Deep down, perhaps it's everyone's secret dream to enjoy positively glowing skin, but sometimes an innocent little UV-saturated nap can make all the difference between being a golden girl or an all-out barbequed babe. But that's what lotion is for, right? Instead of reaching for the drug store stuff, all the ingredients you need for cool, soothing and absolutely natural relief can be found in your pantry or refrigerator. It's time to chop, mix and soak your way to a slightly less pain-free tomorrow!
FRESH PRODUCE COMPRESS
You know how cucumber rounds applied to the eyelids can help reduce swelling while making the area feel a few degrees cooler? The same can be said of thinly sliced, inflammation-reducing, phenolic phytochemical-packed apples and potatoes that are placed directly on sunburned areas – just be sure to donate your preferred edible skin treatment to household pets, wildlife or your compost pile once you're done.
ALOE VERA GEL
Thriving in arid global regions, the succulent spiky aloe vera plant yields an incredibly restorative green gel that has long been used to treat skin wounds, among countless other health conditions. When rubbed into sunburned skin, its antifungal and antibacterial properties (the latter of which is attributed to the immune boosting compound called aloectin B) work in tandem with a naturally oxygenating effect to help restore the skin to its former glory.
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
It turns out that this lip-smacking amber-toned concoction comes in handy for a substantial laundry list of health and personal care applications, including being used as a kidney detox, natural tooth brightener (just rinse thoroughly after applying) and post sunburn pain zapper. All you have to do to take the sting out of your skin is slip into a warm bath that you've added one cup of apple cider vinegar to and soak your cares away... for at least 10 minutes for the best effect. An equally beneficial alternative is applying apple cider vinegar 'straight up' with cotton pads, gauze or even a clean towel – oh what a relief that instant cooling sensation will be!
RECYCLED BLACK TEA BAG RELIEF
Used tea bags aren't just for fabric dying, flower bed fertilizing and composting anymore. Once you enjoy your heart-boosting, antioxidant-packed cuppa, do your poor glowing epidermis a favor by plunking any water-logged bags that remain in your mug directly into your bath water. Weird, huh? Well, considering the fact that the tannins in black tea are notorious for lessening the appearance of puffy skin and under eye bags, then it really makes perfect sense that they'll come to the rescue for the rest of your epidermis, too.
HOMEMADE SUNBURN LOTION
It may seem slightly more convenient to purchase a pre-made option at your favorite store, but if you like knowing exactly what you're putting on your skin – and don't want to worry about synthetic chemicals or nanoparticles – DIY sunburn treatments are definitely the way to go. Here are a few to test drive, bearing in mind that there are plenty more where they came from:
Basic Sunburn Lotion #1: Mix ¼ cup baking soda with 1 tablespoon witch hazel, 2 tablespoons water and a few drops of pure peppermint in a container with a resealable lid. Shake until all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated and upon applying it to your skin, the DIY lotion will dry, leaving a light chalky film behind. Sure, it'll look a little funky, but leave it on for as long as you can stand it for the most therapeutic effect.
Basic Sunburn Lotion #2: Blend one pureed cucumber into ¼ cup of rosewater and ¼ cup of glycerin. Apply liberally to affected areas while solemnly swearing to yourself that from now on, you will never again forget to lay your sunscreen on extra thick!
This cheerfully glowing botanical with sunray-like petals almost seems to be jumping for joy because – while it may resemble the very same glowing orb that made mincemeat of your epidermal layer – it contains phenomenal medicinal properties (antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory) that specifically target raw tissue that has sustained first degree burns! While homeopathic tinctures and salves are readily available at natural markets, a soothing tea can be made using ¾ of a cup of dried flower petals steeped in 2 cups of boiled water for at least 15 minutes – pour it in your bathwater and let the healing begin!
This sticky-sweet bee treat – which our friendly pollinators actually feed on in order to keep on keepin' on – contains large quantities of naturally therapeutic bacteria as well as immune boosting compounds that help both the inside and outside of our bodies. For centuries, honey has been favored as a soothing topical ointment and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration now classifies it as a medicine that can be used quite successfully to dress wounds. In the case of sunburns, the humectants in honey revive skin cells, enabling them to regenerate noticeably faster than the healing time typically associated with conventionally manufactured preparations, so lay it on thick – literally!
It seems like such a shame to use that highly coveted container of plain full-fat Greek-style yogurt tucked inside your refrigerator as a sunburn salve since the stuff tastes so darn good (and it's certainly pricier than conventional versions), but this is one sacrifice that is well worth making. In addition to offering an instantly cooling sensation to the epidermis, the active bacterial cultures in yogurt – when allowed to remain on the skin for several minutes – will correct your epidermal pH balance while jumpstarting the healing process. Some even sing the praises of applying a yogurt-aloe or yogurt-fresh strawberry mixture, too!
Many of us make a habit of popping this well-known fat-soluble dietary supplement on a daily basis because it renders the compounds that are normally responsible for cell and tissue damage (otherwise known as free radicals) pretty much inert while also potentially slowing the signs of aging. Its skin-beautifying effects are also regularly celebrated since – in the presence of Vitamin E – cells make a habit of ramping up collagen production, the golden ticket that makes the epidermis appear resilient, elastic and youthful looking. When applied topically following a sunburn (and preferably left on overnight to work its magic), the thick and sticky substance offers deep moisturization benefits along with a noticeable healing boost. Sounds like a sticky solution well worth test driving at least once!
image: Daquella Manera
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