2 day sunburn

C.R.E.A.M. [Coconut oil Rules Everything Around Me]

A series of before and after photos of crustaceans and crustacean-like skin.

In case you hadn’t noticed, your girl here is pretty damn fair-skinned. I’d like to think that I don’t burn easily, as my dad is so tan that he’s practically purple, but I proved to myself a few weekends ago that I really (painfully) do. Not one to let looking like a boiled lobster keep me down, I figured that this was as good a time as any to be a guinea pig for le blog.

Immediately after the burn started to present itself and right about the time that I started to feel like I was sitting in an oven, I desperately googled “CURE FOR SUNBURN” and was besieged with Yahoo!Answers and WikiHow articles. In my delirious state, I figured hey, drpepper8412 probably really knows what she’s talking about here. After all, her friend’s mother recommends these methods, and she’s a nurse so it has to be true, amirite? 


As instructed by a consensus of shady internet sites, I dipped paper towels in slightly diluted apple cider vinegar and draped them on my chest and arms. If smelling like an easter egg wasn’t bad enough, the vinegar started to itch a couple of spots where I had eczema on my hands and arms. I stuck it out for 15 minutes or so, until the smell and feeling of vinegar on my skin was just too annoying. According to Yahoo!Answers user luckybear_82, the vinegar is supposed to immediately lessen the sting and burn feeling of a sunburn, but I didn’t really feel like any of that happened and the process was annoying and messy. 

Not to be discouraged, I slathered on a liberal amount of organic coconut oil and took this depressing picture:

Eliza's horrific sunburn

Conclusion: vinegar + paper towels + coconut oil = itchy funk smell


Still feeling cruddy, and now smelling of tropical easter eggs, I popped a couple ibuprofen and napped for an hour or two until the heat of ten-hundred suns on my legs woke me from fitful dreams of being roasted alive. Lucky me, my shins and one thigh were burned too! Under the advice of drpepper8412, I brewed some strong black tea and put it in the fridge to chill. In the mean time, I tried dabbing some cold milk on my chest and arms with a cotton ball. It. Felt. AMAZING. And looked borderline obscene…

And then 5 minutes later it started to peel and flake in some kind of cruel foreshadowing of the fate that awaited my skin. Gross. After several coats, I rinsed the milk off and applied more coconut oil as I waited for the tea to chill. Things actually started to improve slightly at that point.

Photos of this method could be wildly misconstrued out of context so I’ll save your employer’s firewall the trouble and refrain from putting those on the internet.

Conclusion: cold milk + cotton balls + coconut oil = gross but effective (but it was probably the ibuprofen kicking in)

As the afternoon wore on, Beard returned from getting a haircut looking quite dapper. Immediately upon entering the living room, he crinkled his nose at the smell of my experiments. I on the other hand wallowed on the couch shirtless looking like a half cooked lobster on a bender, surrounded by bowls of milk and vinegar and coconut grease. He must’ve felt mighty sorry for me as he made no noise about the fact that Dawson’s creek was playing on an endless loop in the background.


After the aforementioned brewed tea cooled, I tried dabbing it on with cotton balls. Seeing as how it’s a thin liquid, the tea kinda went everywhere so if you try this at home, you should probably do so sitting on a towel you don’t care about. I opted for the dark patterned section of my living room rug. The tea felt almost as good as the milk, but probably just because it was cold. I swiped on a layer, let it dry, and repeated that process for like half an hour. Then I slathered on more coconut oil. I think you sense the pattern here. The good feelings only lasted as I was actively dabbing the cold tea, so there’s that. In any event, it at least didn’t sting and itch like vinegar.

Conclusion: cold tea + cotton balls + coconut oil = better than nothing

The internet led me to believe that after doing all of these things, the redness of my sunburn would fade to a sexy golden brown tan overnight. The next morning I awoke feeling like a kid on Christmas and sprinted to the bathroom mirror to discover that…not much changed. I was maybe a little less neon red, but still just as red as the crabs I’d be eating later on that afternoon.

Maryland Crab FeastMy excitement about crabs totally consumed my brain and I realized the next day that I’d forgotten to take an after picture (but really, I looked basically the same as the day before), so what you see below is 2 days of healing sunburn.

2 day sunburn

I’ve continued smearing coconut oil on the burns a few times a day, and healing has progressed pretty normally. If nothing else, 5 days later, the coconut oil has prevented me from peeling, which I count as a win [the day after I wrote this, I started peeling, #ofcourse]. On a semi-related note, I often hear coconut oil touted as a miracle eczema treatment, so I was interested to see if regular application would have any bearing on some existing itchy spots I had going on (it didn’t). I do like the smell and texture of coconut oil vs. my normal bland thick cream moisturizer, so I may stick it out with the coconut for awhile and see what happens.

This experiment was slightly disappointing because I expected better results, but I really should’ve known better in the first place to just put some damn sunblock on, pride be damned. On the upside, while searching sunburn remedies, I stumbled upon something called Melanotan, and specifically this hilarious[ly frightening] article. The world is a creepy, scary place.

In case this needs a disclaimer, for the love of crap, don’t go injecting yourself with mystery substances that promise tans, boners and weight loss all in one jab. Just stick to the coconut oil.

And wear your sunscreen.


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  • Dana

    04.08.2014 at 16:18 Reply

    I can just picture The Beard walking in on one mother of a human science experiment. Hilarious (the picture in my mind…obvs not your miserable skins).

    • Elizabeth

      04.08.2014 at 17:53 Reply

      It was pretty priceless! He had that “what in the actual F is going on right now” look on his face. I’m loling thinking about it.

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