Essential Oils for Sunburn: a natural relief for sunburned skin

We've all been there: a day spent out in the sun, only to end up with painful, red sunburned skin. 

In severe cases, sunburn can also lead to blistering, difficulty moving, fatigue and even nausea - yikes!

The good news is that there is an effective, natural way to relieve your skin from the discomfort caused by sunburn - essential oils!

These pure plant extracts have anti-inflammatory properties that help to soothe the skin and ease itchiness and dryness from sunburn. Essential oils are also rich in antioxidants which research has shown to reduce free radical damage caused by sun exposure. 

When applied to the skin with a carrier oil, essential oils can help to speed up the healing process and promote healthy skin cell growth. 

And best of all, they smell amazing! 

So if you want to know the best essential oils for sunburn relief and how to use them, keep reading!


If you’ve got moderate to severe sunburn, peppermint essential oil contains menthol which brings an instant cooling sensation to hot, tender skin. Its anti-inflammatory properties can help to reduce redness and swelling. Simply add a few drops of peppermint oil per tablespoon of carrier oil and apply it to the affected area. For best results, reapply every few hours as needed.


Lavender essential oil is a versatile oil that brings both physical and mental relief for sunburn with its relaxing scent and healing properties. It can be diluted with a carrier oil and applied topically to relieve skin irritation caused by sunburn. Lavender oil can also be added to a lukewarm bath to relieve full-body discomfort from sunburn while offering calming aromatherapy benefits. 

Roman chamomile

Roman chamomile is a variety of chamomile known to be particularly effective for treating sunburn. Chamomile in general is a natural remedy for a range of skin conditions and sleep troubles. Combined with its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, roman chamomile is the ultimate essential oil to relieve the aftermath of a sunburn. 

Tea tree

Tea tree oil has antiseptic and antimicrobial properties which can help with wound healing if you have blistering and breakouts on your skin from a bad sunburn. When using tea tree oil for sunburn, it is important to start with a small amount diluted with a carrier oil and gradually increase the amount if needed. Always do a patch test first to avoid further irritation. 

Other natural remedies for sunburn

Aloe Vera gel is a staple for sunburned skin and is known for its cooling effects on the body. Like peppermint essential oil, aloe vera has a refreshing scent and cools the skin to immediately ease the heat of the sunburn and speed up the healing process. 

How to use essential oils for sunburn

It’s important to dilute essential oils with another oil known as a ‘carrier oil’ before applying them to your sunburn. This is because essential oils are highly concentrated and can cause irritation when applied directly - not ideal when you’re already in pain!

Topical application

When diluted essential oils are used topically to sunburn, they help to promote relief by working with the skin's natural healing process.

To start, you can add between 2 - 5 drops of your chosen essential oil to 1 - 2 tablespoons of carrier oil (like almond, coconut or jojoba) and apply this mixture to your sunburned skin. You can also add 1 - 2 drops of essential oil to creams and lotions you are using for your sunburn. 

Bath or compress

You can also add diluted essential oils to your bathtub or create a compress by soaking a cloth in a mixture of diluted essential oil and water. As always, it is important to perform a patch test first by applying the bath water to your skin to ensure you don't have a reaction. 

Be sure to avoid any products that contain fragrance or other irritating ingredients, as these can further damage your already sensitive skin. We recommend using therapeutic grade, 100% pure essential oils for treating sunburn.

Choosing a carrier oil for your sunburn remedy

Carrier oils have their own unique benefits for soothing sunburns and are especially useful in providing relief from dry, itchy skin. For example, coconut oil is known for its ability to deeply moisturize the skin, while jojoba oil is ideal for controlling sebum production and preventing acne breakouts. 

Some popular carrier oils include: 

  • Avocado oil
  • Almond oil
  • Olive oil
  • Argan oil

When essential oils are mixed with carrier oils, you get a double dose of natural sunburn relief.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Which essential oil is best for sunburn?

Some of the most effective essential oils for sunburn include lavender, roman chamomile, and peppermint. They all have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that treat the side effects of sunburn and protect the skin from further damage. You can add a few drops of these oils to a carrier oil and apply them to your skin.

Is peppermint essential oil good for sunburn?

Yes, peppermint essential oil is good for sunburn. Peppermint essential oil is a refreshing and cooling oil. It contains menthol which helps to cool the skin and provide relief from the heat of your sunburn. In addition, the antimicrobial properties of peppermint essential oil can help to prevent infection, protecting the skin from further damage.

Is tea tree oil good for sunburn?

Tea tree oil has long been used as a natural remedy for a variety of skin conditions, including sunburn. When used properly, it can provide relief from the pain and itchiness of sunburn while helping the skin to heal. 

Is lavender essential oil safe in the sun?

Yes, lavender essential oil is safe in the sun and is not photosensitive. It actually has a natural SPF of about 5! The soothing scent of lavender oil can help to calm and relax the mind and body. So, if you find yourself in the sun, it's totally fine to apply diluted lavender oil. 

Is coconut oil good for sunburn?

Coconut oil is recommended for use only after the sunburn has cooled down because it can trap heat in the skin. Always look for fractionated coconut oil because it is hydrating, non-greasy and easily absorbed by the skin. 

How do you use essential oils for sunburn?

The best way to apply essential oils for sunburn is to mix a few drops of your chosen oil with 1-2 tablespoons of a carrier oil such as coconut oil or jojoba oil. You can then apply the mixture to your sunburned skin every few hours, or add the mixture to a lukewarm bath or compress.  

What helps a sunburn heal faster?

There are a few different things that can help a sunburn heal faster. Applying essential oils with a light carrier oil to the affected area can accelerate healing when combined with adequate rest and hydration. Other things that help sunburns heal faster are keeping the affected area clean, cool, and moisturized.

What makes sunburn go away overnight?

No one thing will make a sunburn go away overnight. However, there are a few things that can help speed up the healing process. Drinking plenty of fluids will also help to keep you hydrated and restore the skin.