Sunburns and skin cancer can happen in all skin tones. The darkest skin colors at best only provide a sun protection factor of 6 to 8, according Dr. Charles Crutchfield III on the Sister 2 Sister website. Whenever going out into the sun, especially during peak times of 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. when the sun's ultraviolet rays are the most intense, wear a sunscreen of 30 SPF or better and reapply it for every hour you are in the sun. If you do get a sunburn, however, there are some home remedies you can use on darker skin tones.
Aloe vera is one of the best home remedies to cure sunburns. Aloe vera is readily available, and the aloe vera plant is relatively easy to grow indoors. You can break a leaf off to access its juices directly. Squeeze the broken piece of leaf to get all the juices or gently slice it down one side to gain easier access. Aloe vera will soothe the skin, relieve the pain of the burn and help speed up the healing process with less peeling. Add some vitamin E oil to the aloe vera to boost the healing properties.
Tea Tree Oil
Use tea tree oil diluted with olive or virgin coconut oil to treat a sunburn and prevent peeling. Mix together one part tea tree oil with 10 parts olive oil and apply the mixture over the sunburn. This treatment will not only help treat the sunburn, but will help your overall skin tone and texture.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using cold, wet compresses and cool baths to help alleviate the burning. If taking a bath, the website An Afro-Kin Store recommends adding a pound of oatmeal or baking soda for additional soothing relief. Lavender or chamomile oil can also be added to the bath to help soothe the skin. Try and soak in the cool tub for a minimum of 30 minutes.
At the very minimum, drink the recommended eight, 8 oz. glasses of water, as a sunburn causes your skin to lose moisture.
Things to Avoid
Avoid using heavy creams, butters and petroleum jelly products on sunburned skin. These products can trap the heat the skin is trying to release. This can actually cause the burn to go deeper in the skin and cause more damage.
Brenda Barron is a writer, editor and researcher based in Southern California. She has worked as a writer since 2004, with work appearing in online and print publications such as BabyZone, "Cat Fancy" and "ePregnancy." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from California State University, Long Beach.