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The Best Home Remedy for Sunburns Is Already Sitting in Your Kitchen


A few years ago, I got the worst sunburn I have ever experienced in my life after spending a day at the beach. It wasn’t pretty (and incredibly painful), but I was luckily able to soothe the sting and ward off lasting damage thanks to a kitchen staple I always have in my cupboard: honey.

You might find it odd to use honey for anything other than sweetening up food and drinks, but it’s been relied on as a home remedy for skin issues like sunburns for centuries thanks to its healing properties. Need proof? A study published last year highlights how honey acts as a natural anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and disinfectant when applied topically. 

The study authors also noted that manuka honey, which is produced from bees pollinating specific bushes in New Zealand, has all of those helpful factors in a slightly higher concentration. You can grab a jar in health food stores or online, like Manuka Health’s Pure New Zealand Honey (Buy on Amazon, $17.90).

Alright, I understand that even as great as the perks seem, the idea of spreading sticky, gooey honey all over your skin probably still doesn’t sound all that appealing. I won’t lie, it can get a little messy — but also, so worth it when you feel the painful heat start to fade away immediately! And despite the initial gloopiness, it’s also really easy to wash off in the shower. 

I personally saw and felt a huge difference in my sunburn after just one day of applying honey, but definitely recommend continuing to coat yourself until the redness fully disappears. You can leave the honey on for as long as you’d like before rinsing it off, but giving it at least a good 15 to 30 minutes will make sure it really soaks in and does the job.

All of this can also obviously be avoided by making sure your sunscreen hasn’t expired (which I later discovered was the culprit behind my burn), re-applying it frequently while outdoors, and reducing your exposure to rays as much as possible. You can find more helpful sun safety tips over on the FDA’s website.

But if you still manage to get a little singed this summer, try reaching for some honey to help it feel better fast!

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