Natural remedies for summer skin troubles

Summer is in full swing with blooming flowers, warm breezes and plenty of sunshine. Now is the time many families go on vacation and often turn to nature as the perfect playground.

While spending time in nature offers a myriad of health benefits, it can also bring with it unwanted skin blunders that can have you rushing to the nearest drug store. Many over-the-counter treatments for common summer skin troubles are laced with chemicals and preservatives.

Since the skin in the body’s largest organ, anything you rub into your skin goes directly into your blood stream and can potentially have an effect on your entire body. This summer, try lightening up your chemical load with these easy home remedies for summer’s worst skin woes.

Aloe vera gel is a soothing and cooling natural remedy that will instantly cool hot, burned skin. All you need is a fresh aloe vera leaf, slit the leaf open and gently apply the juice to your burned skin. If your sunburn sticks around for a few days, try coconut oil.

Coconut oil is a superfood that has made it into the kitchen cabinets of many American families. Luckily, it also serves a purpose on sunburned skin thanks to its hydrating lipids. Lauric acid, a component of coconut oil, seems to be beneficial in promoting healing and is commonly used to prevent itching, swelling and skin irritation. Since coconut oil can create a protective barrier, it may also trap heat in, so wait at least one day before applying it. It will reduce the burning sensation and swelling, and can be applied several times a day. You can mix it with a few drops of pure lavender essential oil or aloe vera for more pain relief.

Bug Bites
When you get bit by a mosquito, it can cause inflammation, redness, swelling, tenderness and even heat — which can create an unbearable itch. Fresh basil leaves can be used to make a paste that will instantly ease the itch. Basil is a natural source of camphor and thymol, two compounds that relieve both itching and irritation. Simply crush them into a paste and apply it directly to itchy bites. Choose organic basil to avoid pesticides getting into any broken skin. Two essential oils that work wonders are tea tree oil, since it is a powerful antibacterial, and peppermint oil to help relieve the itching. Combine a few drops of each with a tablespoon of coconut oil and apply directly to the bug bites.

Poison Ivy
Swelling and blisters usually accompany the intense itching and pain of poison ivy and irritation and can last for days.  Baking soda, which is found in most kitchens, is a wonderful remedy to help with the itchiness. Add about half a cup of baking soda to a bath tub filled with warm water or mix a small amount with water to form a paste and apply to the affected area. To help pull out the toxins, mix up some apple cider vinegar with water, soak a thin towel in the mixture, and apply it to the affected area as needed. Some believe that the vinegar has a toxin-pulling action that will pull the poison out of the skin and help the skin heal faster.

Bee Stings
The first thing to do after a bee sting is extract the stinger, then clean the area with soap and water before you treat for pain. Crushed garlic has properties that can help reduce the pain of a bee sting. Crush one or two cloves to release the juice and press it against the sting. Let the garlic juice sit for about 30 minutes, then top it off with a little honey and gauze. Honey has beneficial antibacterial properties that help heal all sorts of wounds.