Feature image Apple Cider Vinegar for Sunburn Navigating Sunburn Relief

Apple Cider Vinegar for Sunburn: Navigating Sunburn Relief

Using diluted apple cider vinegar is a common household solution that can be beneficial in addressing sunburns. However, it's important to note that apple cider vinegar is acidic, and using it in high concentrations may lead to a burning sensation. Therefore, specific application methods are advised for optimal results.

Grated potato, buttermilk, and peppermint are traditional solutions for alleviating the discomfort associated with sunburn. Another commonly recommended remedy is apple cider vinegar.

Also Check out: Does Apple Cider Vinegar Help With Bloating?

While it may appear counterintuitive to apply an acidic substance to sun-inflamed skin, many individuals attest to the effectiveness of this remedy.

Although suntans are often perceived as indicators of beauty and vitality, they signify harm to the genetic material within skin cells. Over time, this damage can contribute to the development of skin cancer.

How Does Sunburn Happen?

How Does Sunburn Happen

When exposed to the sun, your body increases its production of melanin to shield your skin from ultraviolet radiation. Melanin, the pigment responsible for the color of your skin, hair, and eyes, plays a crucial role in this protective process.

However, there comes a point where your skin can't produce melanin rapidly enough, leading to damage to the genetic material in your skin. In response, healthy cells trigger inflammation to eliminate the damaged cells—a process known as the UV stress response. The body then generates new replacement cells, a cycle that can contribute to the development of skin cancer.

The speed at which you experience sunburn depends on various factors, including your skin tone and the time of day. For individuals with fair skin, sunburn can occur in as little as 15 minutes of midday sun exposure.

Approximately three to four hours after being in the sun, the blood vessels in your skin dilate, causing the redness associated with sunburn. The full impact of sunburn may not become apparent for over 24 hours, with sunburns typically peaking between 24 to 36 hours after exposure and healing within three to five days.

How Apple Cider Vinegar Can Help

How Apple Cider Vinegar Can Help

There are various ways to utilize apple cider vinegar for sunburn relief. While most suggestions advocate diluting it before application, there isn't a universally recommended vinegar-to-water ratio from reliable sources.

Ensure thorough dilution, as concentrated solutions can result in a burning sensation.

Here are some methods you can experiment with:

  1. Fill a spray bottle with a mixture of vinegar and water and spray it onto sunburned skin.
  2. Dip a washcloth in vinegar, wring it out, and gently pat the affected areas.
  3. Take a cool bath using diluted apple cider vinegar.

What Doctors Say About Apple Cider Vinegar

What Doctors Say About Apple Cider Vinegar

Dermatologists hold differing views on the efficacy of apple cider vinegar for treating sunburns.

Certain skincare professionals acknowledge the beneficial properties of apple cider vinegar, such as its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic qualities, suggesting its usefulness in various skin conditions. However, a subset of experts contends that employing vinegar for sunburn may exacerbate the condition, particularly in cases of severe burns.

If you harbor uncertainties about utilizing apple cider vinegar for sunburn treatment, you may opt for alternative remedies that are recommended.

Other Home Remedies for Sunburn

The American Academy of Dermatology advocates for several approaches to alleviate sunburn discomfort:

Cold Shower or Compress

  • Take a refreshing cold shower to cool the skin and provide immediate relief.
  • Apply a cold compress to sunburned areas to soothe inflammation and reduce pain.

Topical Applications

  • Use a gentle moisturizer to keep the skin hydrated and reduce dryness associated with sunburn.
  • Aloe Vera gel can be applied directly to the affected area for its cooling and soothing properties. Additionally, staying well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water is crucial for overall skin health.

In addition to these recommendations, explore the following natural remedies:

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera for sunburn

Extract fresh aloe vera gel and apply it directly to sunburned skin. While it may not cure sunburn, it can offer immediate relief and promote healing.

Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil for sunburn

Opt for organic, virgin coconut oil as a natural moisturizer. Apply it after the skin has been cooled to reduce itching and peeling.


Cucumber for sunburn

Place chilled cucumber slices on sunburnt areas for a cooling effect. Alternatively, blend cucumber with aloe vera gel to create a paste, offering lasting relief.

Baking Soda

Add a few tablespoons of baking soda to a lukewarm bath and soak for approximately 20 minutes. The alkaline nature of baking soda may help soothe sunburned skin and reduce irritation.

Tea Bags

Tea Bags for sun burn

Soak tea bags in cool water and use them as a compress on affected areas. Alternatively, apply tea leaves directly to the skin. The tannins in black tea may assist in minimizing adverse skin reactions from UV exposure.


Oatmeal for sun burn

Create a bath with colloidal oatmeal and soak in it for relief. Alternatively, make an oatmeal paste with aloe vera for direct application to sunburned areas, leveraging oatmeal's anti-inflammatory properties.

Sunburn Relief Essential Oil

Dilute essential oils like marigold or tea tree oil with a carrier oil before applying to sunburned skin. Marigold essential oil has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, while tea tree oil can help manage pain with its antifungal and antibacterial characteristics.

While these natural remedies offer diverse options for sunburn relief, it's essential to exercise caution, especially with essential oils, and prioritize proper dilution to avoid adverse effects.

Do more severe burns last longer?

The duration of a sunburn depends on its severity.

Mild Sunburns

Mild sunburns are characterized by redness and some discomfort, lasting approximately three to five days. Towards the end of this period, your skin may experience peeling as it undergoes regeneration.

Moderate Sunburns

Moderate sunburns are more painful, with red, swollen, and hot-to-the-touch skin. The healing process for moderate sunburns typically takes about a week and peeling may continue for a few additional days.

Severe Sunburns

Severe sunburns may necessitate a visit to a doctor or hospital, presenting with painful blistering and intense redness. Full recovery from severe sunburns can take up to two weeks. Even if hospitalization isn't required, individuals with severe sunburns often need to stay home and rest for proper recovery.

When to see a doctor

If you experience a fever in conjunction with your sunburn, it's crucial to promptly contact a doctor. Be vigilant for signs of shock, dehydration, or heat exhaustion, including the following symptoms:

  • Feeling faint
  • Rapid pulse
  • Extreme thirst
  • Absence of urine output
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Chills
  • Presence of blisters covering a substantial part of your body
  • Confusion
  • Signs of infection in the blisters, such as pus, swelling, and tenderness

Protect your skin

It's important to note that while the symptoms of a sunburn are temporary, the damage to your skin and DNA is permanent. Long-term consequences include premature aging, wrinkles, sunspots, and an increased risk of skin cancer. A single severe sunburn can have lasting negative effects.

To safeguard your skin, use sunscreen, and wear hats, sunglasses, and sun-protective clothing whenever you are outdoors. Prevention is key to minimizing the long-term impact of sun exposure.


While opinions on the effectiveness of apple cider vinegar for sunburn care may vary, there is a growing interest in exploring its potential benefits. Some individuals find relief from its anti-inflammatory properties and skin-balancing effects. However, it's essential to approach its use with caution, ensuring proper dilution and monitoring the skin's response.

As with any home remedy, consulting with a healthcare professional for personalized advice remains a prudent step. Sunburn care is a nuanced field, and while apple cider vinegar may offer some relief for certain individuals, it's just one of many options to consider in the pursuit of soothing sun-damaged skin.

Back to blog