Burned your hand on a hot pan of muffins again? Skip the harmful ice pack and head straight for any of these 12 home remedies for burns instead.
There are few injuries more painful than getting burned. It’s a pretty common occurrence to incur a minor burn, but we rarely have a go-to plan for what to do if it happens.
Try any of these 12 simple, at-home remedies to reduce pain and inflammation.
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Important note: This list is for minor burns only. For more serious burns, seek medical attention immediately.
1. Cool Water
Most of us are taught that if we burn our finger or hand, it should be run under cool water right away. This is not an old-wives tale, but can actually help to prevent the development of blisters in a first-degree or superficial burn. Just make sure the water is cool, and not cold, as cold water can irritate the burn further.
To use: Run the burned area under cool water for a few minutes and repeat every hour or two as needed. Do not ice burns as ice prevents the skin from starting the healing process.
2. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is popular for sunburn and works just as well on other minor burns too. This is because aloe helps to cut down on inflammation while speeding up the healing process. Plus, aloe has a gentle, moisturizing effect on the skin and is hypoallergenic, so it can be used safely by anyone.
It’s best to use the gel drawn directly from an aloe plant, but aloe juice can work in a pinch! If you’re purchasing a bottle of gel, make sure there are no added colors or chemicals added.
To use: Apply aloe to the burned area three to four times daily.
3. Lavender Essential Oil
This aromatherapy favorite is great for addressing minor burns as it helps speed up healing and alleviate topical inflammation. As a bonus: Its calming scent will help balance out the stress of the incident.
To use: Add 3-4 drops to a minor burn a few times per day. Do not use on any open or bleeding wounds.
4. Raw Honey
Honey is antibacterial and can be applied directly to burns to help relieve pain, blistering, and swelling. Raw honey is preferred since it contains more nutrients and enzymatic activity than refined honey.
To use: Apply soon after the burn occurs, then leave on for a few minutes before rinsing with cool water. Repeat four times daily. You can also apply the honey to the skin, wrap gently with gauze, then rinse after a few hours.
5. Raw Potato
Believe it or not, raw potatoes can ease pain, inflammation, and irritation from minor burns.
To use: Hold a small slice of white potato gently against the burn. Don’t rub it, or the friction will agitate the burn. You can also use gauze to wrap a potato slice against the burn, then change after 2 hours. It should be just tight enough to hold the potato in place.
6. Black Tea Bags
Black tea contains tannins that can help to draw inflammation and irritation out of the skin, including skin that has been minorly burned.
To use: Hold a cool, wet tea bag on the burn and use as a compress for up to 10 minutes. Discard when done. Repeat 2-3 times per day.
7. Vitamin E Oil
When applied externally as an oil, vitamin E can help to quickly repair burned skin. It’s also a great facial moisturizer, especially in cold, dry months.
To use: Be sure to choose a pure vitamin E oil that contains a carrier oil and nothing else. Apply 2-3 times per day until the burn is healed.
8. Apple Cider Vinegar
As if there aren’t already enough uses for this handy pantry item, apple cider vinegarcan help take the sting and swelling out of burns thanks to its astringent properties. It’s also antibacterial, so it can help to prevent infection from developing.
To use: Apply 4 times daily to the burn after rinsing with cool water and patting dry. Let the vinegar air dry and do not rinse. Use true apple cider vinegar with the “mother” to get the full benefits.
9. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is naturally rich in vitamin E and it also has natural antibacterial properties. Since coconut oil is an excellent skin moisturizer, it’s safe for use multiple times a day. Choose an unrefined coconut oil for the maximum nutrient content.
To use: After rinsing your burn with cool water to ensure it’s clean, dab some coconut oil onto the area and let it air dry. You can also wrap loosely with gauze. Repeat as often as needed.
10. Banana Peel
If you have an extra banana lying around, don’t discard the peel. A fresh banana peel can help to relieve pain, swelling, and blistering.
To use: Hold a fresh banana peel to the burned skin, and repeat as often as needed.
11. Cucumber Slices
Just like they remove puffiness from eyes, so cucumber slices can also alleviate irritation and swelling from a burn.
To use: Hold a fresh slice of cucumber on the burn site for several minutes. Repeat as often as needed.
Rich in vitamin E, folate, and healthy fats, avocado is soothing for skin of any kind, but especially burned skin. It’s especially effective for reducing blistering and redness.
To use: Mash a small bit of avocado and apply directly to the burn. Let it dry and then rinse gently with cool water. Repeat as needed.
Three Things NOT To Do When You Burn Yourself
Now that we know the basics of what you should do when you get burned, here are three things that will worsen even the most minor burns.
1. Ice It
When you put ice on a fresh burn, it doesn’t reduce inflammation, it stops it in its tracks. While excess inflammation isn’t good, there needs to be a certain level so that the body will rush to its normal healing processes. Icing stops blood flow to the area, reducing white blood cells and oxygen in general. Opt for cool water instead.
2. Put Lotion on It
While coconut oil and certain others can be therapeutic for burns, standard lotion can actually trap heat and cause blistering to worsen. Steer clear of typical drugstore lotions and anything that contains petroleum.
3. Put a Band-aid On It
Putting a band-aid or other unbreathable bandage on a burn will reduce oxygen and will slow healing time. Instead, protect your burn by wrapping the area loosely in gauze.
(Read This Next: 8 Natural Sunburn Remedies)