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How to Treat Sun Poisoning: Know its Causes, Prevention, and Home Remedies

With the temperature rising during summer, spending a day outdoor could be extremely daunting and tiresome. On top of it, you may feel dehydrated and may suffer rashes on your skin. While the mercury soars and the sun shines at its brightest, you are more likely to experience sunburns. When your skin suffers on being exposed to the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the scorching sun, the phenomenon is known as sunburn. Sunburns are pretty common during summers, its severe form is known as sun poisoning.

sun poisoning image
Image Courtesy: Kelly Sue, via flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

What are the Symptoms of Sun Poisoning?

At the preliminary stage, the symptoms of sunburn and sun poisoning are more or less similar in nature. This could be something like pain, swelling and red patches on the skin.

When this reaches a severe stage, various other symptoms may occur like blisters, skin rashes, itching on skin, severe pain, dehydration, headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, fever, breathing trouble, confusion and many more. The symptoms could be moderate to severe, which should be treated immediately.

What Causes Sun Poisoning?

There can be various reasons for sun poisoning. Some of the causes have been mentioned below.

  • Warm Climatic Regions

    People from tropical and equatorial regions are more vulnerable to skin rashes and sun poisoning because of direct and prolonged exposure to the sun in comparison to others.

  • High Altitudes

    People living in high altitude regions, especially those in the mountains are likely to suffer from sun poisoning as the clear weather and close proximity to the upper atmospheric layers provide unobstructed rays of the sun.

  • Frequent Visits to Beaches & Snow

    People who frequently visit beaches and snow are also more likely to experience sunburns.

  • Medication

    Various medications can also make you more vulnerable to sun poisoning in comparison to others, like herbal supplements, antibiotics, and oral contraceptives.

  • Genetic Causes

    Sun poisoning can also be caused by genetic reasons. People having a family history of skin cancer are also more susceptible to suffer from skin poisoning.

  • Prolonged Exposure to Sun

    People having prolonged exposure to sun rays can suffer from sunburn.

  • Skin Color

    People having fairer skin tones are more likely to experience allergic reactions to sunlight. The greater degree of the presence of melanin in dark-skinned people helps protect their skin. This is why racially white Caucasians are more likely to suffer from sunburns.

How to Prevent Sun Poisoning?

The following is a list of preventive measures you can adhere to and avoid severe sunburns during peak summers:

  • Avoid going outdoors during peak hours like mid-day and early afternoon as the sun shines the brightest during these times.
  • Use covered clothing to protect yourself directly from the sun rays.
  • Use sunscreen with SPF-30 or more before going outdoors to block UV rays.
  • Wear sunglasses with UV protection.
  • Drink plenty of fluids like water and fruit juices.
  • Eat fruits rich in vitamins like citrus fruits, oranges, lemons, and watermelons.

Top 17 Natural Home Remedies for Sun Poisoning:

The following is a list of home remedies to avail any of them in case of sunburn which also eases the suffering from sun poisoning.

1. Use Lavender Oil

Lavender oil has antibacterial properties which help reduce redness and sore on the skin. Add a few drops of lavender oil in a spray bottle filled with water and then apply on the affected areas. You may also use lavender oil in your bathing water for sunburn relief.

2. Apply Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil reduces skin peeling and blistering and provides a soothing effect. You may apply tea tree oil directly on the affected areas. To provide a cooling effect, add a few drops of aloe vera or lavender oil as well.

3. Try Peppermint Oil

Peppermint works as a natural analgesic, which helps relieve pain by providing a cooling sensation. Add a few drops of peppermint oil in a spray bottle filled with water and then apply on the affected areas.

4. Curing with Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is an excellent home remedy for sunburn. It helps cool and soothe sunburned skin and relieves from itching and peeling. Firstly, apply cool damp over the affected area for about 15 minutes. A cool shower will also be helpful. Once the skin cools down after a few hours, apply coconut oil gently on the affected areas.

5. Baking Soda as a Remedy

Your skin’s natural pH level is an important factor while treating sunburn. Baking soda helps in balancing the pH levels of the burned skin. Mix baking soda with chilled water to make a paste, and apply it over the affected area. Let it stay on your skin for at least 15 minutes.

6. Apply Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties which soothe sunburn naturally. Apply aloe vera gel by gently rubbing on the affected area. This will provide a cooling effect on your skin and help you recover faster.

7. Treating with Oatmeal

Oatmeal helps in providing relief from itchy skin and reduce inflammation. Blend dry oats in a food processor or blender. Add a cup of blended oats into lukewarm bathwater, and apply it on the burned areas.

8. Green and Black Tea Remedy

Green tea contains polyphenols which are anti-inflammatory in nature. Soak green tea leaves in water. Dip a clean cloth in the soaked tea for a while. Cool the soaked cloth in your refrigerator and then apply it on the burnt skin for about 15 minutes.

Alike green tea, black tea is equally beneficial in treating sunburn. The tannic acid in tea relieves the skin from the heat. Soak a few black tea bags and wait for the water to turn black. Once the tea is cooled, soak a clean cloth and apply it over the affected areas.

9. Cool Milk Therapy

Dip a washcloth in cool milk and apply directly to the burnt areas. This reduces the heat and pain suffered due to sunburn.

10. Apply Honey

The anti-bacterial properties in honey can prevent any potential infections during sunburn. Applying honey to the damaged areas helps regenerate new skin cells. If the sunburn is also accompanied by blisters, applying honey helps withdraw excess water and creates a protective covering to prevent blisters from breaking up.

11. Cucumber Sunburn Relief

Cucumbers have natural analgesic and antioxidant properties. Chill cucumbers in a refrigerator and create a paste by mashing in a blender. Apply to the affected sunburned areas for relief.

12. Healing with Boiled Potatoes

The presence of starch in potatoes helps withdraw heat and reduce pain. Peel off boiled potatoes and then mash them. Let it cool down and then apply it as a dressing to the affected areas.

13. Curing with Cornstarch 

Mix cornstarch with water to form a paste, and apply over the sunburned area to help soothe and recover.

14. Apply White Vinegar

Composed of acetic acid white vinegar acts as an antiseptic. Applying white vinegar on the affected area helps relieve pain and inflammation of the burnt skin.

15. Apple Cider Vinegar Treatment

Add a cup of apple cider vinegar to a bucket of bathing water. Add a few drops of essential oils like coconut oil and lavender oil and enjoy a refreshing bath.

You may use equal proportions of apple cider vinegar and water to create a solution. Immerse a washcloth into the solution and then apply on the affected areas.

16. Use Epsom Salt

Epsom salt contains magnesium which has anti-inflammatory properties and it relieves from sores and sunburn. Add 2 cups of Epsom salt in bathing water and enjoy a nice bath.

Alternatively, mix 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt in a spray bottle filled with water to create a solution. Spray the solution to the affected areas for instant relief.

17. Greek Yogurt Mask

The presence of lactic acid helps yogurt being an anti-inflammatory agent. This helps soothe and moisturize the sunburnt skin. Due to the higher concentration of probiotics, Greek yogurts are more effective than regular yogurts. Mask the affected skin with a paste of organic Greek yogurt and rinse after 15 minutes on the shower.

The above is an exhaustive list of treatments you may avail conveniently at home during preliminary stages of sunburn and mild sun poisoning. However, if your condition reaches a critical stage do consult a medical practitioner for help.

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  1. Kathryn Stirling

    Your mode of explaining everything in this post is really pleasant, everyone can easily understand it, Thanks a lot.

  2. Great post! I was really impressed by the detailed information you provided about sun poisoning and all the different causes, symptoms and preventive measures. The information about the ways in which certain medications and genetic factors can make some people more susceptible to sun poisoning was particularly interesting to me. I also appreciate the comprehensive list of natural home remedies you included at the end. It’s always helpful to have different options to try when dealing with a sunburn or sun poisoning. Keep up the good work!

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