Can You Really Use Milk To Treat Sunburn?

We've all been there: Feeling a scorching-hot sunburn coming along after a seriously sunny beach day. If you focused more on the turquoise waves than on re-applying your trusty sunblock, you might just feel a signature red burn on your shoulders, back, and everywhere else. But not to fret — one of the best sunburn remedies can be found in your own kitchen, and can give you quick relief.

According to Good Housekeeping, you can switch out your go-to aloe vera for another sunburn treatment that's probably already in your refrigerator. The unexpected trick? Any dairy product. Whether you go for sour cream, yogurt, or skim milk, dairy works like magic on blistering sunburns, and can seriously cool you down.

Although store-bought aloe vera creams are many people's signature sunburn remedy, dairy's fat, protein, and pH levels have an incomparable calming effect on the skin, even restricting blood vessels and reducing swelling (via Good Housekeeping). In fact, as per Home Remedies For Life, "Protein found in milk reduces pain and discomfort," and "The fat content in milk locks the moisture in the cells to keep the skin hydrated." Using ice-cold milk to soothe dry skin or rashes possibly caused by your burn will give you an immediate cooling effect (via The Healthy).

How to treat sunburns with dairy products

Apart from dairy's soothing fat, protein, and pH, it actually contains another component to give you major sunburn relief. As per St. Luke's Health, milk's lactic acid content will act as an exfoliant for your skin. Applying dairy on your sunburn every day will slowly remove dead skin cells, making room for new skin to form, and its antioxidants will calm redness and inflammation. So what's the best way to apply dairy for sunburn relief?

Good Housekeeping recommends soaking towels or gauze in an equal-part mixture of skim milk, water, and ice cubes. Lay the cloth on your sunburn for five minutes, and repeat the process three times, washing skin afterwards. If you're out of milk, you can also rub plain, full-fat yogurt or sour cream on your burn. It's important to note that skim milk's extra protein content has more soothing benefits, while using it cold will quickly calm skin (via Country Living).

Another effective method is to take a milk bath. Hello Glow recommends filling your bathtub with lukewarm water, 1 cup of milk, 2 cups uncooked oats, and even your favorite essential oil. According to Home Remedies For Life, you can also dip into a tub of one gallon of milk with cold water, soaking for 20 mins. With all dairy, just remember to wash up afterwards, and enjoy the major dose of relief.