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Better than aloe? A cold milk compress speeds the healing of a sunburn

Nothing makes summer more exciting than being able to frolic outside and enjoy the warm weather. However, staying outdoors under the sun without protection causes a common problem: sunburn. While most people would quickly grab a bottle of aloe vera to soothe the red patch, there’s a more effective treatment that speeds up the healing of a sunburn.

A sunburn is described as the tenderness and peeling off of one’s skin after too much exposure to sunlight. It appears as a red patch which can be itchy and can cause scaling. In addition, Dr. Adarsh Vijay Mudgil, director of Mudgil Dermatology in New York, said, “In a sunburn, your DNA gets damaged by UV light, which can cause a skin cell to die. This, in turn, leads to the release of pro-inflammatory proteins which cause redness, inflammation, swelling, and pain.”

Now, to treat it, Dr. Mudgil recommended the use of cold milk – yes, the one sitting inside your fridge. He explained that milk contains vitamins A and D which are known antioxidants. They can help speed up the healing process of the damaged skin. Moreover, the lactic acid found in milk can help exfoliate some of the dead skin cells.

Furthermore, the protein in milk has the capacity to reduce the pain and discomfort caused by the sunburn. Milk also moisturizes the skin to keep it soft and remove the redness. Meanwhile, the fat content locks in the moisture to ensure that the skin is well-hydrated.

Aside from milk, Mudgil also advised the use of yogurt. It has the same soothing effect, as well as antioxidant-packed black tea and oatmeal baths.

Ways to use milk to relieve sunburn

Plain milk – Any type of milk can be used as long as it’s cold. Simply apply it on the sunburned area and let it rest for a few hours before rinsing it with cool water. Repeat this procedure at least four times a day.

A cold compress with milk – Soak a washcloth in cold milk. Gently put it on the affected area, leaving it on for as long as possible. When it turns warm, soak it again in cold milk. Repeat this until the redness and itching subside. Rinse with cold water. Do it for a few days.

Coconut milk – Blend fresh coconut with a little water and then refrigerate it. Once it’s cold, apply in on the sunburn and leave it for 30 minutes before washing it with cold water. Repeat it four times a day. (Read: Natural Sunburn Remedies Help Relieve Pain and Heal Your Skin.)

Milk bath – In a tub with cool water, pour one gallon of milk. Soak in it for about 20 minutes and then wash off with cold water. Repeat this every day and remember not to use soap.

Milk with honey – Mix equal amounts of milk and honey and apply the mixture on the affected area. Let it rest for 20 minutes before washing it off with cold water. Do this twice a day.

Aside from the these home remedies, there are other natural ways to help relieve a sunburn. It is important to note, however, that picking at any scale or blister is a big NO. In case a blister breaks open, simply wash it with regular soap and water. You can also use antimicrobial creams and some bandage to avoid infection.

Find out more natural methods of healing any wounds at

Sources include:

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