The first step in treating any minor burn or sunburn is to quickly immerse the afflicted area in cold water (about 50°F) containing a few drops of essential oil. Or you can apply a cold compress that has been soaked in the same water. If the person feels overheated or if the eyelids are sunburned, place the compress on the forehead.
Burned skin is tender to the touch, so spraying a remedy is preferable to dabbing it on. A spray also is extra cooling and is especially handy when sunburn covers a large area.
For your burn wash, compress, or spray, lavender is an all-time favorite among aromatherapists. Lavender and aloe vera juice both promote new cell growth, reduce inflammation, stop infection, and decrease pain. Aloe has even been used successfully on radiation burns. There are several other essential oils that reduce the pain of burns and help them heal, so feel free to experiment. Use them in the same proportions suggested for lavender, except rose oil for which 1 drop equals 5 drops of other essential oils.
A small amount of vinegar also helps to heal a minor burn and provides an additional cooling effect, but it is painful on an open wound. Reserve it for cases in which the skin is unbroken. In general, stick to treating minor, first-degree burns at home, and leave the care of deeper or more extensive burns to a doctor.
Essential oils for burns and sunburn: chamomile, geranium, lavender, marjoram, peppermint (cooling in small amounts), rose, tea tree