For many of us, summertime means spending more time outdoors.
While there’s no doubt that spending time in the sunshine can have some nice psychological effects and boost our vitamin D production, there is also no denying the fact that too much time in the sun and heat can lead to some less than desirable things.
As someone who ventured outside over the weekend—and forgot to apply sunscreen to my exposed back and shoulders—I can say, with some degree of authority, that few things are as uncomfortable as a sunburn.
Furthermore, even if you happen to avoid a sunburn, there are other hazards unique to summer—such as uncomfortably dry skin, which results from the combination of summer heat and dry indoor air, thanks to air conditioning.
While a trip to the nearest drugstore shows there is no shortage of potions and lotions available for the above, I prefer to make my own. Not only is it cheaper, but it allows me to avoid ingredients which can irritate my skin or may lead to breakouts.
The three recipes below are all made from things that most of us either already have or are easy to get. Best of all, they are all quick and easy to make, and they will knock out our skin woes in a hurry.
Soothing Sunburn Relief Gel
(Note: Tannic acid, which is found in tea, is well-known for soothing the skin. Usually, the cheaper the tea, the more tannic acid there is to be found. I like to make this in advance and keep in the fridge. Those going to the beach or pool can also stash this in a ice cooler.)
1 cup of commercially prepared aloe vera gel
1/4 cup of strong black tea (2 tea bags to a quart of water)
1/4 teaspoon of vitamin E oil (optional)
1. Prepare tea and allow to cool. (For best results, place in fridge.)
2. In a small mixing bowl, combine 1/4 cup of tea to 1 cup aloe vera gel. (Ideally, the mixture should be easy to pour but not too runny.)
3. Add the vitamin E, if using, and mix well.
4. Place in a bottle, or other appropriate container, and store in fridge. For best results, use within a week and discard any used after a week.
Keep it Fresh Foot Powder
1/2 cup of baking soda
1/4 cup of bentonite clay powder (found in most health food stores)
10 drops of peppermint essential oil (optional)
1. Mix the powders in a bowl.
2. Add essential oil, if using.
3. Store in a container. (A re-used margarine tub is perfect.)
4. To apply, use a powder puff or big powder brush and apply generously to feet, including in between the toes.
5. Alternately, 1-2 Tbsp. can also be placed into shoes, and allowed to sit overnight, to get rid of any unpleasant odors. Be sure to shake it all out before wearing.
Ultralight Body Oil
(Note: Most body oils can feel too heavy in the summer heat and humidity. Grapeseed oil is an exception and is great even for oily skin. Add the jojoba oil for very dry skin. Avoid using on sunburned skin since any oil can trap in the heat.)
1/2 cup of grapeseed oil
1/4 cup jojoba oil (optional)
10-15 drops of grapefruit essential oil
1. Mix oil, or oils, along with essential oil in a bowl.
2. Carefully place in bottle or container of choice.
3. Best used right after showering or bathing, to trap in moisture.
4. This may also be used as a nail and cuticle oil.