Can You Really Use Tomatoes To Treat Sunburn?

Sunburns aren't a fun experience but, alas, can easily happen if we aren't diligent about applying sunscreen. According to Better Health, less than 15 minutes of unprotected sun exposure can lead to a sunburn which will not only be painful but can also lead to permanent skin damage.

Avoiding a sunburn through the regular application of sunscreen is your best course of action, but what happens if you skip the sunscreen and do end up with a sunburn? Sunburns are one of those things that have to run their course, but there are a lot of home remedies out there that can help, from using apple cider vinegar to treat the ache to applying tomatoes to the affected skin.

Using slices of tomato to treat your skin might sound like a kooky spa treatment, but it actually works, according to Good Housekeeping. The fruit will feel cool against your skin and, according to StyleCaster, the juice will help with any redness or swelling associated with the sunburn. In fact, tomato juice is good for any kind of burn, not just a sunburn.

Tomatoes can't replace sunscreen

StyleCaster notes that eating tomatoes can also help protect you from the sun if you eat them regularly. This is because of lycopene, a nutrient found in the fruit that can strengthen your skin's response against damaging UV rays. Tomatoes won't make you magically sunburn-proof, of course, but this sounds like a pretty good bonus for eating the fruit.

In a BBC study, a small group of women who sunburned easily ate increased amounts of tomato paste for 12 weeks. At the end of that period, it was found that they experienced a 30% increase in protection from sunburn.

This doesn't mean that you can swap out your sunscreen for tomato paste, though. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend protecting yourself from the sun not only by wearing sunscreen that is SPF 15 or higher but also by covering as much skin as possible, staying in the shade, and wearing a wide-brim hat.