Our second summer of COVID has been one of hope, and a return to fear. One thing that remains the same is the outdoors are a safer place to be. And in the sunlight, we get to remind ourselves that we are alive and can still feel joy in these trying times.
Outdoor recreation is a means of maintaining our sanity. Whether it’s splashing in a river or bike riding your neighborhood streets, socially distanced sunshine fun is a healthy way to pass this quarantine and get your daily vitamin d.
But if you’re like me and are terribly bad at putting on sunscreen (don’t be like me, wear your sunscreen) and come in from your outdoor escapades looking like a perfectly ripe garden grown tomato, you know your skin is not happy with you.
Sunburns occur with too much ultraviolet exposure. The less melanin your skin has the more sensitive you are to the sun’s rays. The amount of melanin your skin is able to produce is based on your genetic makeup, imprinted onto you from your ancestors and the amount of sun exposure they experienced in their environments. That end of summer tan you may have sweated for, is the work of melanin production in your skin. The more sun, the more melanin produced, the darker your skin color.
No matter how much melanin you produce, if you are in the sun too long for your skin type you will burn. The result of a sunburn is redness from blood flow to the damaged area, inflammation and pain all thanks to our immune system reacting to our poor life decisions. Eventually your skin will slough off, as a result of the damaged skin cells recent demise.
When these sunburns do occur, you can use topical applications of many a thing to cool off your skin and limit the damage done. Aloe vera and its slimy polysaccharides are the most popular post sun slather. Healing herbal infused oils of the vulnerary kind, such as plantain, calendula and chickweed can soothe the skin and increase tissue proliferation. And a variety of essential oils can aid in the cooling and healing process.
Our director Jade, has put together a cooling gel with some of these ingredients. This gel may be just what you need to reduce the damage done after too much time in the sun, hopefully while enjoying yourself and all the good things life still has to offer.
Summer Cooling Gel
For: Sunburn / Heat rash / Hives / Inflamed Skin
- 1/2 cup aloe vera gel
- 1 tbsp German chamomile hydrosol
- 1 tbsp Witch hazel hydrosol
- 1.5 tbsp plantain/chickweed herbal oil (*can use calendula or just plantain herbal oil too)
- 5 drops German chamomile essential oil
- 7-10 drops Lavender essential oil
Steps to make:
- In a glass measuring cup or bowl combine aloe vera gel, hydrosols and herbal oil together. Use a stainless steel whisk to mix ingredients.
- Add essential oils and whisk until well combined.
- Apply to areas of sunburn, inflamed skin or on hives. Cooling, anti-inflammatory, relieves stress from itchiness or pain too!
- Be sure to label, store in a glass jar and keep in the refrigerator!