How to Soothe a Sunburn Without Aloe

My kids have cub scout camp this week. On Monday, despite spritzing them well with sunscreen, both kiddos came home with lobster red necks.

My oldest has my complexion – fair! By bedtime, he was in a world of hurt. I gave him some Tylenol, but we didn’t have any aloe at home. So I turned to Dr. Google, who recommended WITCH HAZEL.

Witch hazel is insanely frugal – usually $1 per bottle for the store brands at Walgreens, CVS and Target. It’s a great astringent and facial toner, as well as cleaner-outer-of-owies (it doesn’t sting like alcohol would).

But I didn’t know how great it would be for soothing and healing sunburns.

To apply, I soaked cotton balls in the witch hazel and then gently dabbed at my son’s neck. If you have a larger burn area, you can soak cloths in the witch hazel and wrap them around the affected areas.

Witch hazel doesn’t just sooth – it also heals. It lessens healing time and reduces (if not eliminates) blistering, flaking and peeling.  With just a few applications (and some zinc oxide for his neck when he went back to camp), my kiddo was already  looking and feeling much better by this morning!

Wondering what else you can do with your $1 bottle of witch hazel?

  • Control and reduce redness from blemishes (just a dab’ll do ya)
  • Shrink the bags under your eyes (soak cotton balls, then apply under eyes)
  • Refresh skin during airplane travel (spritz on with a spray bottle)
  • Relieve varicose veins (soak towels in witch hazel, then wrap tightly around your legs)
  • Reduce itching and swelling from poison ivy and bug bites
  • Soothe razor burn (apply before or after you shave your legs)

Have you ever soothed and treated a sunburn with witch hazel?


  1. Rivka H. says

    Witch hazel is the main ingredient in Tucks… (that’s what I was thinking when I read “varicose veins”)

  2. ploni almoni says

    Yeah . . my mind was also going to the “nether regions” too . . . witch hazel is what they put on pads after you give birth in the hospital

  3. We use it for insect bites.

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