Natural Home Remedies for Summer Skin Problems
More time in the sun means more chance for burns, bites and stings-here we gather the four most common summer ailments and the home remedies to cure them.
In a bath full of cold water, add two cups of calendula tea, four to five green tea bags, 15 drops of lavender oil and three tablespoons of oatmeal tied up in muslin. If the burn is on your face, add the same ingredients in one third or one quarter the amount to a large bowl of cool water. Soak a cloth in the liquid, and apply the cloth for several minutes. Cool water soothes raw, hot areas and rehydrates the skin. The ingredients will soothe the itching and reduce the inflammation that contributes to it.
After a bath, apply undiluted lavender essential oil directly to the burned area. Dabbing on lavender oil after your bath provides a strong dose of this anti-inflammatory herb.
Apply the sap from an aloe vera leaf to the burned area. If you don’t have an aloe plant, use 100 per cent aloe vera cream or lotion without fixatives. Do not use aloe gel, which can be drying. Aloe has long been used to soothe burns and contains ingredients that help with healing, pain relief and counter inflammation.
You can buy salves, creams or ointments containing St. John’s Wort, calendula and comfrey-all soothing ingredients. To boost the effect, mix one drop of lavender and one drop of chamomile oil into a small amount, then apply and cover with a bandage.
Use 10 per cent solution witch hazel. Add five to 10 drops of lavender oil per ounce of witch hazel and apply. Cold witch hazel is even more soothing.
Apply to the skin for 15 or 20 minutes of cooling relief, then rinse with cool water and apply an ointment as described earlier.
2. Poison Ivy
Chamomile and lavender essential oils
Apply cool compresses that have been soaked in four ounces of water with five drops of chamomile oil and five drops of lavender oil. Chamomile oil and lavender oil both have anti-inflammatory properties to soothe the itching.
Aveeno and chamomile tea
For larger areas, soak in a cool bath in which you’ve sprinkled one or two packets of Aveeno. Also add two cups of concentrated chamomile tea (made by steeping loose chamomile tea in two cups of boiling water for 15 minutes). Strain and cool. The cool bath with oatmeal helps relieve itching and inflammation, thanks to gelatin-like carbohydrates in oatmeal that soothe the skin.
Take two to three freeze-dried nettle capsules immediately after exposure to poison ivy. Repeat with two capsules three to four times a day over the next 24 to 48 hours. Nettle leaves contain quercetin and act as natural antihistamines.
3. Bee Stings
Apply a paste of ice water and meat tenderizer to the sting area for 10 minutes. The meat tenderizer is actually papain, a plant enzyme that helps break down the venom. If you don’t have meat tenderizer but have a papaya, lay a slice over the area. A paste of baking soda and water works as well.
Bromelain, a plant-based enzyme like papain, is an excellent anti-inflammatory. Take 500 milligrams three times a day for the first 24 to 48 hours after a sting. Look for products that contain at least 3,000 MCU/500 milligrams.
Put one to two drops of echinacea tincture directly on the sting. Most people don’t realize it, but the tincture contains compounds that act as topical painkillers. Echinacea also has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, so it’s a great choice for bee stings.
To soothe the itchy skin, smooth on some aloe vera gel or calendula, chamomile, or plantain cream. For a stronger effect, mix 10 to 20 drops of a combination of lavender, tea tree, chamomile and/or eucalyptus essential oils into an ounce of ointment. These oils have antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Lavender oil or tea tree oil
You can add these to the gels mentioned above, or use them on their own. Apply liberally to the sting to reduce pain and itching.
4. Insect Bites
Wash bitten areas with chilled chamomile tea. The chilled liquid reduces inflammation, helped along by the anti-inflammatory benefits of chamomile.
If you don’t have an anti-itch lotion like Benadryl or hydrocortisone, you can smooth on aloe vera gel. Aloe won’t stop the immune response, but it does have anti-inflammatory properties.
Put one to two drops of either extract echinacea angustifolia or purpurea alcohol extract directly on the sting. These species of echinacea contain topical pain relievers.
Apply calendula, chamomile or plantain cream, all of which have anti-inflammatory properties. For a stronger result, mix 10 to 20 drops of a combination of lavender, chamomile or peppermint essential oils into one ounce of ointment.