As a fair-skinned, red-headed kid growing up in Los Angeles and Baja, sunburn was a regular part of my childhood. Chemical sprays were not effective and mainstream America was ignorant of aloe's properties. Once back in L.A., after a week in San Felipe, I had bright red burning skin and a sun blister on my eye which made it hard to close. A family friend suggested I smear pickle juice on my skin and hold a pickle on the blister. Desperate, I did it. Immediately, my skin stopped stinging and the blister went down. I stank but I was no longer hurting.
I later found out that vinegar is a home remedy for sunburn. People soak paper bags in vinegar and apply them onto burned skin to soothe. There are many folk remedies for sunburn that work quite well. Cold yogurt is silky on tender skin and is nutritious too. Cold fizzy mineral water helps relieve the pain. A cool bath with a handful of baking soda in it can help stop the stinging. The insides of cool cucumber skins rubbed on the skin feels good too. For severe burns, make a paste of slippery elm bark or baking soda, mixed with water, and spread onto burned area. And there is also aloe vera. Slit the leaf open and use gel.
To prevent peeling once sunburned, one folk remedy is to mix equal amounts of tomatoes and buttermilk. Mash and cover burn. Another peeling preventer is to mix 1/4 cup witch hazel extract, 3/4 cup rosewater, and 1 t. vegetable glycerin. Put this in a spray bottle and spray skin all over to moisturize and restore oils. This is good for dry skin whether burned or not. Just spray during the day, and dry skin goes away!