Can Coconut Oil Cure Sunburns?

by Annie Crawford

We have all heard about the benefits of coconut oil on skin. It's super moisturizing, fights bacterial acne, prevents wrinkles, and smells delicious — but can using coconut oil cure sunburns? Let's look at all the facts about this miracle oil to get to the heart of the matter.

According to Dr. Oz, coconut oil has a range of internal health benefits including balancing blood sugar and fighting off "yeast, fungus, and candida," (just to name a couple of many perks). Organic Facts shares that coconut oil's saturated fats retain moisture on the skin, while capric, caprylic, and lauric acids have disinfectant and antimicrobial properties that greatly benefit our exterior (hello, soft skin and goodbye zits!).

On top of happy organs and glowing skin, the endless uses of coconut oil for hair rounds this out as the beauty product of the century, and given that extra virgin coconut oil reigns supreme, it made me wonder if we should also use coconut oil for sunburns, too.

The answer is yes and no. Coconut oil is terrific for moisturizing dry skin, but you have to get your delicate, sunburned skin back in shape before you go lathering on the coco.

When using coconut oil to cure your sunburn, follow these 7 simple steps.

1. Apply A Damp Washcloth

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends applying a damp washcloth to the skin as soon as you notice a burn. Repeat this several times a day for 10-15 minutes. Allow the skin to remain damp and follow each washcloth session with a moisturizing lotion.

2. Use Vitamin E Oil For Deep Moisture

Age Renewal Moisturizing Creme, $13, Amazon

The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends moisturizing with a product that contains an antioxidant like Vitamin E after a sunburn to help mitigate skin damage. Although coconut oil does have Vitamin E, you'll reap more benefits with higher concentrations. Pure Vitamin E oil is great option, but you might try a Vitamin E-intense lotion so you're not sunburned and totally sticky all night.

3. Apply Aloe Vera To Soothe The Sting

Although aloe vera won't speed healing time, it will bring down the hurting time. Be sure to use a gel made of 100% aloe vera, and not a perfumed product containing the healing plant, as it could make sensitive skin hurt more! Alternatively, for a particularly ache-y burn, a hydrocortisone cream may be applied the first day or two.

4. Take A Good Old-Fashioned Bath

Apple Cider Vinegar, $7, Amazon

...A bath full of vinegar, that is. Run a cool bath and add a cup of apple cider vinegar per gallon of bath water. To do your part to fight the massive drought going on, a more earth-friendly solution is to add 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar to a spray bottle and fill the remainder with water. Spritz away to your heart's content!

5. Rehydrate And Medicate

Zico Premium Coconut Water (6 Pack), $17, Amazon

Getting plenty of fluids is crucial after a bad sunburn. Drinking not-from-concentrate coconut water will help rehydrate your body and replenish the electrolytes lost as you sweated your booty off beachside. Additionally, The Skin Care Foundation recommends taking a dose of ibuprofen (not aspirin, or acetaminophen) for 48 hours at the first signs of the sunburn. The ibuprofen's anti-inflammatory qualities help with swelling, redness, and "might prevent some long-term skin damage."

6. If It Looks (And Hurts) Pretty Bad, Go Seek Medical Attention

Most likely you can walk this off like the tough dame you are. However, if you have blistering burns that cover more than 20% of your body, the Mayo Clinic urges you to get medical attention. In that same vein, if you have fevers and chills in tandem with blistered skin, you may have sunstroke and need to see a doc. Another reason to get help; if you get infected skin from picking or scratching at blistered, sunburned skin. Be careful, all you lovely beauties. Wear sunscreen, stay out of direct sun without protection, and for the love of God, don't lay in tanning beds.

7. Bring on the coconuts!

Once your skin has recuperated after the first two days of pain, bring on the coconut oil! Coconut oil is a fantastic way to nourish skin that has been dehydrated (read: baked in the sun). A great idea is to blend 1 teaspoon of Vitamin E oil into 1 cup of coconut oil for a deep moisture treatment packed with antioxidants.

As with any medical or home remedy for an illness or pain, always check with your doctor to make sure it is right for you!

Images: Fotolia; Giphy (3)