Skin Survival During the Lazy, Hazy Days of Summer

Heat and humidity got your skin unhappy? Here’s some herbalist approved solutions to common summertime skin woes.

Sunburn. Don’t get one! If you do (like I did) check out my recent post about cooling and healing from your burn - and preventing the next one.

Rashes and itching. Especially if you’re somewhere humid, rashes can be a very unpleasant hot weather symptom. If the rash is spreading, weeping, smelly or doesn’t respond to home remedies and keeping it cool and dry, be sure to get it checked out by your health care provider to rule out infection or parasites. For itching, I recommend a cool bath with oatmeal or baking soda and you can add strong cooled herbal tea, such chrysanthemum, mint or dandelion blossoms, to the bath. If you suffer from hayfever, stick with the mint as dandelion and chrysanthemum are in the compositae family and can be cross-reactive, provoking allergic reactions. You can also try using cooled black tea in the bath.

For treatment of mild rashes or irritation, I use Basic Balm, which has healing calendula oil and a medicated action from essential oils of lavender and eucalyptus. A lot of essential oils have an antifungal action, tea tree oil being the most well-known. No matter what you read on the internet, do not apply essential oils neat (undiluted) to the skin. Always dilute them, and more dilute is best - it is possible to become sensitized to oils with repeated exposure and you do not want that! Especially if your skin is already hot and irritated, using the whole herb in a tea form will be less likely to irritate your skin than superpowered essential oils.

Chub rub. You don’t have to be chubby to get chub rub - chafing and redness provoked by skin on skin contact in hot weather, usually on the inner thighs, but also the upper arms or along the bra or belt line. Chub rub is uncomfortable and can seriously cramp your sundress style! Physical barriers and well fitting clothes are a good step (Bandelettes are a snazzy looking option). Cornstarch or arrowroot based dusting powders are also a solution for keeping things dry and reducing friction. Make your own  or get one from a friendly local herbalist (here’s a gorgeous example from Etsy) 

Breakouts, Oily Skin, Redness. Your face takes the brunt of weather extremes of all kinds. When you feel greasy, grimey, hot and covered with smog at the end of a long summer day, it can be tempting to scrub your face clean - don’t! You'll just increase the irritation and encourage your skin to produce more oil in response. Try using my 3 in 1 Serum’s Cleansing Method to gently lift off grease and dirt while reducing inflammation and soothing your skin.  And Serenity Face Mask and Scrub will give you an extra clean feeling face, gently reducing oil and breakouts. Here’s a tutorial I did on giving yourself a clarifying face mask., including a DIY option you can easily get at the healthfood store. 

If you’re someone who’s skin suffers during the heat, it can be hard not to feel frustrated and unhappy during the summer - but relaxing and going with the flow really will help you cope better with each season as it comes - by staying in harmony, you help your body adapt to the climate around it… and maybe even enjoy yourself!

Angelica & Peony: Radiant Natural Health, Beauty and Skin Care, created by an acupuncturist and herbalist. 

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