A while back we spent a gorgeous weekend in Hamelin Bay down the south coast of Western Australia. Camping in the bush, swimming with the sting rays, soaking up the sunshine...and really just enjoying life.
It was an almost perfect weekend except for the fact that my beautiful daughter with her red hair and very, very fair skin, for some reason didn't put on any sunblock and ended up the colour of a tomato!
By the end of the day she was not happy with life and I noticed a marked anxiety in her that's not usually there. Luckily I had my remedy kit with me.
I tried a remedy I've never tried before - Sol 30CH. A friend of mine who is also a homeopath gave me the remedy and when my poor daughter was so red and sore I tried it and gave her three doses before she went to bed. I was so impressed! When she woke up her face was almost back to its normal colour and I gave her one more dose.
Later during the day, when the weather had warmed up, she said her neck and shoulders were stinging again. However, every time she swam in the cool water or when she had a cool shower she felt so much better. So I gave her Apis 200CH (that's the only potency I had with me).
I gave her one dose at lunch time and one dose before she went to sleep. We also found some aloe vera gel at the campsite kiosk and rubbed that in a couple of times during the day.
The following day she was back to normal - no red skin, no stinging, no feeling miserable...and very carefully smothering herself with sunblock!
Common homeopathic remedies for sunburn
Common remedies that can help with sunburn and that you should slip into your bag before going on a beach holiday include:
Apis mellifica - if there is burning, redness, swelling, itching and stinging then think of apis, especially if the person feels better when putting something cold on the affected area or bathing in cold water. Warmth always makes the person feel worse.
Cantharis vesicatoria - when the sunburn is so severe that the skin is blistering then think of cantharis. Blistering, raw, painfully burning skin...when you look at it all you can think is "ouch"!!!
Sol - this is the homeopathic remedy made from sunlight and although there is not a lot of literature available on it, it is found in Clarke's materia medica. I was really pleased with how it helped my daughter and I think if you don't have a clear picture of another remedy then try Sol. When we first noticed she was burned her skin was very red and she was quite anxious. She didn't yet have any stinging or burning or itching or blistering that are found in the other remedies. She was just red and anxious!
Urtica urens - again, this is a remedy for stinging, burning pain but often with a lot of itching. An easy way to differentiate between apis and urtica is that apis is always better for cold whilst urtica is worse. Urtica is often followed nicely by cantharis if blisters develop.
I want to just emphasise here that these are first aid remedies and do not replace proper medical care. If the sunburn is severe then you will need to seek medical help.
How to treat sunburn with homeopathy
As I mentioned above, please seek medical help if the sunburn is severe or if you are at all worried. Remedies such as Apis, Cantharis and Urtica will help with the burned skin but they're not commonly used for heat stroke. If you or your child has heat stroke please seek medical help or contact a qualified homoeopath.
A beginner's guide to using homoeopathy for sunburn
What potency should I buy? - I suggest you buy a 30CH potency if you're new to homeopathy. So buy Apis 30CH, Cantharis 30CH, Sol 30CH and Urtica 30CH - either from your local health shop or online.
How often should I give the remedy for sunburn? - I personally find that for sunburn it's nice to get three doses in before going to sleep. So, for example, if its 2pm and you notice you're sunburned then take one 30CH dose at 2pm, 4pm and 6pm.
When will I see an improvement? - When you wake up in the morning you should see a slight improvement. You may need one or two more doses that day. However, there is a golden rule in homoeopathy .... the better you feel, the less you need. You usually see an improvement after three doses of a remedy.
What if there is no improvement? - If there is no improvement after 3 doses then try a different remedy.
Although this is a blog on sunburn specifically, the above remedies, Apis, Cantharis and Urtica, are commonly used for all types of burns so they're great to keep handy. Let me know if you use them and how you find them :)
Aloe vera gel for sunburn
Before I go, I want to just give thanks to nature for our beautiful aloe vera plant! I always have aloe vera growing in my garden and if I burn myself while cooking all I do is slice a leaf and apply the fresh gel onto my burned skin. It is so soothing and healing. We use the gel a lot in aromatherapy because of its skin healing qualities and you can buy the pure gel in many pharmacies now. When my daughter was so badly sunburned we kept the gel in our ice box and she loved how cooling it was on her skin.
If you've got a garden then pop some in a sunny place and you'll be amazed at how easily it grows. It's also easy to grow in a pot on a sunny windowsill so go and get some today!
Image source: goodhousekeeping.com