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Cool summers: natural treatments for sunburned skin.

I was recently discussing this new column with a few family members over dinner. We began discussing my topic for the upcoming issue, and I told everyone that I would be covering natural treatments for sunburn. My grandmother laughed and said, "The best holistic treatment for a sunburn? That's easy--stay out of the sun!"

She's right. Staying out of the sun, particularly between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., is the best way to avoid painful sunburn. But, sometimes it just isn't possible to say no to a day at the beach, especially in the middle of a hot summer. After a day by the water, despite the best intentions to only develop a beautiful glow, some people look more like a ripe tomato than a golden goddess. Sunburn, which results when the, exposure to the sun exceeds the ability of melanin (protective pigment) to protect the skin, can be extremely painful and can lead to serious problems in the future. Premature aging of the skin, cataracts, and deadly skin cancer can all result from unprotected exposure to the skin.

Fortunately, there are some simple ways to relieve the itching red skin and overheated feeling that go along with sunburn. Placing chilled, used black tea bags or a tea-soaked towel over sunburned areas will draw heat out of the skin and provide relief. Smoothing plain yogurt on a sunburned face and shoulders and rinsing with cool water will also help. Drinking raspberry or peppermint teas will help to cool you from the inside. The following sunburn treatments should also provide relief. Go to your local nursery and buy an aloe plant now, so that you will have the thick gel to use when the weather really heats up. And remember--everyone gets the sun bug occasionally, best holistic for sunburn is staying of the sun!


On this month's trip to the food market, you will need to buy the following items:

* 1 large bottle of Witch Hazel: made from the leaves, twigs and bark of the Witch hazel tree; has astringent properties that help reduce inflammation

* Chamomile essential oil: is an oil regarded by many as a "cure-all"; has anti-inflammatory properties that heal many skin problems

* Peppermint essential oil: has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and stimulant properties; is awakening and cooling when applied to the skin

* 1 small bottle of Apple Cider vinegar: produced by the fermentation of apples; contains water, natural acid and minerals that help rid hair of build-up

* 1 liter of Distilled Water: water that has been heated to remove impurities including bacteria, parasites, and chemicals

FACE: Cooling Chamomile--Mint Spray

Keep this in a spray bottle in the fridge. If you want to keep this on hand during the day, soak a few 100% cotton pads in the mixture and keep them in a sealed plastic bag.

1. Mix together 1 cup Distilled Water and 1/3 cup Witch Hazel

2. Add 10 drops of Chamomile essential oil and 4 drops of Peppermint essential oil to 1 tsp. Witch Hazel. Mix thoroughly.

LIPS: Peppermint Up Gloss

This recipe uses the beeswax and olive oil called for in the last column (February-March 2003 issue). Remember that olive oil absorbs 20% of the sun's rays. The aloe in this gloss provides shine but also soothes burned lips.

1. Heat 2 tbsp. chopped beeswax in a double boiler until melted. Remove from heat. Slowly pour 1/3 cup olive oil into melted beeswax and stir until mixed.

2. Mix 2 tsp. Aloe Vera gel with 4 drops of Peppermint essential oil. Add to oil mixture and stir continuously to mix.

3. Pour cooled mixture into a clean container with a lid. Tightly seal.

HAIR: Clarifying Hair Rinse

Salty ocean water and heavily chlorinated pool water can wreak havoc on your hair. Using this rinse after shampooing will help to eliminate chemical buildup.

1. Mix 1 cup Distilled Water with 1/3 cup Apple Cider vinegar.

2. Add 4 drops Peppermint essential oil to 2 tbsp. Witch Hazel and stir to mix. Add to Distilled Water and Apple Cider vinegar.

3. Pour rinse over newly shampooed hair. Massage into hair and scalp, then rinse clean with tepid water.

Get to Know Aloe: 10 Interesting Facts about Aloe Vera Gel

1. The Aloe Vera plant is a member of the lily family, and its thick gel contains 20 minerals, 18 amino acids and 12 vitamins.

2. Throughout history, Aloe Vera gel has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including boils, itchy skin, ulcers and bruises.

3. The gel of older (therefore, larger) Aloe Vera plants is more effective than that of "baby" plants.

4. Aloe Vera plants have large, yellow flowers. The spiky leaves can grow up to 20 inches on a fully mature plant.

5. To use the thick gel from an Aloe Vera leaf, slice it open with a sharp knife. Then, either apply the gel directly to burned skin or, using a small spoon, scrape the gel into a small container and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

6. When selecting an Aloe Vera leaf to use, choose one closest to the soil. This leaf will probably be a larger one and will be deeper in color.

7. Aloe Vera plants should not be kept in direct sunlight. This plant grows best when kept near a window that gets indirect light.

8. It is important not to overwater your Aloe Vera plant. Make sure it dries out between each watering.

9. The roots of Aloe Vera plants can rot, if left in standing water. When choosing a pot for your plant, make sure you pick one with a large draining hole.

10. Because it can be astringent, make sure to moisturize the skin after using Aloe Vera gel. Or, mix the gel with Vitamin E oil for a skin-soothing treat.

Emily Ray is a freelance writer in Atlanta, GA. She has been creating natural beauty products for 5 years, and is currently studying to become a registered practitioner of Aromatherapy. Have a beauty question you'd like answered in this new column? Feel free to contact Emily at askemily@newlifejournalcom.
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Title Annotation:Ask Emily
Author:Ray, Emily
Publication:New Life Journal
Date:Jun 1, 2003
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