin E will give you more moisture for sure, but it lacks the "cooling" part.
Hydrocortisone is classified as a steroid and steroids can thin our skin after prolonged use. Although low concentrations are typically safer to use, wouldn't it be better just to avoid them?
Choose Apple Cider Vinegar instead of cooking vinegar – it hardly does anything for you.
Note: The usual one I use is Bragg’s Raw and Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar, in case you’re looking for a recommendation.
You’ll need these for a couple of days so you might want to get a little extra for multiple uses. You can stock up on the gels and vinegar as they don’t expire fast anyway.
How to Use Coconut Oil for Sunburn
Going forward, now that you have everything you need, it’s time to do some coco magic. The following steps will show you how you can relieve yourself from sunburnt skin fast and easy:
1. Apply Cold Compress to Sunburn
Sunburns can give a nasty sting, and coconut oil won't help much if you apply it right after the redness and blisters start appearing. Like a hot-headed boss, you need to let it cool down first before you can negotiate – or apply the treatment, in this case. Damp a clean cloth with cold water and gently use it on the affected area. Pat it as if you're patting the head of a newborn baby.
2. Rehydrate to Restore Burnt Skin, Chapped Lips, and/or Blisters
For the first few days after getting sunburnt, continue doing step #1. After which follow it up by applying aloe vera extract (or any of the other alternatives mentioned) on the affected area. Aside from having very high water content, the effectiveness of aloe vera lies in its two essential components: glycoproteins and polysaccharides.
Glycoproteins help with the inflammation while polysaccharides are best known for their skin-repairing effect. On the other hand, if aloe vera is not a viable option, you can consider using vitamin E which is also helpful in reducing inflammation.
If You Plan to Extract the Aloe Vera Yourself, You Can Follow These Steps
- Wash an aloe vera leaf in clean, running water.
- With a knife, remove the rough edges around the leaf.
- Find the midpoint and create a vertical incision starting from the top going to the ends of the leaf to peel off the skin.
- With your knife, slowly remove the skin with the blade making an upward motion. Try to do this very lightly to avoid wasting some of the gel.
- Get a spoon and slowly scoop out the flesh and put it in a separate bowl. Be careful not to scrape the yellow part for it may contain toxins.
- To make it into a gel, simply toss the pulp into a blender and give it a good spin (30 seconds). Or, whisk it by hand if you prefer.
- Transfer it in an air-tight container and there you have it – your fresh, new aloe vera gel!
To know more about this procedure, you can check out video below!
For more information on how to process and preserve aloe vera, check out the great article here. Also, in case you are curious to know, aloe vera also has a detoxifying function in the body.
After application, you will almost immediately feel the cooling sensation aloe vera gives your skin. It helps soothe the stinging pain caused by the burns and hydrate the skin as well. Alongside the aloe vera treatment, drink plenty of fluids – water especially – given that the most effective counter to dry skin is hydration. Make sure you at least meet the ideal number of glasses a day (9 cups for women and 13 cups for men) – and no, coffee doesn’t count.
3. Take Lots of Acid Baths to Soothe Sunburn Sting
No kidding. You must think that applying an acidic compound to your sunburnt skin will make it sting even more. It won’t – if we use the right kind of acid. In this case, we will be using Apple Cider Vinegar. This type of vinegar has long been the talk of nutritionists and herbalists for its astounding medicinal properties, especially if taken raw. With sunburns, we will be using a diluted version.
Add 1 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar per 1 gallon of clean bath water and use it as a substitute for your usual shower while your skin recuperates. The vinegar will help restore your skin's pH balance and will work wonders for healing your skin!
4. Apply Coconut Oil on Sunburn
Sunburns are, in essence, burnt parts of the skin that is caused by overexposure to the sun’s UV radiation. It is often felt as a burning sensation on the skin that can be accompanied by itching, swelling, and peeling.
This is where coconut oil comes in.
Coconut oil has high-fat content – saturated fat, to be exact. Saturated fats often get the short end of the stick and are said to be bad for the health. However, several claims beg to differ. Saturated fat in coconut oil, for example, has many health benefits and that includes being an excellent moisturizer for the skin. This is what makes it so useful in treating sunburns and first-degree burns.
Although most data gathered on how coconut oil heal burns faster are pretty subjective, there is still some truth behind them. Lauric acid, for example, has antimicrobial properties that contribute to a burn’s recuperation. Capric acid, another substance present in coconut oil, helps prevent infections. More than that, coconut oil’s gentler care for sensitive areas such as the neck and facial skin boosted its popularity among women in general.
What You Can Do
- Clean the affected area with a cold, damp cloth.
- Take 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and gently rub it on sunburnt skin. If the burns are itching pretty badly, try mixing 2 tablespoons coconut oil with 3 drops of tea tree oil and apply. This should help tone down the itch.
- Leave the oil on for 5-8 minutes before rinsing.
- Applying aloe vera gel after the coconut oil treatment will give you better results.
Do not immediately apply coconut oil when the burns and blisters are still fresh. Let it sit and only apply treatments 1-3 for the first 2 days.
Coconut oil is best used when the blisters from the burn start to close, and the redness has slightly settled. Applying coconut oil may not necessarily make the healing process go faster, but it will nourish your skin back to its usual glow – maybe even better!
As a bonus, coconut oil can be used before and after getting a sunburn. It is found to have has sun screening properties around SPF 7.1. It may not be enough to shield you away from getting sunburnt on a day at the beach, but it can help you out on ordinary days when you feel like taking a walk in the park or when you're making your way to work.
In total, keeping a bottle of coconut oil tucked away somewhere at home can help you out in times of need – especially when summer time comes around. In addition to the excellent effect on sunburn, coconut oil is also useful for the treatment of cellulite and jock itch.
And if you enjoyed reading this article – and I'm hoping you did – share your thoughts with us in the comment section below. Better yet, share this with your family and friends and help us spread some of our coco love's!
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