Herbal Sunburn Soothing Ice Cubes

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Since our family moved near the beach several years ago, we find ourselves there a lot. While I’m all for healthy sun exposure, sunburn ideally isn’t a part of that. I rarely burn now, but when I do I like to use natural remedies to soothe the area. These sunburn ice cubes use skin-soothing ingredients that help sunburn heal even faster and provide fast relief!

Being Irish I was used to slathering on the sunscreen (or getting a bad sunburn) when I was younger. Since changing my diet and using specific supplements though I’ve noticed a huge improvement in how well I tolerate the sun. That doesn’t mean I bake for hours at a time though!

Once I’ve reached my limit I’ll either cover up my skin or find some shade. Rarely I’ll use some of my homemade sunscreen. Moderate, healthy sun exposure is important for getting enough vitamin D (which has a host of its own benefits). While I’m not afraid of getting some sun, I am careful to try to not burn. Sometimes though, despite the best intentions sunburns happen. 

Sunburn Soothing Ice Cubes

I’ve come up with several different cooling sprays and natural remedies over the years for soothing sunburns. They only last for so long in the fridge though before they go bad. And while they’re quick to make, I still have to mix them up each time I need them. One of my favorite go-to sunburn remedies is fresh aloe vera since it’s quick and easy.

If you don’t have your own aloe vera plant though, these soothing cubes are the next best thing.

Before I dive into what each ingredient does I want to clarify why I chose herbal ice cubes. Obviously, ice feels good on warm, sunburned skin, but many health experts recommend against it. Cool showers and compresses however are recommended.

The idea is that ice acts as a vasoconstrictor, reducing blood flow to the area and slowing healing time. Adding herbs that speed healing and are vasodilating (increase blood flow) helps solve that issue. Plus it provides cooling relief. 

Aloe Vera Gel 

The first ingredient in these herbal ice cubes is aloe vera gel. It’s a staple in many sunburn remedies and you’ll even find it at every drugstore and big box store. I’m not talking about the bright green stuff full of harsh preservatives though. 

My favorite way to get aloe vera is straight from the plant. You can find details on how to harvest your own aloe vera here. If you don’t have an aloe plant you can buy some aloe vera gel with natural preservatives.  

Aloe vera has salicylic acid and magnesium that work together to ease pain. It also contains aloin, which has mild UV ray protective properties. Aloe feels cooling on the skin, calms inflammation, and provides a smooth, slippery feel to moisturize damaged skin. 

Comfrey

This wonder plant is nicknamed bone knit for its amazing ability to heal broken bones so quickly. It’s also good for sore joints and damaged skin. Comfrey stimulates tissue repair and helps the body form healthy skin cells. This herb also calms inflammation and helps soothe and heal damaged skin. Like marshmallow root, it’s a demulcent to help provide a protective barrier over tissues. 

Calendula

I use calendula in everything from baby care products to stretch mark salve to tea. It’s a gentle herb that’s great for all kinds of skin complaints. It soothes inflammation and helps with cuts, burns, rashes, sunburns, and cuts. Calendula also helps cleanse and move lymphatic fluid and improves blood circulation. 

Lavender

Similar to calendula, lavender is a gentle all-around helpful skin-soothing herb. You’ll find it in this exfoliating oatmeal skin scrub and this refreshing lavender peach iced tea. While I often use the essential oil, lavender herb is also a staple in my medicine cabinet. 

Lavender helps disinfect wounds and cuts and acts as an analgesic to soothe pain. It’s frequently used for burns to help skin heal faster and soothe itchiness. Lavender also stimulates circulation to the skin to promote faster healing and better blood flow.  

Marshmallow 

Slippery marshmallow is another skin soothing herb in this recipe. It coats and cools irritated skin as it moistens. Marshmallow roots, leaves, and flowers are all used to calm inflammation. If you have some marshmallow growing in your yard you can use the leaves and flowers for this recipe. Otherwise the roots are also a great option. 

Peppermint

The last ingredient in these sunburn soothing ice cubes is peppermint. It’s also the key ingredient in my DIY cooling spray. Peppermint is rich in menthol and has the unique ability to feel warming and cooling at the same time. Mint is a vasodilator and stimulates circulation which can cause a warming feeling. If the mint is used along with cool or cold ingredients though, then it feels cooling on the skin. 

I love using mint to help take the warmth out of a painful sunburn! 

You don’t have to use every single herb in this recipe, but I would recommend at least using the aloe vera, mint, and one of the other soothing herbs. Just be sure your total herbs add up to ? cup. They all work together to help soothe and calm sunburn damage.

Sunburn Soothing Ice Cubes

These refreshing ice cubes feature skin soothing and healing ingredients to help cool sunburn.

Prep Time3 minutes

Active Time15 minutes

Cooling Time3 hours 30 minutes

Total Time3 hours 48 minutes

Yield: 12 ice cubes

Author: Katie Wells

  • In a small pot bring the water to a boil.

  • Add the herbs, cover with a lid, and turn off the heat. Let steep for 15 minutes.

  • Strain the herbs out and reserve the water. Some of the water may have evaporated but you should have at least 1 and 3/4 cups of tea. Put the herbal tea in the fridge to cool.

  • Once the herbal tea is no longer hot, stir in the aloe vera gel.

  • Pour the mixture into ice cube trays and freeze.

  • Rub on sunburned skin as needed to help cool and soothe.

  • You can store your sunburn soothing ice cubes in a reusable silicone bag in the freezer until ready to use.
  • These should last for at least a year in the freezer.

What’s your go-to remedy for sunburns? Leave a comment and let us know!

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