How To: Relieve a Sunburn

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Forget the sticky aloe vera; here’s a holistic sunburn compress that my mother often used on my brother and me when we’d trudge inside, totally sun-toasted, after another long summer day on the lakeshore.

Put the tea kettle on, and brew up several bags of plain black tea (Lipton works great). Let the tea steep a good 10 minutes or more. Add ice cubes until the tea is just cool. Lie down on an old beach towel and dip a washcloth into the tea (the tea will stain, so use the towel to protect your clothes and upholstery), then place the wet washcloth on the sunburned area. Keep the compress on for a half hour for moderate burns, and up to an hour for particularly nasty ones. The tannic acid in black tea helps take the sting out of the sunburn.

Post compress? Rub a little vitamin E oil into the affected area to help heal the skin and minimize peeling.

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