If Alexander Skarsgård had known this before heading out to Capri, we’re pretty sure the health and beauty headlines might have read a little differently yesterday. But hey, at least we’re here to let him know now—there’s a genius new sunburn cure going viral over on Instagram, and it’s so simple we kind of can’t wait to try it (not that we plan on getting burnt anytime soon‚ we’re SPF pros don’t you know?). Sparked by an unlikely source, the Australian rugby player Alexis Caught, Instagram is currently buzzing with the idea that steeping your skin in a bathtub full of Earl Grey tea could help to soothe the sting of sunburn—not to mention taking that redness down too (Skarsgård, FYI). Keep scrolling for the full story and how to soothe sunburn with earl grey tea.
It all kicked off when Caught, who has just as many rugby enthusiasts following his account as he does admirers with an ‘alternative’ preoccupation, ahem, shared a snap of his earl grey bath tradition on his Instagram story. Lacking in details, however, it wasn’t long before confused fans badgered him for an explanation of just what was in his murky looking bath.
Unsurprisingly, fragrant earl grey teabags was nobody’s first guess.
Revealing that the post-sunshine hack is actually an old-school ritual passed onto him by his Irish grandmother, Caught says: “It's a skin care tip that I got from my Irish nan. When you've been out in the sun, have a cool bath and pour in Earl Grey tea (leave the bags in the bath too). The tannins from the leaves and the bergamot sooth and restore your skin...plus it smells amazing. Trust me! I do it whenever I'm back in Aus and have got a little too much sun.”
But does the story add up? Was Caught’s granny really onto something? Yes and no, says Miami-based dermatologist S. Manjula Jegasothy. “While it has never been studied in a truly scientific manner, bathing in Earl Grey tea may soothe sunburned skin," she tells Allure. “Bergamot oil has been found to be a decent suppressor of nitric oxide, which is a common mediator of sunburn. So this type of bergamot oil found in Earl Grey tea may indeed soothe sunburn, although it has never been really studied in medical literature."
That may be where the skin healing power of the tea ends, however. On Caught’s claim that the tannins and bergamot oils found in the bags could also help to ‘restore skin’, Jegasothy is a little more doubtful, noting that there’s ‘no evidence’ to support the idea. If you do want to try it though, Jegasothy recommends using around 20 to 30 Earl Grey tea bags (yep, you’ll need a big box), and keeping the water temperature cool.