29 June 2018

DIY After Sun Salve Recipe

Use this DIY after sun salve recipe if you've been in the sun all day.  Even if you don't burn, your skin still need moisture to recover.  

After the long winter, few things feel as good as sitting outside in the sunshine.  While I wouldn't say that I have SAD, I definitely feel better when I can get in the sun.

As much as I love the sun, I know that I have to be careful because I do tend to burn easily.  When I was a kid, I would get a deep tan and never burned.  As the years went on, I started getting burned and not tanning.

My grandmother had skin cancer when I was a teenager, so I use sunscreen on myself and my kids when we will be outside.  

Even if you don't get a burn, your skin still needs some love after being in the sun.  This after sun salve recipe helps soothe irritated skin and puts much needed moisture back in your skin.  


:Links in this post may be affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission from sales.

You need some sunlight so your body can make vitamin D.  Your bones need vitamin D, but too much sunlight can be detrimental to your skin.

In your skin's outer surface, the epidermal layer, there are cells with melanin.  This melanin protects your skin from UV rays from the sun, which is why we get tan after sun exposure.  When these cells work their way to the surface and fall off, your tan fades.

Over time, too much exposure to UV light can cause your skin to age prematurely.  When you get a sun burn, it can reduce the elasticity in your skin.  This can cause fine lines and wrinkles.

If the sun's UV rays penetrate past the first layer of skin into deeper layers, they can damage or even kill those cells.

So always, always, always wear sunscreen if you'll be in the sun!

Even if you do lather on the sunscreen, you can still get burned.  Maybe you missed a spot.  Maybe you didn't reapply.  Maybe you forgot.  It happens.  

Whether you get a tan, get burned, or stay pale, your skin still needs some TLC after being in the sun.  The sun zaps the moisture out of your skin, so you need to replace it with something like this DIY after sun salve recipe.

If you went swimming or wore sunscreen, take a cool shower and use a gentle cleanser to clean your skin before you use this salve.


I used sweet almond oil for my after sun salve recipe.  It's my favorite all purpose carrier oil because it's lightweight.  It's high in oleic acid and linoleic acid to replenish moisture in your skin.  It's a good oil for itchy or inflamed skin.  Don't use sweet almond oil if you're allergic to nuts.

Rosehip oil is also a good choice.  It's high in linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid to moisturize your skin.  It's a more expensive oil and a high viscosity oil, so you may want to combine it with another carrier oil to make this recipe.

Jojoba oil is another great option to make this after sun salve recipe.  It's actually a wax and not an oil, but it's a great product to use in this recipe.  It's also thick, so I normally combine it with another oil.  It can help calm itchy and inflamed skin.

Coconut oil is a great moisturizer.  It almost seals the pores, so it helps trap moisture in your skin.  Since it's a solid at room temperature, it also helps give this recipe some bulk.

Learn more about different carrier oils and their benefits in my book Carrier Oils.


I infused my oil with both calendula and lavender.  Calendula is a wonderful herb for dry skin.  When you infuse the oil with it, it helps moisturize dry skin.  It can also helps soothe your skin.  It's also anti-inflammatory so it can help if you have slight swelling from a sunburn

Lavender is a mild herb.  When infused in an oil, lavender lends its antispasmodic properties, so it can help relieve pain while it calms your skin.


Infusing oils is easy, but you will need to plan ahead to make the infused oil.  Simply place a few tablespoons of each herb in a mason jar and cover with the oil.  Let it sit for two weeks, shaking the jar each day.

I thought I had a photo of the calendula and lavender, but I didn't.  Pretend this is calendula and lavender, k?

After two weeks, strain out the herbs with cheesecloth and discard them.  You will not have a carrier oil with the properties of the herb.

You can also use heat to infuse the oils.  You can learn more about that in a separate post on how to infuse oils and herbs.


Aloe vera gel is probably the most popular after sun home remedy. It helps repair damaged skin if you did get a burn.  It also adds moisture, which is important after you've been in the sun.  Aloe vera gel has glycoproteins, which can work to reduce swelling and relive inflammation and pain.   It's polysaccharides help repair damaged skin cells and help boost cellular turnover rates.  As if that's not enough, it also contains lidocaine, a pain relieving ingredient.  Aloe forms a layer over your skin, which traps moisture for more hydration.  


Shea butter is solid at room temperature, so it gives the recipe some bulk.  It helps moisturize your skin as well as gives you relief for dry and peeling skin.  It helps restore some elasticity to your skin and reduced irritation.  It can help reduce inflammation if you did get too much sun.


Beeswax helps make the after sun salve recipe harder so it's a salve and not a cream, but it also has some skin benefits.  It's naturally anti-inflammatory.  It also forms a seal on top of your skin to trap in moisture.  


I chose peppermint essential oil because it's cooling, and that feels good after being in the sun.  You can use other oils.  You can also use lavender essential oil or chamomile essential oil.  



Combine the herb infused oil, coconut oil, beeswax, and shea butter in a double boiler.  Heat over medium low heat until melted.  Stir occasionally to get the shea butter to melt.


Carefully remove from heat.  Let cool slightly until no longer steaming but not so long that it sets up.


Add the aloe vera gel and peppermint essential oil.  Stir well.


Pour into a 4 ounce mason jar.  Let sit until completely cooled.

Use this all over your body after sun exposure.  Do not use on your face because it might be too irritating with the peppermint oil.  The oils might also be too heavy for your face and cause breakouts.

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This DIY after sun salve recipe helps restore moisture loss from spending time in the sun.

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Cari Dunn
Cari Dunn

Cari lives on a small farm in Ohio with her husband, three kids, two dogs, two cats, five goats, several chickens, and homing pigeons. She loves Gilmore Girls, coffee, and her kids. Not in that order.