I recently got a sunburn. When it started healing, it became intensely itchy. I have tried some home remedies, such as tea, aspirin, milk, water spray and taking a cool bath. Nothing is taking away the intense itchiness. Are there other ways to reduce the itchiness?
Of course, you know, the best way to treat a sunburn is to take steps to prevent the sunburn from occurring in the first place. Be sure to use sunscreen, stay in the shade as much as possible during the hours of 10:00 and 4:00, where protective clothing including a wide brimmed hat.
But, as you experienced, sometimes despite your precautions, sunburns happen. When blistering, itching, dizziness, fatigue or fever accompanies the sunburn, you should talk with your doctor to make sure you don't have sun poisoning, which is a severe sunburn and can make you feel ill.
As far as the itching, as you can tell from the many answers, there are all different types of home remedies to help relive the itching. A word of caution, before putting anything, such as essential oils, directly on your skin, talk to your doctor as these can cause further skin damage. Over the counter products, such as aloe vera gel might help. Also, keep your skin very moisturized and take only cool showers. A cool oatmeal bath might also help relieve the itching. Antihistamines can also help the itch and may help you sleep. If you don't feel any relief, it is time to talk with your doctor.
For more information:
Can You Safely Tan if you Don't Get a Sunburn
Treating a Sunburn
Deep unbearable itch after sunburn. My father, my brothers and I have all experienced exactly what you are describing. Until someone experiences this it is really hard to understand the intensity and the lack of treatment available. I searched this out on the internet to offer help to those experiencing it as well. After literally spending days in cold showers and anguishing hours....we found a solution. PEPPERMINT OIL. NOT Peppermint extract, PURE PEPPERMINT OIL. You can find it at health food and natural food stores and some knowing pharmacists will carry it. Apply directly to the burn. Any skin contact with the oil causes your skin to feel really cool. It opens the pores.
Your hands or the hands of whoever applies it will feel quite cool for hours or days after because of the effect of the oil, but it is not painful at all (just don't touch your eyes, mouth or nose. It smells like a candy cane factory for a few days....which after finally getting relief from this awful experience, will become the best smell in the world. This seems to work by opening the pores and releasing the heat held deep in the nerves. Peppermint oil is pretty strong to apply directly to the skin but it generally only requires one thorough application all over the affected area. This DOES work. This is the only thing that really works for this. It is really quite amazing how fast and how well it works too considering how nothing else touches it. What DOES NOT WORK.... ANY Kind of lotion or gel or cream makes it worse. This holds the heat, which is already being held in, and is continuing it's burn at the nerve level. Avoid any chlorinated or treated water (especially hot tubs... though the pressure of the jets can divert temporarily just like cold shower spray, it is only temporary and can make it worse). Just so you know, like you, we always experience this at least one to two days AFTER the initial sun burn. We are not sure why we experience this and so many others do not but we highly recommend that you never repeat this kind of sun exposure. It will reoccur. It seems that some people are just vulnerable to it. Keep a fresh bottle of peppermint oil on hand just in case and if you ever meet anyone else who has gone through this pass on the word. This solution works so well agains such a horrible experience...people need to know.
thank you so much! im sending my girlfriend to the pharmacy right now! i had to leave work today looking like a trembling shakeing scratching idiot! nothing worked, no burn gel, no spray no banana boat, nothing and it did seem to make the itch worse, my boss had to drive me home, they were afraid i would have an accident cause of the way i was acting, its like ants were crawling and biting me all over my back, i got urnt on sunday 2pm to 530pm and today on tuesday at 1210pm all hell broke loose! boss went to the store and bought aloe vera gel cooling sunburn relief with lidocane hci, ha! made it worse burn gel outta the med cabinet didnt work, im a chemical formulator and our chemist walked by the office and seen me near tears and jumping and scratching all over the office and had alittle home remedy, aqua ammonia solution like 20 to 1,,, didnt work,, omg soooo unbrearable! unless you have gone through this. u will never understand... so in my third hour i made it home, jumped right in the shower, and it seemed the itch was gone, for a short while... uuugghh! 20 minutes later my chronic suicidal itch returned, now im not peeling yet and dont seem to be blisterd, but my burn appears almost purple in color, i been searching the internet and tryed almost every sugetsion on here except this one, now in my 6th hour of intense itching, and third trip to walmart, she has ran to the pharmacy to find this elusive pepperment oil! i hope this works, cause if it doesnt.... im gonna take a cheese grater to my back! i dont pray as often as i should, but,,, dear lord please make this work!
I have just been through the same horrible feeling. The only way I have ever been able to get through it is to knock myself out for about three days with allegy medicine. Of course as soon as I wake up I feel the crazy itch again. I will definitly reccomend this and if I forget the sunscreen again I will try it too. So, if it does not work, take benedryl or something else that makes you very sleepy and gently rub the area (or have your girlfriend) with a dry washcloth until you stop itching so bad or you fall asleep, and don't scratch or rub the area again! Just try and sleep through it as much as possible. Also have a fan blowing on you the entire time to try and keep moisture away. For about the next week or more don't get sweaty or get anything on the area (NO SHOWERS!) Good luck with the burn and don't forget the sunscreen next time!
I have never replied to someone online like this, but I am forever grateful to find your solution to this. I have a little clue for you, too. After spending hours researching, I discovered why we are so "special" to get this insane itch when a sunburn is healing (believe me, I spent hours until I found this post and ran off to buy the Peppermint Oil - which worked!...but I was in panic mode until I found someone who understood and then spoke with conviction about the solution). Anyway, I furthered my research to find out "why me"...and discovered that we special folks emit an excess amount of histamine (same thing that causes hives) during the healing process. That's why most people don't understand why we approach the brink of insanity during this process! SO...there you go! THANKS FOR POSTING THIS SOLUTION!!
thank you for your find which helped me to understand at least why is wrong with me. my kids and me went to water park where i got this sunburn. but kids dont itch like i do. although their burn seems worse than mine. at least what you have said here helped me to understand why i have this itch. this is so unbearable. i m in my second day of the sunburn.....and i feel like wanna jump out from my skin. i am asking around where to find that peppermint oil mentioned. i can't focus on anything at all. trying hard to cool my head when typing this.
Hi I would Like to tell you that their is another remedy i have tried didnt want too but I had to Man.
ME and My family are all Red heads will very fair Skin.
Well we were very busy the other day on sunday packing up for a trip and my 9 year old Son was at His friends House.
Well His dad really wasnt watching Him Because I guess they were outside Playing with a hose with their shirts off.
I saw Him with his shirt Off at the same time my neighber did but by then it was way too Late.
Sad But My son was out their playing with the Hose For 2 hours
He was soo Very Sun Burned He was Crying all Sunday Night he felt soo Bad that he Played with the Hose with not Shirt on.
We Put the Alo Cactis on the Burn that Night and a lot of 100% Aloe vera for the Burn it really Helped Him.
He couldnt go to school yesterday so we put aloe vera ON His entire Back and front his sun burn is awfaull I Myself have never had a sun burn this Bad because i would never ever take my shirt off not even when i am in the pool,Water,The Beach,Playing squirt Guns,ect.
I always whare a long sleeve shirt witch of course he can not even go to his friends house unless he has one on.
Well This is night #3 and of course it is Healing and it is now itching him so bad he has been crying and screaming for 3 hours since 9 PM.
I was sooo trying to Help Him its hurting him really Bad.
I been resurching on the Best remedy the Aloe Vera a great Remedy when you have the sun burn right away but when its starts itching the Applying it like Butter and very thick does not work even if you wait.
When I resurched the best way to Help my son i found this Thread witch this Guy is also fair Skinned Just like Us.
I thought this remedy was obsured man.
But My son was screaming the entire time i was in front of my computer saying Please Dad Find something we could doo it itches soo Bad Dad.
I already Found this thread but I Just thought no Way Man No Way not going to work sounds soo stupid and it sounds like i will be in the emergency room tonight.
Well I would already be in the emergency room anyway becuase i didnt know how to help him.
So heck I would Try anything
I had Viniger Under the Sink Put it in the Spray Bottle Just like he Explained to do
I Sprayed it on Him right here in the Living room My House smells like Viniger.
He stood Under the Fan Untill It dried and it instantly stopped the itching and burning.
He was sooo tired But he just couldnt sleep.
He is sleeping Now and I am going to Bed
This remedy does work not only work good but it just works awsome i will be using it if i ever get a bad sunburn witch i garontee i wont.
Do you have a source of the histamine causing factor???
Hey there. I never post on forums, however after reading this post about peppermint oil, and myself being in what I'm calling an "insanity itch" from a sunburn, I immediately went out to my local high end grocery store to buy some.
I THINK IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT MORE BE SAID ABOUT PEPPERMINT OIL
1. Does it work? Yes, which is the best thing ever. However, it's important to note a few things.
Peppermint oil is extremely concentrated and is not made to be put on skin by itself. The women who works in the wellness department (where it was located) who went to school for aroma therapy, told me it is dangerous to put on skin by itself. She said all oils like that are made to be diluted with other oils before applying.
So when I applied it I was really careful. This isn't like olive oil, you'll only need a teaspoon of this stuff. I dabbed it onto my fingers and then patted my fingers on my stomach and sides. The oil does hurt going on in my opinion. It stings a little and makes the skin sensative. I've had it on for about 10 minutes now. I spend about 5-10 minutes gently applying it. It honestly feels like a light burn on the skin, but does smell great and makes you breathe better. My skin is more sensative and hurts a little more, but the itch is gone which is incredible and I am really glad to have found this.
For any cooks out there, it feels like jalepeno oil a bit, which I'm sure is why the poster said not to touch sensative parts of your face, it'd probably hurt a lot.
My sunburn happened on Sunday and it is now Saturday when my main itch set on. Much of the burn has healed and it's not nearly as sensative as it was (though still hurts too much to sleep on my side). Even at this point, the oil hurts a fair amount and my skin feels a lot more sensative with it on. I'm concerned that someone elses skin that is closer to the time of the burn and thus more sensative might feel a lot more pain putting the pepperment oil on.
Just to reiterate, this stuff is crazy strong. You can put one drop on your finger, then touch a part of your body and that part will get really cold and may hurt a bit. I URGE PEOPLE NOT TO PUT THIS DIRECTLY ON THEIR SENSATIVE SKIN. Even dabbing it on my fingers then patting my skin feels like the strongest I'd ever want on my skin.
But all in all it does work and I know of no other solution except knocking yourself out with something. Be careful with the oil. It may make more sense to dilute it down with another oil when applying it, though I in my desperation followed the direct application prescribed in the original post. The woman at the wellness section said that the normal dilution for application to skin is 1:5, the 1 being the peppermint oil and the 5 being some mild oil like almond or coconut. Next time I think I will try doing that or maybe a little stronger, though perhaps it wouldn't work as well.
Anyways, there's my experience and contribution to this hellish experience. I'm not a woman but I'm glad to hear the women on here say worse than childbirth. For what it's worth from a man's perspective, it's worse than having your privates hit hard.
As a side note for dealing with the itching before you get the remedy. I had been rubbing and gently itching for a while and it seemed like I was becoming psychotic. I decided to be disciplined and force myself to stop itching. This is really hard to do but is WAY better than itching. It may seem like an impossible task (I was praying and saying reciting scripture in my head to keep focus) but it actually becomes somewhat managable once your mind realizes you will not scratch. I tried to think of the itching feeling as if it were minor pain rather than an itch. I admit this is still terrible and difficult and often really strong itches come and almost made me want to cry, but I successfully stopped itching for about 45 minutes.
I am experiencing this intense deep itching and pinching, being driven crazy, even AFTER 2 or 3 applications of peppermint oil. So I'm one person for whom this does not work! The itching started many days after the sunburn, which was not bad...I had no pain or discomfort at all in the beginning. I guess I'll just have to suffer until it decides on its own to go away and leave me alone.
THANK YOU FOR THIS ADVICE! This is the second time in my life that I have expereienced this kind of intense itching/pain after a bad sunburn. It has been over 48 hours for me since the burn and all seemed well until it hit me right after a shower. The itching is unbearable and the more you itch the worse it gets. Even the slighest of a touch will make it worse. Unfortunately for me there is nothing open after midnight that carried peppermint oil so I had to fight it out until 7am. It was a long night, and the only thing that gives temporary relief beside a shower is a bath with Aveeno oat meal powder. That would give relief for about an hour or two but only if I did not touch my back.
After I got my peppermint oil for $9 at Whole Foods I also stoped and got some Dermoplast at Walgreens. Tried the Dermoplast first. WORTHLESS! You need something serious for this kind of pain/itch. The peppermint oil is SERIOUS. If you do not dilute with some other oil you will experience a more serious pain/tingle for about 20 to 30 minutes. It felt like my back was on fire and frozen at the same time, BUT after it subsided I was able to sleep for four hours, and probably could have gone longer if I didn't need to work.
Later in the day I diluted the 100% peppermint oil in coconut oil. Use a solution of about 5/1 (coconut oil / peppermint oil). This is a much more enjoyable tingle sensation than the 100% peppermint oil straight.
Thanks again for the help. God has given us natural resources that often seem to work better than the man made medicine.
OMG after 3 hours of runing to the pharmacy and trying everything for itching....
this is the only remedy that worked. I did as another person mentioned put about 6-10 drops into melted coconut oil and applied all over initially a cool burn which
turns into complete RELIEF THIS TOOK ABOUT 10 MINUTES TO ACHIEVE THIS.
Also take your ADVIL and BENYDRYL Best of luck
Thank you so much for your post. I ran out to the store right away, only because I just took my third shower for the day to get my 20 minute freedom from the itch. I had my wife put it on and waited for the relief. It still itches to a minor degree which I can manage. But she was watching my back and said that my back was going from crawfish red to slowly back to a white. It started with white areas that continued to spread. OMG so great right now. Its amazing what a little research and $7 on peppermint oil can do. I will add this to my medicine cabinet from now on. Thank you again!
I just have to say that peppermint oil is a miracle in a bottle. I had this horrible itch happen once when I was a teenager and I had no idea what was happening or why. It was the worst feeling I have ever felt in my life. Then just the other day I got sunburned and this itching came back this morning. I was ready to rip my skin off when I decided to actually look into this. This post saved my life and I wanted to thank "K" for the peppermint oil suggestion. I don't know what I would have done without it.
Is there any alternative for the peppermint oil? I've been itching all day and it's basically brought me to tears and we don't have any at home, and my mother refuses to go and buy any.
Bless you! Got the peppermint oil yesterday, and I finally slept last night. From now on, peppermint oil is a constant in my house.
Thank you so much, today's 7/31/2013 I just went to gnc and got my little bottle of peppermint oil. I had this same sunburn before with these out of this world itching but this time I said to myself. Come on, it has to be something to cure or calm this.
Guess what YOU RIGHT, IT DOES WORK GREAT. Thank you so so much man. I hope everybody knew about these so we wouldnt have to go through such a living hell, worse nightmare or chinese torture like this. I wont even give this itch to my worse enemy. Thats how bad it is.
Thank you so much!!! It was pretty late last night and I didn't have any peppermint or vinegar and I was going crazy! I sat in front of a fan, which made the itch go away while I was directly in front of it, but as soon as I moved it would start again. When I saw what you posted about the HISTAMINES, I took the ANTIHISTAMINE called ZYRTEC (along with ibuprofen), and then just pointed a portable fan at my back for an hour to an hour and a half. When I turned it off, I was paranoid that the itch would come back, but it was completely gone and I was finally able to sleep in peace! Thanks for that!If you're having trouble, take an antihistamine! It can't hurt! A fan helps too.
OMG, I'm going through the same thing. The itching is driving me crazy and its been days. My stomach, my back, my legs, my chest, even my bum. I'm going to try this first thing in the morning. I don't think people get the agany of it.
This is a great comment, I should have read it before I used the peppermind oil! It does work great, but as warned it's not meant to be put directly on skin unless it's an extract and is diluted. I used the peppermind oil all over my body because of the intense itchiness from my sunburn...well the itch was gone, until I broke out in hives an hour or two later. Now I'm itchier more than ever and have hive everywhere.
Peppermint oil is great, just only use a little little tiny bit and dilute!!!
i have this itch again today i got burnt on sunbeds... what i did i had a cold bath for about 10 mins, then u went and got on my bed.. i could never find anything to make it stop .. dont use aftersun it gets worse i tryed that lol, i had to forse myself to stop itching. so i put something in my mouth to bite and tryed my best and i found that worked :D .. and ive never had baby but it is to worst feeling ever
benadryl cream or lotion. diphendramine.... best relief ever. For me the itch escalates at night soo use the cream and go to bed. Dont take the pills on top of it otherwise you will wake up trashed as if you have barely slept
am i the only who discovered that you dont need medi and other chemicals,there is a much easier way
This has been happening to me today. I just came online to find the same answer.. when the itching became unbearable before the only thing i could do to stop it after having smeared all sorts of aloe vera and moisturisers on my back.. was to literally numb my back with ice packs. If you only have small ice backs and you are alone (like i was) just slide the pack the on top of the points that are most unbearable. It took about 15 mins of doing this before i could take away the ice.. just make sure you dont irritate your skin wile doing so..
Also i found that after having a shower drying the burnt area with a towel greatly increased the itching- so if you've got the time after a shower id just sit in a towel and let the burned area dry by itself.. although its kinda.
as for a remedy.. i think we might just have to learn from our mistakes for next time
Lanacaine cream, maximum strenth. It has 20% Benzocaine in it. Be preparred when applying. It will increase the itch and pain to the point of insanity for 5-20 minutes until the medicine works. Then it will take away the itch and the burn for up to 8 hours. I am talking like you will forget about it. As the burn heals the application insanity lessons. Good luck.
I just found this question and I don't see how old it is but I too was just going insane from the itch of my sunburn from 2 days ago-I stood in an ice cold shower for hours and smothered aloe and benadryl all over my back to no avail-I ran to CVS and asked the Pharmacist and she immediately took me to the zisle and handed me Dermoplast-I asked her to spray my back immediately with it right there in the aisle!! I bought 2 cans home and my daughter sprayed it all over my back and it worked almost instantly! I cannot recommend this product enough. I would have paid $1000 to stop the itch! I was actually sick to my stomach from it. I never in my life not even having 2 children and one was a C-sec have felt anything so unbearable. I hope this helps someone.
bath tub full of baking soda helped my 12yr son the best, along with dose of Benadryl for itching and Motrin for pain.
I know this is an old thread, but I like to make a point of chiming in on something as drastic as HELL ITCH. I like many of you who suffer from it, wish I were dead when it's flarring across my back! I have been this way most all of my life and as someone clearly stated above it's because our bodies release so many histamines during the healing process.
So, the other day I got duped into a 4 hour tube ride down a non shaded river at high noon (Don't ask how or why, I was just lied too) and they left the lotion back in the locker so no reapplying it, needless to say sunburn ensued. Anyways, 48 hours rolled around and like clockwork *BAM* ""HELL ITCH"". Worst part too is that I had work in 4 hours.
I managed to survive eight hours of stocking shelves overnight shift with HELL ITCH, and I will explain to you how. I researched about the oil and how it works and so on, so I picked up some Peppermint Oil, but your not supposed to apply it to the skin without a carrier oil. So, when you dilute it the heroic effects aren't as strong, however it was key to my survival. Pay attention to this next part because it'll save your life with HELL ITCH!
HELL ITCH is the body over releasing histamines<<<<< that's a key point right there! To survive work I had to ingest 50mg of antihistamines every four hours. I used Benadryl Allergy and I assure you it is God's gift to man when they suffer this wrethed cur. Now I had to move alot during my shift, bending, lifting, and running, the benadryl alone wouldn't have done the trick because of having to wear a collared shirt. So, this is where the peppermint oil came in, I cut the peppermint oil with almond oil, and applied it thickly to my back, then I put a 100% cottons white shirt on over the oil and under my rough collared shirt. So, while the antihistamines fought of the release of the histamines, the oil kept the clothes from irritating my back even further!
So, I am a survivor of strenuos work while suffering HELL ITCH! My advice to you, is pick up and dilute peppermint oil with a carrier oil and pickup Benadryl Allergy and keep it with you at all times, because the moment the antihistamines wear off you will know it immediately and wish you never left them at home! I promise you this works, and has been tested under extreme working conditions. I hope it helps someone else!!
Year after year, I have dealt with this crazy unbearable itch for YEARS. This is the only time I have ever searched to figure out WHY.
Today, my skin acted up again after taking a shower. I jumped out and immediately attempted remedy number one:
Apple Cidar Vinegar
I found that this remedy is most effective the day of the burn and continued up until the itching phase passes. Not an instant cure.
I frantically hopped back in the shower and stood under cold water which brought relief, although it wasn't until I began to gradually increased the water temperature every minute or so, that I began to FINALLY feel relief. Tonight I decided to research this and found this discussion and I will be picking up some PURE PEPPERMINT OIL tomorrow morning to test this out.
I will let everyone know the results.
Is the reason for this insane itch really excessive amounts of histamine? Does anyone have links to a resource to prove to my wife I am NOT going insane?
Does the peppermint oil work??? Please tell me, just got a burn today and I have suffered from this wretched itch before, and I am hoping to prevent this from happening again.
Just tried it a couple of days ago (I got the insanity itch)... it difinitely works... though... as someone else mentioned..... not 100%. I tried vinegar and aloe as well... neither gave any relief. To me it seemed like the peppermint oil made my whole back feel like it was on some minty coolant so greatly distracted the attention so the itches, when they came seemed to be given alot less attention from my brain.... I was finally able to sleep that night (though I had to stay up much later than usual so I could feel very tired).
I recently had this problem, unfortunately for me it occurred on a Sunday when most pharmacies and shops were closed, so I couldn't buy myself any peppermint oil (though I will buy some soon in order to prevent this itch happening again!)I tried everything and anything - at one point my mum was spraying vinegar on my back, which hurt so much upon contact but gradually calmed the itch... for about 20 minutes. After that it was back to insanity.
I ended up having to go to A&E (the walk-in center's were all closed!) which sounds a bit dramatic, but I was honestly on the verge of ripping my skin apart, it was so unbearable.
They gave me anti-histamine tablets which did a world of wonder. To get to sleep, I put a wet towel over the itchy area which also helped a lot. I not feel a million times better!If you can't get peppermint oil, I seriously recommend going to a walk-in or A&E, this really is the most painful thing I have ever experienced and doctors can give you anti-histamine tablets to calm the itch.
Good luck to anyone experiencing this!
benadryl cream!!! I mis read the "where to put ur heel" in a stand up tanning booth and whoops. My front half is torched! I have the itchy red dots on my burn and it is killing me. BENADRYL CREAM!!! it works.
I can say that I woke up more tired than normal but way better than my wife waking me up every 30 minutes because I am scratching myself HARD in my sleep.
I have had kidney stones, I had the chicken pox at 33 yrs old and I have had a torsion. Itching is hard to deal with and after chicken pox I had a viral exanthom <-- sp? so I have had my share of itching but I have to say as bad as this burn is I will take it anyday over the pain of a torsion ANYDAY. It has been 20 years since the torsion and you just dont forget pain like that. I bring this up because I have heard kidney stones compared to childbirth too. My kidney stones all have hurt a lot but... Ranking them most pain to least I would say Torsion, kidney stones, sun burn (itching) and neck pain. Those are my personal pains that I have experienced. I have 1 time in my life had food poisoning that caused my hands and feet to swell and itch horribly but it was only a few hours of my life so I am not counting it. If I were to count it I would rank it # 2. A torsion is the worst pain a man can endure. Note: I have broken my ankle (open reduction), dislocated my shoulder (rotator cuff and labrum surgery). Broke fingers, high ankle sprains, tore rib cartilage... I am a glutton but I still put that nasty "sun" burn at #3.
I HAVE A RELIEF CURE.
You might think this seems crazy, but take a HOT SHOWER.
Instant relief. And you can't damage your burn because it's already healing.
Trust me on this one, it actually really really works.
I have THE ITCH FROM HELL right now. I'm in my mid 30's now, but have had this horrendous symptom 2 days post sunburn since high school. It's been almost 20 years, but I still VIVIDLY remember the first time it happened. My mother, a nurse, grew up on Florida's beaches & had no idea how to help me. It was TORTURE. I have tried to stay out of the sun all my life as I am "pratically transparent" as my friends say, but after that, I was VIGILANT. 2 days ago I went to a lake. I applied 110 sunscreen, sat under a UV umbrella, and put on a shirt when out from under the umbrella. My bestie and the 4 kids with us? Not even a shade darker. Me? BURNED. BAD. So, after a few burn/itch traumas over the years, here's what I have found to work if you don't have or can't find peppermint oil. Step 1) shower, whatever feels good on your skin and alleviates the itching, but NOT HOT. Warm yes, but not hot. Don't want to worsen the burn. Yes, I know some people say showering makes it worse, but I find it relieves the itch enough to regain some sanity or at least until someone can run out and get you what you need from the store, lol. It also opens up your pores to accept moisture and soak in the upcoming "remedy" Step 2) grab and old rubber scraper from the kitchen if you don't have a helper! Trust me, you'll be SO happy I told you to if you're alone. The itching makes it nearly impossible to have a coherent thought. 3) Have a friend or scraper (the flat part to your back only! don't use the side and scrape your burn! ouch!) GENEROUSLY apply a mix of 2 parts VAPO-RUB (like Vick's or Watkin's Menthol-Camphor Ointment) and 1 part vaseline. If you don't have vaseline, use all vapo-rub, but the vapo-rub is the key ingredient. It sounds kinda scary, but it doesn't hurt, and IT WORKS FAST!!!!! Plus it locks in moisture AND cools the skin. Aloe cools but feels and sticky pretty quickly. I've only used peppermint oil for aromatherapy, sore muscles, and at the first twinge of a cold-sore (it never even comes out) but I know you'd have to use quite a bit of pricey oil to have it feel moisturized. Vapo-Rub is cheap, easy to find, and super versatile. In fact, it works amazingly well on sunburn pain, itching, bug bites, minor scrapes, minor burns, muscle aches, and most surprisingly----HEMMORHOIDS. For real. I've had 5 or 6 friends swear by it when pregnancy blessed them with the lovely...ahem..."visitors". ******Do NOT apply it to blisters, open blisters, or purple colored burns without talking to your doctor. I have NO idea if it'd be OK and don't want to hurt you any more than you are! Don't do it!!!!*********
After reading through all the replies here, I want to share a few things that might be helpful to some of you. First, I definitely recognize the symptoms: delayed onset (approx. 48 hours), intense-to-the-point-of-instanity itching, little or no rash other than general redness, and most cream and moisturizers either do nothing to help or make it worse. I am certain that there are at least a few people in this thread with the same problem that I have.
I first experienced this a couple of years ago in my early 20's, and I have spoken to several different doctors about it. And from what I have found out, this is not just about dry and burned skin. You/I/We are experiencing an allergic reaction to sunlight. Sounds silly, right? That's what I thought at first, but it was confirmed by both my general physician and a dermatoligist.
It can crop up unexpectedly, at almost any age, though I've read that some medications make it more likely. And after you've had it once, it never really goes away. Over-the-counter allergy medicines such as Benadryl or Allegra may help to keep it in check, but in my experience only at several times the recomended dosage, so please don't try to self medicate in this manner if you have other options.
There is no real cure, and the only truly effective treatment I have found is to get a prescription from a doctor for a more powerful immuno-supressant (corticosteroids). These medications can have side-effects, so if you want to go this route, make sure you speak to a doctor first.
The one bright bit of information I can offer is that if you start out pail, but manage to get tanned up, you will be less susceptible; you just need to get your sun exposure in very small doses.
I am NOT a trained medical professional; my advice here is only to direct you to some one who is.
Burnt my back about 24 hours before it all began. Travelled home from Croatia this afternoon and really started to kick off on the plane journey back. It's hard to put in to words the unimaginable irritation. Complete hell. I'm now in bed at 5.30am and it's even worse. Shower after shower, wrapping myself in towels, ice packs are all temporary reliefs that just keep you from going completely insane. I am now just trying to ride it out as best I can before pharmacy opens 9.00am and can go buy some peppermint oil. From the posts above I'm confident/desperately hopeful that I've only got 3.5hours of this nightmare left. I will definitely let you know how it goes. I wouldn't wish this upon my worse enemy.
Hi, I'm suffering with this tonight and shops are closed etc and I have no peppermint oil in the house but being desperate I've tried tooth paste which has calmed it right down to a tolerable level. I wouldn't use one with much additives but knowing how miserable this is anything is worth a try until I can get to a shop tomorrow. I've taken an antihistamine too so hopefully I'll get some sleep tonight. Thought I'd put this idea out there for anyone that's desperate. :)
I need to find peppermint and coconut oil pronto, I've tried everything and am ready to take a knife ans simply cut that hunk of skin off. When I try aloe vera gel and lotion I almost started crying.Can anyone explain why the aloe vera hurt so bad? I've used it a million times before now.Thank you everyone for your suggestions! Lets hope this works! (P.S. I've never posted on one of these things before but I just really need the burning to stop)
Every time i tell someone the aloe makes my sunburn worse they act like im nuts! The peppermint oil worked great and it took me 34 years to figure it out! I wouldnt wish this on anyone! Feel better!
Don't listen to any of these suggestions, they don't help! I just went through this today. I was sunburned on my last day of vacation in Cabo. It wasn't too bad until this morning when I showered. I'm guessing that dried me out and I had severe itching like I've never felt. I applied the expensive aloe with vitamin A & E, tried lotion, tried vinegar, and even whole milk. Nothing got it to stop. Then I went to walgreen's and bought a bottle of spray called "Solarcaine". It has Lidocaine in it and the pharmacy recommended it. If they don't have this, find ANYTHING with lidocaine in it. It took about 15mins and I was back to just a regular sun burn. Such an odd pain and I never write on these things, but had to share to help anyone else out there. I didn't think I was going to be able to leave the house.
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!! I'm 27 and of irish descent. I've battled with my fair share of sunburns growing up and always declare that it will never happen again but low and behold..here I am at the mercy of a burn! 100% PURE PEPPERMINT OIL WILL FOREVER BE A STAPLE IN MY HOUSEHOLD! Don't know why it's taken me this long to figure this out-but I am SOOO happy I stumbled upon this forum! I applied the peppermint oil and IMMEDIATELY the itch ceased! SO THANKFUL!!!
I found the article below very interesting concerning itching. I have had many sunburns over my lifetime; 58 years. Never had the itch from hell syndrome yet until day before yesterday. I spent twenty years as a paratrooper and have broken many bones and am familiar with pain as if an old friend. But when the itching started I was crying like a little girl. Jumping up and down and tore off my clothes and jumped into the shower. I got relief from antihistamines and pure peppermint oil. Antihistamines alone did not fully stop the itch but the peppermint oil was like magic. So the article below is not the full answer for me as the mechanics of histamines where always present in my body but why wait until this week. I have had sun poisoning and sunburn many times but this was entirely different. I have a theory and will research and repost but wanted to hit the submit button and will get back to you all.
BURNS AND SCABS
As burns and other skin injuries heal, "remodeling" occurs: Dead tissue breaks down and makes space for healthy tissue, and nerves and blood vessels grow along with this new tissue, says Alan Fleischer, M.D., chairman of dermatology at the Wake Forest University school of medicine. Once the hard scar tissue forms, nerves are trapped and may be tickled when the tissue stretches or bends, he says. Moreover, the fibroblast cells that make up scar tissue can release chemicals that trigger itch nerves.
Treat it: This itching is a sign of healing, so feel encouraged. But if the power of positive thinking doesn't do the job, try Sarna Anti-Itch, an over-the-counter lotion that contains camphor and menthol to help numb the surface of the irritated area. Or you can try Lanacane, which contains another anesthetic, benzocaine—but use it sparingly.
I went to the pharmacy today because the itching of the sunburn was unbearable. He gave me a cream called Froicalm, which I found good at greatly reducing the itching. After 2 hrs since the first application, itching has not stopped but it is quite minimal and resistable. I highly recommend you try the cream because although not immediate, the improvement is noticeable. You have to experience the sunburn itches to know how intense they are; my mum thinks I was exhagerating...
My son was literally "jumping out of his skin" from the intense itch of a suburn. As a nurse, I tend to dismiss a lot of symptoms accompanied by whining, but the jumping finally got my attention. Thank you for the recommendation for peppermint oil! We used 5 drops of peppermint oil and 15 drops of coconut oil. It worked immediately! The aloe made it worse, an oatmeal bath stopped the itch for only a short time, and Benadryl loses its effectiveness after about three days. Thanks again!
I too started with this insane ants under my skin itch 48 hours after on my chest and had to run out of work to boots the chemist and had banana boat aloe versa gel recommended and to be honest this drove me even worse, I got home had a shower and oh my god it was fine in the shower but as soon as I tried to dry myself I felt like throwing myself out the 2nd floor bedroom window, I have re-applied the aloe versa gel and rubbed sudocream on my itch area and taken a hay fever allergy pill and am typing this response in a quite slightly still irratated condition. I am awaiting some peppermint oil and another oil to mix when the Mrs comes back from the shops and will let you know how I get on but I have never experienced anything like this before and is more of a phycilogical slog to overcome the itch and heat waves rather than a sore burn.
I was laying by the pool at a friends house (I am 31), it was cloudy with the sun poking out at 15 minute intervals. We were there from 2:30-5 and my dumbass didn't think I needed any sun screen...
I should have known better! Been severely burnt before and I am now experiencing the itch from hell! It is so unberable I can hardly take it. The burn itself does not compare to the intense itch from hell. After reading about everyone's experiences about what works, I can tell you what does not work:
1.) Showers. Yes, you need to take them so you don't reek, and yes the pressure of the water on the itching skin feels good at the time... but as soon as you get out of the shower the itch is sooooooo much worse!!!
2.) Lotions. They are good for day 1 of the burn but suck after the initial burn. I just got out of the shower and put on after sun lotion (w/ aloe vera) by banana boat and my itch went from intense to mother %$#king crazy unberable!!! I was running around my house screaming holding my hands together trying not to itch.
What works for ME:
1.) Tylenol & Benadryol. Both help with the pain and itch, although it's not permanent it does help.
2.) Wearing a shirt. For me, keeping the sun burned area underneath clothing helps keep the itch away.
3.) Coffee. For some reason it helps, I think the sweating (coffee makes me sweat) helps the healing process.
4.) Beer. A good IPA helps with the pain and itch.
5.) Do something to keep your mind off it!!! I have not tried peppermint oil. I got burnt on Saturday (2pm-5:30pm) and it's Monday (7:30pm) and the itch is just starting to really kick in... wish me luck! Wish I could just fast-forward time...
Calamine lotion, takes the itch right out for a few hours but it does burn for a while, but not to bad.
I had from extreme irritation, stinginess I could not stand sitting in the same place for more than 2 minutes without moving around. After hours and hours of research and consulting doctors trying to find a solution for this miseryI tried basically everything that is sugessted online pretty much.. vinegar, calamine, 100% aloe vera, fenistil, fucicort, and none worked. It seemed that they were just a one minute reliever and it got worse to the point I couldnt sleep for 48 hrs cause of the overall irritation. But then luckily I came accross a suggestion from a doctor whom I highly respect and apprectiate. THE SOLUTION (for me it worked 100%) was
BABY POWDER, I cant even begin to describe the magic this wonderful powder did on my back. I highly reccomend it folks, the moment I had the baby power made by jhonson & jhonson I was able to sleep for 16 hours straight:)
if the baby powder on its own doesnt stop the irritation for you take a pain killer, i took prior to using the powder a voltaren injection and it helped ease the pain from irritation by quite a bit. But you can voltaren pills or any other strong pain killer if you dont have access to a doctor.
I cant stress enough how the baby powder works miracles on sun burns. good luck and btw the feeling started on the second day for me and was about 95% gone the next day. so it only lasts one day, thank god! its such a horrible feeling to have without the proper treat ment.
Looks like different things work for different people. I was unable to find the peppermint oil mentioned above. I had already tried aloe, and all types of weird "remedies"(including rubbing yogurt on my back). I got in a nasty mood because on top of the itching my family kept making jokes (they clearly have no idea of how bad this itching was).
I took a cold shower which helped enough for me to get on my car and drive to the pharmacy. I ended up buying solarcaine (the one with Lidocaine in it) and took an antihistamine pill (cloro-trimeton). I did not have to put the solarcaine as apparently the antihistamine pill was enough. It took a few minutes to work, and my back still itches a bit, but is a lot more manageable and was able to sleep (not on my back though).
I got sunburned while playing in the beach with my daughter, I was unable to put sunblock on my back. When in the beach I took off my T-shirt to jump into the water...BIG mistake.
I don't wish this itching upon anybody, it is the most uncomfortable feeling I have ever had in my life!
This extreme sunburn itch happened to me a few times as a kid and is currently happening to me as I type.
It's so hard to explain to people that have never had it. It's not truly painful, but it's one of the worst 'pains' I've ever felt.
The only thing I've ever had help me is taking a cold showers (temporary help) and then lying down on my bed wrapping myself tightly in the towel I just used to dry off with. Something about the materials of a towel, tightly against the skin, somewhat limits the amount of the itch.
My girlfriend is on her way to Whole Foods to pick up some Peppermint Oil that was suggested by someone above, I really hope this works -- nothing else seems to.
The Peppermint Oil works great. Instantly after it was applied, the itching started to reduce to the point where it was almost completely gone (occasional random spots of light itchiness).
And if your burn is on your chest, like mine, it will clear your sinuses too -- I've never been able to breathe this good through my nose!
Thanks to the person who suggested this.
try baking soda