School is out, summer is here, and it’s time to get outside! Spending more time outside is great for body, soul and spirit – fresh air and sunshine can lift the mood and boost the immune system. Using common sense can allow you to enjoy it even more – drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration and wear your sunscreen if you will be out for more than about 15 minutes. But spend too much time outside and you may have some challenges to deal with, such as sunburn, poison ivy, or insect bites. So I’ve listed my top 5 natural remedies to help you handle summer skin challenges.
1. Tea Tree Oil. This is the number one remedy to keep on hand all year, but it has specific benefits for summer maladies. Tea tree oil is great of insect bites. It can help ease the itch and reduce the histamine- caused skin irritation. Tea tree oil is also a potent antiseptic, so it can be diluted (in coconut or other oil) and applied to minor cuts and abrasions. As a bonus, tea tree oil can also fight toenail fungus and athlete’s foot!
2. Aloe Vera Gel. Spend too much time in the sun and you end up with the dreaded sunburn. It’s best to avoid it with appropriate use of sunscreen, but if you do end up with sunburn, apply aloe vera gel topically. Aloe vera is cooling and soothing. It penetrates and hydrates the skin, and can help relieve pain, acting as a mild anti-inflammatory agent. Aloe vera gel also works well for other minor burns.
3. Arnica Montana. Arnica, a daisy-like flower, has been traditionally used as an external herbal remedy for bruises. It is commonly found homeopathically for both internal and external use for strains, sprains and pains. Arnica can help ease bruising and swelling, and is also great for sore muscles that occur from overexertion.
4. Jewelweed Spray or Soap. I am terrified of poison ivy! I’ve had a couple of bad reactions in the past, so I do my best to avoid it. But there are times I know I have been exposed and kept it contained. With poison ivy it is critical to use a soap or wash that will get the urushiol oil off your skin. Jewelweed is a natural remedy for poison ivy rash. Soaps and sprays with Jewelweed help tame the itch and support healing of the skin.