Healing your skin after a sunburn

Since the summer solstice is tomorrow, it’s time to celebrate the sun – on the longest day of the year it seems only fitting. Many of us need to be careful not to get too crispy from lots of fun in the sun.

Some basic facts:

-Most of us know from experience that a sunburn is red skin that is hot and usually painful to the touch.

-Sunburns are caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation –aka sunlight.

-Sunburns can vary in severity. The top layers of the skin can be slightly pink or can suffer the damage of second & third degree burns.

-Tanning happens because exposure to some UV light triggers the skin cells to produce more melanin. Melanin is the dark color pigment in your epidermis that gives your skin its normal color. Production of more melanin darkens the skin and acts as a shield to the lower layers of skin. Genetics determines how much extra melanin can be produced which is why some of us are dark brown, others turn golden brown and others will only ever turn a crispy shade of red after time in the sun.


After a sunburn the most important thing is usually minimizing the uncomfortable symptoms. Here are a few natural remedies and suggestions:

-Take a cool bath – will help to cool the skin and lower the body’s temperature to give you a little relief. Avoid using wash cloths, bubble baths and perfumed body washes that will either irate or dry out your already sensitive skin.

-Moisturize – use unscented, all natural products as much as possible. Consider raw or unrefined products such as jojoba oil and coconut oil. Apply these gently to slightly damp skin and let them absorb.

-Stay hydrated – drink lots of water. Stay away from flavored waters or sports drinks. Stick with room temperature water.

Great guide for the amount of water to drink every day is take your body weight and divide it in half, that is how many ounces of water you should drink a day. Example, a 200lb person should drink 100 oz of water a day.

-Wear loose fitting cotton cloths – these should not rub or chafe and will allow for airflow.

Over the years, I have developed an After Sun Spray to combat the ouch and the heat of a sunburn. The chemistry of the ingredients has also shown to aid the body’s natural ability to heal itself.

Ready for the beach with hat & towel packed. The spray is ready just in case.

-Applying it using a spray avoids touching or rubbing your already sensitive skin

-Aloe vera & Peppermint are cooling

-Lavender & Peppermint are analgesics (help reduce the pain)

-German Chamomile reduces inflammation

-Helichrysum helps the skin heal

All of these work together to soothe the skin allowing you to rest and heal.

*Be very cautious if you have blistering due to the burn.

The above should not replace the advice or treatment suggestions of your trusted medical professional. Seek help if you feel faint, have a racing heart rate or rapid breathing, if you are severely dehydrated (really thirsty, drinking, but not urine), nausea, fever, severe blisters/burns covering a significant portion of the body and and/or you feel that it is important that your burn be seen by a medical professional.

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When ‘Just 1 More’ leads to ‘1 Too Many’

When ‘Just 1 More’ leads to ‘1 Too Many’

Talk of the upcoming release of The Hangover 3 as well as various friends’ plans for the Memorial Day Holiday weekend has led to questions about which oils will help combat the not so fun affects of too much to drink.


When tons of fun partying until all hours moves into the yuck of the morning after…


You know the feeling – Fuzzy headed if you are lucky and a full on jackhammer working on your scull if you are not so lucky, body aches, dry mouth, queasy stomach, nausea, etc.


What is the best way to battle a hangover???

To not get drunk! Too late for that? Yup, I have been there too. Here are some suggestions.


Water – Alcohol dehydrates the cells in the body, so add some water back. Drink small amounts often. No need to overwhelm your already sensitive stomach with a gallon of water in five minutes. A good idea to naturally flavor your water. Instead of using a powder or sports drink, try adding some lemon or lime – good flavor, stimulates the liver and is refreshing.


Simple Food – Stick to toast, crackers, soups and pasta. Start with snack size portions to make sure that your stomach is ready for it. Avoid those grease soaked fries and fast food burger. Drowning a hangover is grease will actually impair your liver function for longer and extend your hangover symptoms.


Essential Oil Blends – A little relief using therapeutic grade essential oils. Blends combining any of the oils below will help reduce the affects of your symptoms and aid your body’s natural ability to heal itself. These should be added to a lotion, cream or oil before applying to your body. Reapply often as you are recovering from your night. After applying to your skin, hold your hands in front of your nose and simply inhale. This will get you some quick relief while your body is absorbing the oils through your skin and spreading them through the blood steam.


Peppermint – Helps with pain from headaches and settle your stomach

Lavender – Soothing and relaxing for those body aches, but it’s also an analgesic for that pounding head ache

Ginger – Great for nausea and stimulates localized circulation (Cardamom is an alternative)

Black Pepper – Increases circulation to help flush toxins and eases aches & pains

Frankincense – Clears the head and cooling to help battle those sweats

Juniper – Powerful detoxifying affects

Roman Chamomile – Calming an upset stomach and aiding in sleep


Rest – Don’t forget this simple tool to help your body heal.


As I researched various hang over cures, milk thistle (herb) kept coming up… It is used to fortify and protect the liver from the affects of alcohol. I need to do more digging on that one. If it gets added to our herb supply, I promise it will get it’s own post down the road.


A little science about why your body feels so bad

As you drink alcohol, it hits the blood stream and causes the Pituitary Gland in the brain to stop producing vasopressin (also known as the antidiuretic hormone). Without this chemical, our kidneys do not absorb water (needed to hydrate our cells and flush out toxins), instead it sends it directly to the bladder. That is why you have to pee every two seconds when you start drinking.


This dehydration is one reason your head hurts the next day – your organs deal with their own water loss by pulling it from the brain, causing it to decrease in size and pull on the membranes connecting the brain to the skull = ouch.


All of that peeing that you did stripped your body of salt and potassium which are needed for your nerve and muscle function = headache, fatigue and nausea.


Alcohol can cause blood vessels to dilate – again where your headache comes into play.


Can’t forget our liver, alcohol affects the body’s store of glycogen turning it into glucose (sugar) and sending it around the entire body. This will impact your digestion and over all functioning of your immune system.