“It’s Tea Time” for Sunburn Relief


I recently posted about how to make your own Homemade Sunscreen. I still stand by the “recipe” despite the mini firestorm of comments it spawned. :-)

One of the comments to this post included a DIY Sunburn Spray made from essential oils which I thought was a brilliant idea.

Because let’s face it, despite our best efforts, sometimes we are just going to BLOW IT and get a doozie of a sunburn. (But hopefully not as bad as Will Ferrell’s!)

Here is Jill K.’s recipe:

Uses for tea 4


Mix in spray bottle. Store in fridge and spray as necessary.

While I haven’t tried this recipe exactly…I have used Lavender essential oil on many burns and stings and it works WONDERS!

But if you don’t happen to have any essential oils on hand or you’re on vacation, I recently discovered another Sunburn Pain Remedy on Instructables.com that should I need it (Heaven forbid!), I plan on trying, because it comes VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by many people who HAVE tried it…and all you need are a few tea bags!


git nekkid! The best way to apply this is “in the buff” so you don’t have to worry about getting it on your clothes.

Hmmmm….Maybe that should actually be STEP TWO…or THREE. Let me start over.

Photograph: Tom Grill/Getty

STEP ONE (again):

Fill a pitcher with warm water and drop in three bags of BLACK TEA. The tannic acid and theobromine in black tea helps remove heat from sunburn. Other compounds in tea, called catechins, help prevent and repair skin damage.
Let the tea bags soak until the water has turned a rich, dark black color. Let the tea mixture cool to a lukewarm temperature.

NOW you can git nekkid! :-)

©Emre Arican/Shutterstock


Once you are “nekkid”…dip a soft rag into the tea and dab it gently onto the sunburn. DO NOT WIPE OFF! Let your burned skin absorb the mixture. Once its dry, re-apply as necessary, but don’t wash off.
Just before bedtime is the ideal time to try this healing potion so it has time to work its magic while you sleep. In the morning wash it off in the shower. The sunburn should be significantly better, if not completely gone.
The sooner you can apply the tea after you get the burn, the more effective it will be.

THANKFULLY I haven’t had to try this…and HOPEFULLY I won’t NEED to…but chances are I will…at some point. So I am definitely going to keep this method filed away until it’s inevitably needed.



One last note: once the pain of a bad sunburn has subsided….to avoid peeling…..Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize.

I suggest Aloe Vera LOTION (not the gel…it contains alcohol and is too drying)


My PERSONAL FAVORITECoconut Oil. Apply liberally at least twice a day until the burn is healed.

And after all this is said….

I hope you never have to use ANY of these suggestions this summer!  PRACTICE SAFE SUN!

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  1. says

    Jillee, I’ve been using tea bags for decades. My grandmother told me about it when I was pretty young. Using it for any 1st degree (just the top layer of the skin) burns, not just sunburn, will have the same healing effects. Tea bags are also useful for a number of minor irritations: tired eyes (just put two tea bags in very hot water for a few minutes; let cool but not too much, only enough so that it feels good when you apply the wet and warm bags to each eye and let rest until the bags cool—it removes the red and makes the eyes all better and has the added effect of reducing puffiness); other small eye irritations like a sty, same treatment–warm tea bag to eye etc (used this on my children for eye irritations and sty(s) and it worked within a couple of applications, plus it is very soothing to have the warm tea bag on the eyes); I use the same method on insect bites–apply warm tea bag and let cool–I am very allergic to mosquito and spider bites and get huge, itchy reactions that last for 3 or 4 days and the warm tea bag provides nearly instant relief from the itching and reduces the redness and swelling around the bite site (pardon me, just couldn’t resist the rhyme). Anyway, I’m sure if you check remedies using tea on the internet you’ll find any number of uses. They are my go-to fix for small irritations (and some not-so-small irritations, but hesitate to mention because others may not have the same results or use them safely and risk burns)

  2. Danielle says

    One of my 5 year old boys is very prone to getting sunburned, he has very fair skin and we have to lather him in sunscreen every 2 to 3 hours. For those times that we don’t get enough on him or heaven forbid we forget, I use the water and Lavender, I just have it in a little spray bottle and spritz in on after his bath. It works wonders, I haven’t tried putting the peppermint in but will do that with the next batch. As for myself, I always always get that first burn of the summer, luckily I have good skin and it is usually gone with in a day or two and I am left with a nice looking tan, but there have been many times, as you can attest miss Jillee, that I have fried myself crispy. I am definitely going to keep the tea recipe for when that happens. :-) Thanks miss Jillee you are super awesome!!!!

  3. Annie says

    Several years ago my aunt told us about the magic of tannin! Her recipe is a little different, and not all natural, but it really does take the sunburn away!! She told us to melt one of the large containers of Vaseline by putting it in a pan with water and heating it on low. Then you steep 6 tea bags (I think we used green) in the melted Vaseline. Once the Vaseline starts to solidify, take the bags out. (We usually scrape off the stuff that sticks to the bag.)

    This is amazing stuff! I blistered my cheeks the first day of our Lake Powell trip (oops!), put this stuff on before I went to bed, and woke up with my cheeks almost back to normal (no blisters at all and just a little pink!!). Plus, the Vaseline helps to keep your skin from drying out. I do recommend thoroughly washing the stuff off in the morning.

    • Lorra says

      That’s actually a great idea! Instead of the Vaseline, I bet this would work great with coconut oil!

  4. Stephanie says

    It’s not all-natural, but the BEST sunburn relief I’ve ever found is Mint Milk of Magnesia. Just like the tea, you dab it on the burn and leave it. The mint is very soothing and the burn will be nearly (if not completely) gone in the morning. I’ve also used it on nasty kitchen burns (I used to work in a restaurant kitchen, which is where I heard about this remedy).

  5. Jill says

    Thanks for posting this Jillee! Happy to see! If you’re interested in a natural bug spray recipe, I have one also :-) Love your blog!

  6. Nicole says

    My favorite all natural burn remedy is aloe. Not the fake green gel stuff you buy in stores, but actual aloe. You just cut off a piece of the plant, slice it open, squeeze out the ‘goo’ inside and rub it on your burn. It feels amazing. Of course, this works best for small areas. For big sunburns, the tea method is definitely something I’m going to have to try!

    • Annika says

      You just made me miss Southern California. My grandparents have a few aloe plants. We used to cut off a piece and squeeze out the goo. Since we moved up to Seattle, no more aloe plants. =(

  7. Kimmer says

    My favorite sunburn remedy (and I burn just thinking about the sun) is white vinegar. I saturate a washcloth with cooled vinegar and just let it soak in on the burn area. Ahhhhhhhh.

    • Lauren says

      Agreed- white vinegar is great for sunburn! I got the worst sunburn of my life last summer on my ankle, so painful and burnt it actually looked purple instead of red, but with the help of white vinegar soaked tea-towels, and cold green tea it healed up. Not both at the same time, but every couple of applications I swapped it up. And amazingly I didn’t have any scaring, no blistering, and oddly, barely any peeling! I’d recommend both of these!

      • Lauren says

        Forgot to say- the sunburn was so bad my foot had actually swollen up so much that it looked like an elephant foot and I could barely walk for a week, didn’t much leave the sofa…. in hindsight should prob have gone to the doctors… BUT the green tea and the vinegar did offer relief, and ensured that it healed well when it did heal.

  8. Kristy Jevens says

    Lavender has always been our favorite remedy for any kind of burn. It also is great for stopping the itching of mosquito bites.
    Hopefully we won’t ever need to use the black tea recipe, but it is nice to know about. I have a very fair teenage boy who hasn’t learned the value of sunscreen yet, this may save him once or twice this summer.

    • says

      Nancy,Yes, I am here searching for grief and cluorse. In your categories, I don’t see grieving for parents. I didn’t see my mom, by my choice, for the last few years. Now her funeral is next week. I have prepared as best as possible for her death and I knew it would still hit me when it happened. A counselor told me years ago that you either grieve what you had with your parent or grieve what you didn’t have. Her insight is profound. This is some of what I have written tonight: I could not be the daughter that my mom wanted me to be. I don’t know what she expected but I never lived up to what she wanted of me. The longing I had to be close to her went unfulfilled as well. She couldn’t be what I needed either. Still, I know that she loved me and I loved her. The pain I feel is deep; I’m not sure what she allowed herself to feel. Who was this woman who gave birth to me? I’m sad that she couldn’t accept me for who I am or be proud of me for who I’ve become. I’m sad that she couldn’t be my friend even on a surface level. Tonight I am sad for what will never be. You know, it is funny that I found your website. My maiden name was Nancy Burns. I feel we are kindred spirits.Thank you for letting me share a little of my journey with you here.Nancy

  9. deniseinark says

    Love the tea recipe – we’re headed to the lake today and I’m making this concoction to throw in the ice chest. I have mint going insane in the garden, so I’ll brew it with the tea. Several other things I’ve heard over the years are chamomile and vinegar (along with an oatmeal bath) so I might toss some of those in for good measure. Best thing that could happen with this recipe is to NEVER need it….

  10. Lisa Graves says

    When you are talking about coconut oil, is that the coconut oil that you cook with?

    • says

      Lisa…the first time I bought coconut oil I bought the kind I found at Walmart in the cooking aisle. It works just fine. I now buy organic coconut oil…but it’s just a personal preference. Either kind will work. :-)


  1. […] a lobster. Ok, a lot like a lobster. So, I went on Pinterest and found this sunburn remedy from One Good Thing by Jillee and it worked! With a little black tea and a couple of sun-free hours, my sunburn was gone! See my […]