By Dr Lisa Thompson

As we come into the season of sunshine and outdoor adventure, it’s important to be aware of sun exposure and protecting the skin from the damaging effects of UV rays. In a previous blog post we discussed sunscreen and provided a link to the Environmental Working Group’s sunscreen guide.

Although we know that sunscreen plays a vital role in protecting the largest organ of the body – the skin! – from the free-radical damage caused by the sun’s rays, we may still unintentionally experience a sunburn from time to time.

Cold Lavender Compress

Luckily there are natural herbal remedies to relieve the pain of overheated skin, and the Cold Lavender Compress is a quick and easy treatment.

The herbal compress is a simple, time-honored treatment for different types of injuries such as a sprain or laceration, and common maladies such as headache and sunburn. It is easily made with hot or cold water, an appropriate herb in fresh, dried or tincture form, and a natural cloth such as a piece of flannel or cotton washcloth.



  • a piece of natural cloth
  • ¼ cup of dried lavender or ½ cup fresh lavender or 1 tsp of lavender tincture
  • a bowl of ice
  • 2 cups of water in a saucepan
  1. Bring the 2 cups of water to a boil and then remove from heat.
  2. If using fresh or dried lavender, add it to the hot water, cover with a lid and steep for 15 minutes. Pour the herbal solution through a strainer into a big mixing bowl. Discard the lavender. Add ice to the hot herbal solution until temperature becomes cold.
  3. If using lavender tincture, simply add 1 tsp to a bowl of 2 cups of ice water and mix well.
  4. Soak cloth in the cold lavender solution, wring out, and apply to sunburned skin. Leave on for 20 minutes. Remove for 10 minutes, then reapply cold compress. Repeat 3 times a day.