Burns happen. Whatever you do, you have three issues to address:
1. Numb the pain.
2. Soothe the skin.
3. Accelerate the healing process.
Burns are at an increased risk of infection because they open your skin, which is your body’s protective barrier against bacteria and other agents. Over generations, dozens of home remedies were developed for treating household burns and they’ve remained because they’re cheap and convenient. We aren’t sure about the origins of some of these remedies, but we know that some dull or soothe your pain, but some can lead to nasty complications. We collected the seven most popular home remedies and compared them to ALOCANE® Maximum Strength Emergency Burn Gel to see if they can treat pain, soothe skin and promote healing like ALOCANE® can.
Under no circumstances should you apply ice, including ice packs or bags of frozen peas, to any type of burn. This is the most instinctive—but insidious—home remedy. You may welcome the drastic change in temperature after feeling searing pain, but applying ice to a burn can shock the already damaged skin. You may also feel temporary relief by numbing the area, but the rapid cooling may cause more damage, or even frostbite. Although ice addresses pain and soothes your skin, it will delay the healing process due to the additional damage it can inflict on your burned skin.
The ancient Egyptians used honey to treat a number of injuries. Although medical-grade honey has antibacterial properties, this is not true of all honey—the plastic honey bear from the grocery store is not as sterile as we would hope. In fact, many store-bought honey products also contain syrupy additives that can make removing and replacing bandages exceptionally painful. Using honey may accidentally reopen blisters or peel away healing skin, which can lead to an infection that will hinder the healing process and make it more likely for scars to form. Additionally, honey does not address pain or irritation. We recommend staying clear from this home remedy to avoid any sticky situations.
We have no clue what kitchen cooked up this burn remedy: you would never keep mayonnaise in your first aid kit, so why would you use it to treat a burn? Mayonnaise on a sensitive burn can trap in heat and suffocate your injured skin. Mayo may also introduce bacteria to your burn. This home remedy has the potential to make your burn more painful than it already is, and should never be applied to broken or damaged skin.
4. Butter or any type of oil
Although butter, olive, coconut and lavender oil may moisturize your skin, they can also do unseen damage. These oils can trap the heat of your burn, amplifying the damage as the heat burrows deeper into your skin. This is especially true for sunburn sufferers. Many turn to the ever-popular skin care remedy of coconut oil to help heal sun-damaged skin, given its antioxidants and often-added vitamin E. However, oils of any kind can make it difficult for your skin to breathe, and hinder healing time. This home remedy will not treat pain or soothe your burn (even though it is important to keep healing burns moisturized). We recommend steering clear of coconut oil until your burn has healed.
All types of vinegar contain acetic acid, an ingredient found in aspirin. Vinegar has been proven to ease minor burn and sunburn pain, itching and inflammation. Vinegar also balances the pH (acid or alkalinity) of burned skin. All vinegar will actually treat your burn pain, but unfortunately, after the initial soothing of any minor pain, vinegar cannot make your burn heal faster.
6. Black tea
Black tea contains tannic acid, which works to draw heat from minor burns to make them less tender. Black tea is an incredibly popular home remedy for sunburns. Just make sure the tea has cooled—try keeping it in the fridge to make this treatment more soothing. Even though black tea addresses pain and even soothes your skin, it will not make your burn heal faster.
7. Lemon juice
While lemon juice’s acidic properties can naturally lighten scars, lemon juice does not heal burns. In fact, it can cause phytophotodermatitis, also known as “margarita dermatitis” or “lime disease.” These are minor chemical burns that are extremely painful and appear after handling citrus fruit and while being exposed to UV light. Lemon juice may cause additional pain and irritation to your skin. It has no place near a burn.