Your Monthly Check-Up: Soothing the Sting of Summer

By the time summer rolls around, most of us are so sick of winter that we want to burn our wardrobes and the thought of snow puts us over the edge. But the warmer months don’t come without their share of drawbacks. Mosquito and other bug bites as well as sunburn can put a damper on any outdoor activity. Here are some tips, courtesy of “EXPERIENCE L!FE” magazine, to help avoid bug bites and sunburn or sooth them if you’ve been outsmarted.

The best way to ward off mosquito bites is to remove any standing water from your surroundings, burn citronella candles and avoid wearing perfume. If you’re unlucky enough to get a bite or two (or a hundred), try witch hazel, a natural astringent, to reduce swelling and sooth the angry bites.

Calendula cream, which is made from marigolds, can also help bring relief in the event of a mosquito bite or bee sting. The essential oils in calendula are anti-inflammatory as well as antimicrobial – and it’s helpful for sunburn, too! If you’re allergic to ragweed, be sure to test a patch of skin first so you don’t get an allergic reaction. The last thing you want when treating your bug bites is to make them worse!

Let’s talk sunburn. Everyone knows that excessive sun exposure is dangerous, but trying to block out rays using sunscreens full of chemicals is bad for you, too. Plus, the sun is how we get our vitamin D, so we don’t want to completely block it out. Try mineral-based formulas with UVA/UVB protection and steer clear of sunscreens containing retinyl palmitate (vitamin A), retinol, octinoxate and oxybenzone.

Stayed out there a little too long? Lavender and tea tree oil are both antiseptics and can help you with your agony. Besides having a very calming aroma, lavender can help cool the pain of mild burns and prevent scarring. Tea tree oil also helps relieve burns and prevent infection. Too much of either, however, can dry out the skin, so use sparingly.

Aloe vera is also a good sunburn remedy as it sooths and cools the skin and calms the irritation of the sunburn. As the pain subsides, the polysaccharides help the body create more antibodies to speed up the healing process. The best source of aloe vera is straight from the plant. Keep one handy and clip from the oldest, bottom-most leaves. For store-bought varieties, look for ones with aloe vera high on the ingredients list and without the neon green dyes.

Get more great natural remedies here and important sun information here!