The leaves of the aloe vera plant release a gel that has been touted for centuries for its anti-inflammatory benefits. As a result, this natural remedy is a common treatment for sunburns. Aloe can provide soothing relief directly from the leaves of this succulent plant, or you can pick up an over-the-counter product that features this ingredient.
The aloe plant is 99 percent water, but it also includes two key ingredients that increase its skin-soothing benefits. Glycoproteins work to minimize pain and inflammation, while polysacchrides encourage skin growth and repair. Additionally, aloe can help hydrate your moisture-sapped, sunburned skin.
While rare, aloe may trigger an allergic reaction. When used directly from the plant, aloe may cause skin irritation in some individuals. As a result, always test a small patch of burn-free skin with a dab of aloe before applying it to your sunburn. If you see a rash or feel stinging, discontinue use.
Diluted versions of aloe — found in over-the-counter lotions, creams and ointments — are less likely to trigger an allergic reaction.
Two types of aloe are effective in easing the pain and inflammation of sunburn.