Make This DIY Cooling Body Butter To Soothe Sunburned Skin

Slather on this healing blend for sweet relief from summer burns.

June 7, 2017
applying body butter to sunburned skin
NicolasMcComber/ Getty

No one goes seeking a sunburn, but like bad boyfriends and unflattering selfies, they happen—and according to the CDC, they strike more than one-third of adults. What happens is those pesky ultraviolet rays penetrate your skin, causing redness, pain, swelling and peeling, even altering your DNA and prematurely aging your skin. (Here are 15 foods that help fight sunburn.)

“The main goal of after-sun lotion is to hydrate the skin to prevent flaking and help with the inflammation,” says Debra Jaliman, M.D., New York City-based dermatologist and author of Skin Rules

After consulting the experts—Dr. Jaliman as well as Jeanette Jacknin, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist specializing in natural cosmeceuticals, and Adina Grigore, founder of natural skincare line S.W. Basics and author of Skin Cleanse and Just The Essentials—we whipped up (literally) a dabable, durable sunburn soother packed with active ingredients to aid in new skin cell turnover, lock in moisture, and repair cell damage. 

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body butter ingredients
Allison Young
The healing ingredients

Shea butter: “Shea butter is incredibly moisturizing and can aid in skin’s natural collagen production,” says Jaliman. Plus it has anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties. Shea butter is also a key ingredient in this homemade lip balm. Buy now: $15.25; Amazon.com

Beeswax: “Beeswax’s vitamin A content fosters the growth of healthy skin cells, replacing damaged skin with new skin,” says Jacknin. The skin softener also seals moisture into the skin and can thwart postburn itch. Buy now: $13; Amazon.com

Extra virgin olive oil: Not only can it prevent sunburn (in one study, olive oil and coconut oil were found to have naturally occuring SPFs of around 8), “it helps burns heal faster,” says Grigore. Buy now: $36.60 per 2-pack; Amazon.com

Pure aloe gel: “Aloe soothes inflamed skin and helps relieve discomfort and inflammation,” says Jacknin. Buy now: $12; Amazon.com

Apple cider vinegar: Vinegar contains acetic acid which helps ease sunburn pain, itching, and inflammation. Buy now: $15.50; Amazon.com

Essential oils (lavender, chamomile, geranium, peppermint): Lavender aids in wound healing, chamomile calms inflammation, geranium combats the aging effects of the sun and peppermint is a natural pain reliever with a cooling finish. 

You’ll also need glass storage containers (4 2-ounce glass containers), or small mason jars. 

Related: 5 Essential Oils You Should Always Have In Your Medicine Cabinet
 

melting body butter ingredients
Allison Young
Step 1

In a hot water bath (the same way you'd melt chocolate), melt down ½ cup raw shea butter and ½ cup beeswax. The beeswax will take a little longer. Whisk as you go. 

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mixing body butter
Allison Young
Step 2

Let this mixture cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl (or KitchenAid mixer with whisk attachment). Add 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/3 cup aloe, and 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar and whip with a hand mixer or KitchenAid until fluffy (about 10 minutes). 

Add 15 drops of your favorite combination of essential oils (such as lavender, peppermint, camomile, or geranium) and mix until combined.

Related: The 6 Best Mineral Sunscreens You Can Get Online Or At A Drugstore

piping body butter into jars
Allison Young
Step 3

Spoon (or pipe) mixture into 4 clean 2-ounce glass jars with lids. Then, you’re ready to gently slather it on. 

body butter in jars
Allison Young
How to use it

Not too heavy that it takes a workout to apply or so thin that disappears after one coating, this fluffy formula is just the right thickness—and it smells divine. “Apply it right after sun exposure and up to 3 times daily,” suggests Jaliman. Store in the fridge for extra cooling action.

Related: This Is The Best Selling Facial Sunscreen On Amazon, And It's Totally Nontoxic