The Best Essential Oils for Sunburn

Essential oils are a crucial part of my self-care practice due to the numerous benefits they hold. Aside from being powerfully relaxing and calming, did you know they’re also great for things like treating common skin issues and sunburn?

It’s that time of year when the days are long, and we’re out in the hot sun more than usual. Due to the increase in sun exposure, our skin can become burned, dry, and irritated. All-natural essential oils can help soothe and calm your irritated skin – keep reading and I’ll share how!

A warning about essential oils

Before I share more about the benefits and how to use essential oils to help with overexposed skin, I need to share an important note of precaution.

Not all essential oils are created equally.

Like all supplements, essential oils are not regulated by the FDA. This lack of regulation allows companies and manufacturers to fill essential oils with whatever they’d like – often toxic fillers and chemicals – and label the final product as something else.

Please do your research and purchase essential oils from reputable companies who are certified pure and therapeutic grade quality. Additionally, their oils should be third-party tested, and you, as a consumer, should have access to those results.

I invite you to learn more about the only oil brand I use in my home.

essential oils for sunburn on girl

How to use essential oils for sunburns

In general, how you’ll apply essential oils for sunburn will very much depend on which oil you’re using. There are some common best-practices that you can use to ensure you’re using essential oils in the safest and most effective way possible.

  • Never apply essential oils directly to a sunburn – it’s best to dilute to a 3:1 ratio (two drops carrier oil for one drop essential oil) with a carrier oil such as vitamin E or fractionated coconut.
  • Test the diluted oil on a non-burned patch of skin – this test is to ensure you don’t have an allergic reaction to the essential oil, although this reaction is rare.
  • Dilute even further if applying to an open blister or wound – bump the ratio up to 10:1 to ensure you’re properly caring for your delicate skin.

The best essential oils for sunburn on your face

Due to the sensitive nature of the skin on your face, I highly recommend using the below essential oils in their diluted state. I prefer using the Touch line from doTERRA that is pre-diluted with skin-soothing fractionated coconut oil.

applying essential oils for relief

My top picks for essential oils for sunburn

Below you’ll find my top suggestions when it comes to using essential oils for sunburn.

Essential oils are natural and volatile compounds that come from organic material like flower petals, grass, bark, leaves, and more. It’s the native plant properties that make essential oils a powerful tool for soothing skin that’s seen too much sun.

1. Rose

This “queen of oils” is hands-down my favorite essential oil for sunburns.

Properties of rose essential oil include:

  • Delicate floral composition which is excellent for sensitive skin
  • A strong anti-inflammatory making it a great choice for reducing rednress
  • The antibacterial and antiseptic components help to ward off infection caused by open blisters or burns

Personally, I’ve used rose after burning my hand on a pan (more than once), and my burn never progresses into more than a little redness.

2. Lavender

Much like rose, lavender pairs its delicate floral properties with strong anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial traits. Plus, the calming scent of lavender can help to soothe the distraught feelings of those dealing with an uncomfortable sunburn.

3. Frankincense

If rose is the queen, frankincense is the “king of oils”. Touted for its incredible anti-inflammatory strength and ability to regenerate cells, using frankincense for sunburn is a smart choice.

4. Chamomile

Yes, chamomile is a fabulous floral essential oil to aid in sleep, but did you know it’s a powerful tool for soothing sunburns?

Properties of chamomile essential oil include:

  • Strong anti-inflammatory benefits
  • Antioxidant properties to support the body in ridding itself of natural toxins

Adding two drops of chamomile to fractionated coconut oil and applyting to the affected area will provide sunburn relief.

5. Eucalyptus

The crisp, cool, and gentle nature of eucalytpus make it a great option for soothing even the most irritated of skin. Much like lavender and rose, it also touts anti-inflammatory and antbacterial properties.

I recommend adding a few drops of eucalyptus to a cold towel and gently draping it over your sunburned skin.

woman holding a bundle of eucalyptus

6. Tea tree

Known for its skin-soothing properties, tea tree oil is an:

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antifungal

I’ve found that this is one of my favorite oils for helping to encourage the formation of new skin, as well as ensure that open wounds and blisters are protected from infection. Make sure to dilute tea tree oil before using on the affected area.

7. Peppermint

Due to its natural cooling properties, peppermint is a great oil to relieve the ouch in sunburn. In addition to alleviating discomfort, when applied to the back of the neck, the natural properties of peppermint help the user to feel cooler and less hot.

I would suggest diluting this oil before applying, as it can tend to sting sensitive skin.

8. Geranium

Another floral oil to the rescue!

While it’s not as pricey as rose, geranium still packs the delicate floral nature paired with the anti-inflammatory benefits you’d get with other floral oils. Geranium is antibacterial and also helps to encourage the regeneration of skin.

9. Helichrysum

From the sunflower family, helichrysum is not only a great option for soothing sunburned skin, it’s also a powerful oil to keep in your first-aid kit.

Due to its strong anti-inflammatory properties, helichrysum is a natural choice for combating sunburn. Also, it’s great to help slow down bleeding from a wound or a nose bleed!

10. Sandalwood

The benefits of sandalwood include – you guessed it – anti-inflammatory properties to help relieve the redness and pain associated with sunburn. Additionally, you might be surprised to learn that sandalwood is naturally slightly cooling when applied topically to inflamed areas.

a woman's hands

Can you use essential oils for sunscreen?

Traditional sunscreen is often packed with toxic chemicals that are harmful for both our bodies and our environment. There are some essential and carrier oils and that you can create to provide some protection from the sun.

In addition to the above blends, I highly recommend the environmentally-friendly and non-toxic options when it comes to sunscreen:

Other natural remedies to treat sunburns

Also, aside from essential oils, I highly recommend the below items for sunburn relief:

laying out in the sun at the beach


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