Do you ever wonder how reliable Pinterest remedies are? Me too! That’s why I decided to try one and document it. I got sunburned last week and searched Pinterest for “sunburn remedies,” picked a popular one, and here we are! Read on for before and after photos and my review of this popular Pinterest essential oil sunburn remedy.
The school that I teach for was on Easter Break the week before and after Easter, so my husband and I decided to take a little two-day vacation last week. We hopped on a ferry and spent the next two days exploring Catalina Island, baby in tow.
Doesn’t it look lovely? And sunny?? HOO-BOY did I get sunburned, and I was wearing sunblock. The problem is that one of the medications that I take to help manage my arthritis makes me more susceptible to sunburn. I usually try to stay out of the sun in general because of this, and I’m careful about applying sunblock when I know I’m going to be exposed. But I guess the rays were just extra bright, because I got burned anyway. Here I am 24 hours after the damage, in my half-pink-faced glory:
Please ignore the medication-induced moon face and the scary dark circles under my eyes (ThriverBabe is going through a really spectacular sleep regression atm). I got burned on half my forehead, one cheek, my nose, upper lip, and chin.
Being the resourceful person I am, when I got home I (like you, maybe?) went on Pinterest for advice about how to heal my sunburn quickly. The first image in my search results at the time was this pin:
“Cool,” I thought. “I have all those things.” There were plenty of comments on the pin saying it worked, so I gave it a try!
I gathered my supplies, which I already had on hand. I’m going to include links to the stuff I used here as affiliate links in case you want to try this yourself. If you order through one of my links, I may get a small commission from your purchase, but it adds no cost to your order. You can read my full affiliate disclosure here, if you like.
Lavender and peppermint oils.
I got this starter oil set back in November when my then-5-month-old had a really awful cold and I wanted something I could use to help him (cold medicines and ingestible remedies are a no-no for babies). I used some of the oils in a humidifying diffuser to help clear his sinuses and promote sleep. I picked Artizen’s oil set because it was inexpensive and well-reviewed, but if you feel strongly about getting your oils from a particular source, by all means do what you think is best. I’ve had a great experience with these oils and know that they are high-quality.
I bought this oil because it was inexpensive, well-reviewed, and came with a pump. This makes it clean and easy to dispense into your hand or a bottle for mixing with oils.
Bonus: Aloe Vera Gel
The recipe in the meme above doesn’t include aloe, but there were tons of other pins I found in my research that recommended mixing lavender and peppermint oils directly into aloe vera gel for sunburn relief, so I figured that incorporating it into my method wouldn’t hurt. I’ll clarify what that looked like below, but as far as supplies go, I used Trader Joe’s 99% natural aloe vera gel, which isn’t available online. That’s what we had on hand, but I know a lot of people prefer cold-pressed aloe, like this one, so maybe look into that if you’re interested.
The first thing I did the night we got home and I realized I’d gotten burned was apply aloe vera gel to every place where I got burned, which included my face, the back of my neck, and both arms. I didn’t look into Pinterest remedies until late that night while I was up feeding my son, so I didn’t take same-day photos or start with the oils until about 24 hours after the sun damage initially occurred. I decided to keep using the aloe gel and then apply the oils after the aloe dried. I knew that aloe typically helped heal my sunburns in 3-4 days, but I wanted to see if the oil treatment noticeably sped up my healing time or affected my healing in any way. So my application process went like this:
- Apply aloe gel to any red areas and allow to dry.
- Squirt 1 teaspoon of coconut oil into palm.
- Add 3 drops of lavender oil and 2 drops of peppermint oil.
- Mix together in hands and apply to red areas.
- Repeat every morning and evening.
- Take a picture every day during son’s morning nap to document how skin is healing.
Know that for me at least, my skin would look slightly pinker each time I applied the oils and then would calm down after a few minutes. I did a little digging to try to determine why that might be, but I didn’t find any reliable info, and since I’m neither a scientist nor a doctor, I won’t hazard any guesses. If you try this out and it makes you uncomfortable in any way, by all means stop.
So how did it go? Here are my Day 1 pictures, which is roughly 24 hours after my sun exposure:
You can see my very red nose and a lot of redness on my forehead on the right side.
Here’s Day 2, roughly 24 hours later:
Still looking pretty pink.
My cheeks were a little pinker in this pic because it was hot that day and we don’t have air conditioning at home, but you can see that my nose and forehead are still noticeably burned, though it’s beginning to fade.
And here’s Day 4:
Pretty much back to normal at this point. The skin that was burned is now a little tanner, but no longer red.
I tried as much as possible to take pictures at the same time of day, in the same room and lighting, and wearing either grey or white to keep the white balance the same so that you can properly compare. I’m also not wearing any makeup in any of these photos. Here’s the gradation all together:
I mentioned earlier that it usually takes my skin 3-4 days to recover from a sunburn (using aloe alone), so as far as the “Boom: Sunburn Gone” aspect of this essential oil remedy goes, we can consider this myth busted. The lavender, peppermint, and coconut oil mixture didn’t seem to increase my healing time at all.
HOWEVER. I will say that I’m usually a pretty bad peeler after a sunburn, and so far I have not experienced any peeling. I’m a week out from the initial burn now, so if this changes, I’ll post an update. As of now, though, my skin doesn’t feel tight or itchy at all, so it’s possible that the oils may have helped to prevent my skin from peeling.
One thing I can’t comment on is whether the oils help with sunburn pain at all. For some mysterious reason, I didn’t experience any pain with this sunburn. Some people say that the peppermint provides a cooling sensation and helps block feelings of pain, but I can’t speak to that in this context. Peppermint oil has been a huge help to me, though, over the last few months in dealing with post-Shingles pain and itching (another blog post for another time), so I don’t doubt that peppermint oil might provide some similar relief for sunburn pain.
Will I use this remedy again in the future? There certainly didn’t seem to be any harm in it, and if it prevents my skin from peeling after a burn, that seems like a pretty good reason to go forward with it. It didn’t heal my sunburn overnight, so it’s not a miracle cure, but it might be worth some repeat experiments.
What sunburn remedies have you tried? Any Pinterest wins or Pinterest fails you’ve encountered? Tell me about them in the comments!
And don’t forget to wear sunblock this weekend!
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