“Mama, remember that time you accidentally burned a smiley face onto your belly?” <– This is a thing my kids like to ask me, because apparently it’s fun to remind me that being one hundred months pregnant and leaning over a cast iron skillet full of homestyle gluten-free stuffing is not a good idea.
Fortunately, I was already in my kitchen, which happens to double as my natural apothecary for making cough syrup, soothing muscle rubs, vapor rub and of course burn remedies. Because I already knew what to put on a burn after researching sunburn remedies, mixing up a quick remedy took just a few minutes using common kitchen and bathroom ingredients.
Do home remedies for burns really work?
There are a lot of weird home remedy recommendations for burns floating around – cobwebs, mustard and toothpaste to name a few – but there’s little evidence to show they actually work. Even worse, some folk remedies may actually irritates skin.
Fortunately, there is research to support the use of certain natural remedies for common kitchen burns, sunburns and more.
What To Put On A Burn
First and foremost, though the Mayo Clinic says most first and second degree burns can be cared for at home, serious burns should be treated professionally. Please do not use any home remedies on serious burns. Also, this post is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. Please talk to your trusted healthcare professional for advice regarding personal health conditions and situations. See my full disclaimer here.
Now that we’ve got that covered, here are several kitchen/bathroom ingredients that – according to research – can help soothe and support burn healing. I’ve also included recipes for making them into salves below.
Honey For Burns
According to this PubMed review, “As a dressing on wounds, honey provides a moist healing environment, rapidly clears infection, deodorizes, and reduces inflammation, edema, and exudation. Also, it increases the rate of healing by stimulation of angiogenesis, granulation [tissue growth], and epithelialization, making skin grafting unnecessary and giving excellent cosmetic results.”
The best part? A 2006 study found that “small, nonserious burns healed faster when treated with gauze and a dash of honey, on average, than those treated with antibiotic creams and other dressings.” (source) A Cochrane Review of 19 trials with over 2,500 participants supports their analysis.
Seriously awesome stuff, huh?
Diluted Apple Cider Vinegar For Burns
Though there is not a consensus on why this works, one study suggests that diluted apple cider vinegar can rapidly accelerate the healing process while reducing scar tissue. Some say it is because the apple cider vinegar restores the damaged skin’s pH, while other’s say it’s due to the high percentage of “pectin, succared, vitamins (B1, B2, B6) (A, E, C), salt, mineral[s such as] as (sodium, calcium, magnesium, aluminum, phosphor, cobber, [and] silicon).” (source)
Lavender Essential Oil For Burns
Technically, this is a kitchen remedy for me because I store my essential oils in the fridge, but this may be more of a bathroom ingredient in most homes. Lavender essential oil – diluted in aloe vera gel, lotion, or a carrier oil like coconut oil – can help soothe discomfort. “Lavender contains Linalyl Acetate (24-45%) and Linalol (25-38%) which have local analgesic and anesthetic effects.” (source)
For burns, I use a 1-2% dilution, which is 3-6 drops per tablespoon aloe vera or lotion.
Turmeric For Burns
This study found that turmeric paste supports wound healing. According to Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects, “Many South Asian countries use it as an antiseptic for cuts, burns, and bruises, and as an antibacterial agent.” (source)
Aloe Vera For Burns
This is another kitchen remedy for me because I have an aloe plant next to my sink. However, even though that’s not necessarily common, a lot of people do keep aloe on hand. Aloe has traditionally been used to soothe burns, and this study found that burns dressed with aloe healed about six days faster than burns dressed with vaseline.
Note: Most of the aloe gel you find in stores has lots of questionable additional ingredients. I avoid those and buy this one instead.
Coconut Oil For Burns
Some folk remedies – like rubbing butter on a fresh burn – may actually trap heat in and cause burns to reach deeper layers of tissue. However, once the layers have cooled completely, coconut oil was shown in this study to support healing.
Now, on to the recipes!
If you have some of the above ingredients on hand, you might be wondering how to use them. Here are some ideas:
Soothing Honey Burn Salve Recipe
This recipe can be easily doubled or cut in half, depending on how much is needed.
- 2 tablespoons honey – I use this honey, but according to holistic pediatrician Lawrence Rosen, MD, manuka honey is an even better option if you have it on hand (source)
- 6-12 drops lavender essential oil (optional)
To Make: Add lavender (if using) to the honey and mix well.
To Use. Apply as needed.
Apple Cider Vinegar Burn Spritz
- 1 part raw apple cider vinegar
- 2 parts water (or 3 parts water for sensitive skin)
To Make: Mix apple cider vinegar and water together.
To Use: Apply to skin with a cloth or cotton ball.
Aloe Vera Burn Gel
To Make: Add lavender (if using) to the aloe gel and mix well.
To Use. Apply as needed.
Turmeric Paste Or Salve
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
Enough water, milk or aloe vera gel to create a paste (or coconut oil to make a salve)
To Make: Add a few drops of liquid to the turmeric powder until it forms an easily spreadable paste.
To Use: Gently apply to skin and allow to sit for 15-20 minutes. Rinse and pat dry. The skin may be slightly stained from the turmeric.
Coconut Oil Burn Salve
To Make: Add lavender (if using) to the coconut oil and mix well.
To Use. Apply as needed.
Tip For Soothing Minor Burns
Before applying any remedy, immediately run cold water over the area to bring the temperature down and prevent heat from penetrating deeper into the tissue.
Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. Please talk to your trusted healthcare professional for advice regarding personal health conditions and situations. See my full disclaimer here.