Cooling Sunburn with Aromatherapy

Jun 17, 04:18 PM

Most of us spend increased time outdoors in the summer, and despite the fact that we know better, often go without benefit of a sunblock. We always regret the resulting sunburn, spend a few days putting up with the pain, then a few weeks putting up with the peeling. If you have just a few essential oils on hand, there's no reason to put up with either!

Immediately after excessive sun exposure, apply 2 drops of lavender essential oil (Lavandula augustifolia) diluted in a tablespoon of aloe vera gel (I prefer to use gel directly from a fresh aloe leaf, but any drugstore brand can substituted, provided it is clear in colour and minus additives such as menthol). Reapply frequently, and you'll experience lavender's well-known ability to cool a burn and eliminate redness. If the burn is severe and there is risk of blistering, use 2 drops of lavender and 1 drop of German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) or helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum var. serotinum) in 1 tablespoon aloe vera gel. Reapply several times per day until skin has healed.

You may also use lavender or helichrysum hydrolat spritzed directly on sunburned areas, although you'll need to apply more frequently than an essential oil/aloe mixture. Hydrolats are extremely cooling and especially well tolerated by babies and toddlers.

Don't be fooled by claims of "all natural" kitchen cosmetic sunscreens. Although you can concoct a homemade blend of St. John's wort, calendula, coffee bean and other herbal infusions, a botanical suncreen will only provide protection of approximately 6-8 SPF. Go for hardcore sun protection of SPF 35+ using a sunblock containing micronized zinc oxide, which will absorb easily without the "white look". I like Skinceuticals brand, which is great for ultra-sensitive skin.



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