Burns are sure to happen in life, especially if you have small children. An accidental brush with a hot stove, coffee spilled on a lap, touching a casserole dish just out of the oven- all things our skin just can't hold up to.
And while severe burns most definitely need medical attention, you can deal with "everyday" ones yourself by making use of a few key natural burn remedies.
Here's a look at some general guidelines and the best natural substances for burned skin.
Types of Burns + What Not to Do
Burns are categorized by degree.
A first degree burn is the least severe and only affects the outermost layer of skin. Symptoms usually involve redness, pain, and possibly swelling, but they usually heal fairly quickly.
Second degree burns involve damage down to the second layer of skin. They typically cause blisters and/or peeling skin, along with redness and pain, and can leave a scar behind.
Third and fourth degree burns are the most severe and involve the deepest layers of skin as well as underlying tissues, nerves, and even joints and bone (fourth degree).
In general, small first and second degree burns can be treated at home, although any that cover a large area of skin or have severe (or worsening) symptoms should be medically treated.
Before you start any kind of treatment, there are several things you should know not to do:
- Don't use ice or cold water. It's natural to want to cool a hot burn, but using ice or very cold water will actually aggravate your burn.
- Don't apply oil too quickly. Certain natural burn remedies contain skin-boosting oils, but you don't necessarily want to apply them immediately or they may trap the heat in your skin.
- Don't underestimate internal healing. To support skin healing from the inside out, drink plenty of fluids including pure water, coconut water, and herbal tea. Also, consider adding in vitamin C, collagen, and zinc, since they may all speed skin recovery.
Best Natural Burn Remedies
While ice and cold water are things to avoid, cool water is the first remedy to reach for after a burn. Get a clean cloth wet with cool water and apply to the burn until the skin doesn't feel hot to the touch anymore.
You can also simply run cool water over mild burns, especially on a finger or hand, as long as the running water doesn't irritate your burn. Use a cool compress when a gentle touch is needed.
Hydrosols are another useful remedy to use immediately following a burn. They are made by distilling fresh herbs and retain the beneficial properties of the specific herb used in liquid form.
Certain hydrosols will be particularly beneficial, including lavender, calendula, yarrow, and peppermint. To really help soothe inflammation and pain, refrigerate your hydrosol and spray lightly on skin.
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil is a very powerful natural burn remedy. The herb lavender has many well-known benefits for soothing skin, is antimicrobial in nature, and also possesses pain-relieving properties. (1)(2)
As an essential oil, lavender has shown an ability to promote wound healing, which means it can help your skin recover more quickly from a burn. One study showed that it could also relieve pain associated with a burn. (3)(4)
Of course, you don't want to apply it undiluted to injured skin, so mix it with a natural plant oil before applying.
Multiples studies have shown that aloe can aid the wound healing of first or second degree burns. It possesses anti-inflammatory properties, inhibits the growth of pathogens, and also improves circulation for faster skin repair. (5)
You can use the pure gel from a freshly broken aloe leaf, or buy a gel that is at least 99% pure aloe (plus 1% natural preservative).
CBD oil is becoming very popular because of its many health benefits, but most people don't realize that it can help with a burn. However, CBD is a top natural aid for pain relief, has an anti-inflammatory effect, and is antimicrobial- all helpful for burned skin. (6)(7)
This means that it can provide instant relief for the pain and irritation of a burn and may also promote skin repair for a faster recovery. For the most benefit, use CDB oil both internally and topically on the burn once your skin has cooled.
Lavender is obviously one herb that will help soothe your skin, but there are also several others that can act as natural burn remedies.
Plantain is another excellent herb for damaged skin. It has cooling properties and helps skin tissue to heal. Comfrey and St. John's wort also have a long history of use for wound and burn healing and complement both plantain and calendula. (9)
Arnica is well-known for its ability to ease muscle pain when applied topically, but it can also reduce swelling and speed skin recovery. It's definitely an herb to have on hand for burns and other skin injuries. (10)
A salve is the perfect way to combine herbs, essential oils, and other healing plant ingredients into one powerful remedy. They are typically made with herb-infused olive oil and beeswax but can have other burn-soothing ingredients added.
If you don't want to make your own, have this Super Salve on hand for burns and other skin woes. It's made with aloe vera, calendula, plantain, comfrey, St. John's wort, and arnica- the exact herbs wounded skin needs.
Colloidal silver can be helpful for skin recovering from a burn because of its natural antibacterial properties. Just like with any skin injury, the wound needs to stay clean and free of pathogens so that it doesn't get infected. In fact, silver was used on wounds for this purpose before antibiotics were discovered. (11)
Apply the silver as a spray to skin, or put a few drops on a clean bandage and cover the area with it.
While these natural burn remedies are safe and effective in general, everyone's skin will react differently to different ingredients. If your skin becomes more irritated or painful, discontinue the remedy immediately.
Of course, in the case of severe burns, you should seek medical attention instead of trying to treat the burn yourself. Burns that cover large areas, facial burns, and ones that are over a major joint are especially of concern.
Using Natural Burn Remedies
With the world of herbs and other natural ingredients at your fingertips, there are many everyday problems you can treat yourself at home. Burns are a perfect example of this and can be soothed with any of the remedies listed here.
If you don't feel confident about making your own preparations, you can always use something like this Super Salve that's already made for you.
Apply to skin and let nature do its work!
Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute medical advice and should not be substituted for medical advice. Please consult your health care provider, herbalist, midwife, or naturopathic physician before taking herbs, supplements, etc. Here's the link to our full disclaimer.