Homemade Sun Burn Relief Lotion: Nourishing Your Skin Safely

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After a day spent under the glorious sun, our skin can often bear the brunt of its powerful rays, leading to sunburn and discomfort. Many store-bought after sun products promise quick relief, but have you ever stopped to consider the ingredients in those bottles?

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While these products may provide temporary relief, some contain harmful chemicals that can have adverse effects on our bodies. You might be surprised as we take a closer look at the toxic ingredients commonly found in store-bought after sun products. Not to worry, because the benefits of natural alternatives can truly soothe and heal sunburned skin, and we’ll discuss them below. From a homemade sun burn relief lotion, to essential oils and herbs that offer even more healing, you’ll have no reason to buy toxic store-bought products again for your sun-kissed skin!

aloe vera salve

The Hidden Dangers of Store-Bought After Sun Products

While store shelves may be stocked with an array of after sun products promising relief from sunburn and discomfort, a closer look at their ingredient lists reveals a concerning truth. Many of these products contain a cocktail of synthetic chemicals that can pose potential risks to your skin and overall health.


Parabens are commonly used as preservatives in skincare products, including after sun lotions. However, these chemicals have been linked to endocrine disruption. Parabens can mimic estrogen in the body, potentially leading to hormonal imbalances and even impacting reproductive health. The body’s endocrine system plays a critical role in regulating various bodily functions, and disrupting this delicate balance can have far-reaching consequences.

Artificial Fragrances

That pleasant scent often associated with skincare products can come at a cost. Artificial fragrances are typically a mix of undisclosed chemicals, which can lead to skin irritation, allergic reactions, and even respiratory issues. Given that sunburned skin is already sensitized, exposing it to these artificial fragrances can exacerbate discomfort and hinder the healing process.

Mineral Oil

Derived from petroleum, mineral oil is often used as a moisturizing agent in after sun products. However, its heavy consistency can clog pores and create a barrier on the skin, preventing it from breathing properly. This can lead to further irritation, especially in the case of sunburn, where the skin needs to shed damaged cells and regenerate new ones.


Phthalates are used to increase the flexibility and durability of plastics, and they often find their way into skincare products as well. These chemicals have been linked to hormone disruption, particularly affecting the endocrine system. Exposure to phthalates has been associated with developmental issues, and they can also have negative effects on the reproductive system.

Synthetic Colors and Dyes

Vibrant colors might make a product more visually appealing, but many synthetic colors and dyes used in skincare products are derived from coal tar and other harmful sources. These additives can cause skin irritation and trigger allergies, which is particularly concerning when applied to already compromised, sunburned skin.


Some after sun products contain alcohol, which might give a cooling sensation upon application. However, alcohol can actually strip the skin of its natural oils, leading to further dryness and discomfort. It can also exacerbate the peeling and flaking that often accompany sunburned skin.

The skin’s protective barrier is compromised after sun exposure, making it more susceptible to absorbing these potentially harmful chemicals. When applied to sunburned skin, these synthetic ingredients can amplify irritation, prolong the healing process, and even lead to adverse reactions.

aloe vera sun burn

Nature’s Bounty: The Healing Power of Natural Ingredients

When it comes to soothing and healing sunburned skin, nature has provided us with a treasure trove of ingredients that offer remarkable benefits without the potential risks of synthetic chemicals. Let’s explore the incredible healing power of these natural ingredients used in this sun burn relief lotion recipe.

Olive Oil

This kitchen staple doubles as a potent skin soother. Olive oil is rich in antioxidants, including vitamin E, which helps combat free radicals and promote skin repair. Its emollient properties lock in moisture, preventing the skin from becoming overly dry and flaky. The anti-inflammatory compounds in olive oil also aid in reducing redness and calming irritated skin.

Coconut Oil

Extracted from the versatile coconut fruit, coconut oil is a powerhouse of fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. Its medium-chain fatty acids penetrate deeply into the skin, providing intense hydration and helping to restore the skin’s natural lipid barrier. Coconut oil’s anti-inflammatory properties alleviate discomfort while its antibacterial components contribute to a cleaner healing process.

Shea Butter

Harvested from the nuts of the shea tree, shea butter has been used for centuries to heal and protect the skin. Its high concentration of fatty acids and vitamins, including A and E, deeply moisturizes the skin, aiding in skin regeneration and reducing peeling. Shea butter also contains anti-inflammatory properties that soothe irritation and promote a faster healing process.

Beeswax Pellets

Beeswax acts as a natural emollient, creating a protective layer on the skin’s surface. This barrier not only seals in moisture but also shields the skin from external irritants. Beeswax’s breathable nature allows the skin to heal while preventing excess moisture loss, making it an excellent ingredient for sunburn recovery.

Aloe Vera

Renowned for its cooling and soothing properties, aloe vera is a natural remedy for sunburn relief. Its gel contains bioactive compounds like vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and amino acids that accelerate skin healing, reduce inflammation, and provide an immediate cooling sensation. Aloe vera’s hydrating effects also prevent the skin from becoming overly dry and tight.

Check out more amazing Skin Benefits of Aloe Vera!

Lavender Essential Oil

This aromatic oil does more than just smell pleasant. Lavender essential oil boasts anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and calming properties that alleviate pain and reduce redness associated with sunburn. Its therapeutic aroma also promotes relaxation, which can aid in overall healing by reducing stress and promoting better sleep.

Peppermint Essential Oil

With its refreshing scent and cooling sensation, peppermint essential oil provides instant relief to sunburned skin. It contains menthol, which has a numbing effect on pain receptors, reducing discomfort. The oil’s antimicrobial properties can also help prevent infection in damaged skin.

Homemade Sun Burn Relief Lotion

Homemade Sun Burn Relief Lotion

The original recipe for this sun burn relief lotion comes from Coconuts & Kettlebells and is loaded with the skin healing ingredients mentioned above. I whipped up this recipe within minutes when my mom came back from vacation with a sunburn. She loved the healing relief it gave her for her severe sun burn and it really helped minimize the itch and peel during healing!

Noelle at Coconuts & Kettlebells recommended using aloe gel and not homemade gel for her sun burn relief lotion. However, I just cut up some of my aloe leaves to remove the inside, whipped it in my bullet and added that. It gave amazing results so using homegrown aloe vera is definitely an option! I also used both peppermint and lavender essential oil at a higher ratio to really give it some amazing healing properties. As always, it is best to experiment with your own recipe and tailor it to your needs! We have some additional skin healing essential oils and herbs to experiment with down below so keep reading!

DIY Sun Burn Relief Lotion

This lotion is incredibly soothing and healing to sun burned skin! Use it on your body and your face!




  • In your double boiler, combine coconut oil. beeswax, shea butter, and olive oil. Keep on low and stir occasionally until completely melted and combined.
  • Allow the mixture to cool completely. It will begin to harden.
  • Pour the aloe vera gel into the mixture and begin blending immediately. Whip the mixture until a light and fluffy texture forms.
  • Add the essential oils and whip for a few more seconds until completely combined.
  • Store in an airtight glass container. Storing in the fridge will make the lotion very hard but it is best to store extra in there. Keep a small container at room temp for use. The lotion will typically last 3-4 months.

Additional Essential Oils For Sun Burn Relief Lotion

In addition to the peppermint and lavender essential oil used in this particular recipe, there are several other essential oils that have been known to help soothe and heal the skin. Consider using some of the following in your own recipe to really tailor after sun lotion to your needs!

Chamomile Essential Oil

Chamomile is renowned for its anti-inflammatory and calming effects. Chamomile essential oil can help reduce redness, irritation, and discomfort caused by sunburn. It also possesses antioxidants that aid in skin repair.

Calendula Essential Oil

Calendula oil is derived from marigold flowers and is known for its skin-soothing properties. It can help promote the regeneration of damaged skin cells and reduce inflammation.

Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Eucalyptus oil has a cooling effect on the skin and can provide relief from the heat and discomfort of sunburn. Its anti-inflammatory properties also contribute to soothing irritated skin.

Frankincense Essential Oil

Frankincense oil is known for its skin rejuvenating properties. It can promote the healing of sun-damaged skin and reduce the appearance of redness and peeling.

Tea Tree Essential Oil

Tea tree oil has natural antiseptic properties that can help prevent infection in sunburned skin. It also has anti-inflammatory qualities that aid in reducing discomfort.

Rose Essential Oil

Rose oil is moisturizing and rich in vitamins and antioxidants. It can help soothe and hydrate sunburned skin, promoting healing and reducing inflammation. Pure rose essential oil can be pretty expensive so I like to use this rose hydrosol from Simply Earth.

German Chamomile Essential Oil

Like chamomile, German chamomile oil is anti-inflammatory and can provide relief from sunburn symptoms. Its deep blue color comes from its high content of chamazulene, a compound known for its soothing effects on the skin.

Lemongrass Essential Oil

Lemongrass oil has cooling properties that can alleviate the burning sensation of sunburn. It also has antiseptic and analgesic qualities that can contribute to the healing process.

When using essential oils, it’s important to dilute them properly before applying to the skin. It’s also recommended to perform a patch test before applying any new essential oil to a larger area of your skin to check for potential allergic reactions or sensitivities. Remember that individual sensitivities can vary, so if you’re trying a new essential oil for the first time, it’s best to do so cautiously and with proper dilution.

after sun lotion

Additional Herbs For Sun Burn Relief Lotion

While the above recipe does not include a herbal infused oil, there are many herbs that can be used to help heal the skin after a sun burn. Consider infusing olive oil with a few of the below herbs to use in your own sun burn relief lotion recipe! Simply fill a mason jar with the herbs of choice and completely submerge in olive oil. Allow the herbs to infuse for 2-4 weeks, gently shaking now and again. For a quick infusion, gently boil the oil and herbs using a double boiler method for a few hours before straining. Infusing oils with healing herbs is a wonderful way to create natural remedies for sunburn relief. These infused oils can be used as a base for making homemade after sun products like balms, creams, or lotions.


Calendula flowers are well-known for their skin-soothing and anti-inflammatory properties. Calendula-infused oil can help reduce redness and promote the healing of damaged skin.


Lavender flowers are not only aromatic but also have calming and anti-inflammatory effects. Lavender-infused oil can provide relief from sunburn discomfort while offering a relaxing scent.


Chamomile flowers have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that make them excellent for soothing sunburned skin. Chamomile-infused oil can help reduce irritation and redness.

essential oils for sun burn


Comfrey leaves contain allantoin, a compound known for promoting cell regeneration. Comfrey-infused oil can aid in the healing of damaged skin and minimize peeling.


Plantain leaves have cooling and soothing properties, making them ideal for sunburn relief. Plantain-infused oil can help alleviate itching and inflammation.

St. John’s Wort

St. John’s Wort flowers are known for their ability to support skin healing. St. John’s Wort-infused oil can be used to reduce redness and discomfort associated with sunburn.


Yarrow flowers have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Yarrow-infused oil can help soothe sunburned skin and alleviate pain.

Using these herb-infused oils can provide natural sunburn relief while harnessing the healing properties of the herbs. Always perform a patch test before applying a new infused oil to a larger area of your skin, and if you experience any irritation, discontinue use. Try substituting the olive or coconut oil in the above sun burn relief lotion recipe with an infused oil!


By harnessing the natural goodness of these ingredients for your homemade sun burn relief lotion, you not only support your skin’s healing process but also provide it with essential nutrients that promote overall skin health. These ingredients work in harmony to reduce inflammation, prevent excessive dryness, and encourage the regeneration of healthy skin cells. Experimenting with natural ingredients to make your own sun burn relief lotion is incredibly easy, so why not ditch the store and create your own natural remedy!

Hey Beautiful! I’m Tara, garden enthusiasts, keeper of chickens, herbal homesteader and stay at home mom of 3 tiny humans and a sourdough starter named Ma. I love teaching others how to live a self-sufficient and sustainable life through homesteading, scratch cooking, and remembering to live barefoot, wild and free!

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