The worst kinds of accidents happen when least expected, including during recreational activities or while at home. Facial burns are always a painful surprise. Serious burns need the attention of professional medical personnel, but most accidental minor burns and sunburn are easily treatable at home. Besides using typical first aid products, treat minor burns and sunburn with herbal remedies to help soothe and heal facial skin.
Water Before Herbs
For any burn, the first thing to do is to stop the heat. Typically, cool water works well and according to Ask Dr. Sears, you should run cool water over a minor burn for at least 20 minutes. This might be a bit difficult to do with a minor burn to the face, depending on where the burn is located, but repeatedly pouring cool water over the burn for 20 minutes or taking a cool 20-minute shower will work the same. Refrain from using ice on burns as it can further damage already injured skin. Running cool water on sunburned skin might offer some relief but usually won't stop the burning since most people don't notice sunburn until some time after the fact.
Unless a facial burn is very small -- less than the size of a quarter -- call your health care provider immediately after a burn accident to the face, recommends Dr. Sears. When in doubt about a burn of any kind, don't hesitate in seeking hospital emergency care first.
Known as the "first aid plant," aloe vera is often used to soothe and heal burned skin. Aloe vera gel extracted from the plant can be applied directly to a minor face burn or applied to a larger area for sunburn, but avoid using the yellow sap discharged along the leaf side, according to herbalist Andrew Chevallier in his book "Herbal Remedies." You can also find skin products containing aloe vera, but look for pure aloe vera gel-based products for best results. Steer clear of aloe products containing animal fat, grease or powder as these can exasperate burns, recommends Dr. Sears. Check with your health care provider before using aloe vera since some people are allergic to the plant.
Calendula is also used for both minor burns and sunburn and can be applied in ointment, cream or lotion form to the face. It helps relieve and heal injured or inflamed skin, and a cooled infusion of the herb's bright marigold flower makes a soothing lotion or wash, according to Chevallier and the University of Maryland Medical Center. The cleansing, antiseptic and detoxifying properties of calendula also help stave off infection in burns, adds Chevallier.
St. John's Wort
Although St. John's wort might be recognized first for its medicinal benefits when taken for mental health conditions such as depression, the herb is also useful for healing wounds. St. John's wort oil can be applied directly to the face to help heal minor burns, according to Chevallier.
Common witch hazel water is produced using distilled liquid made from the tree bark and leaves of the witch hazel tree. Witch hazel water is a helpful facial skin tonic and cleanser, but witch hazel water or lotion aids in healing sore and inflamed skin such as that affected by minor burns, according to Chevallier.
Once your burn or sunburn starts to heal, you might find that soaked oats will help to ease healing burned skin. Oats also naturally nourish and revitalize facial skin. Make an oatmeal face mask to relieve inflamed skin or use oats to help slough away dead skin.