Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Summer tips

Finally the weather is getting nice!  It has been a cold, rainy spring.  The sun has been shining, birds singing...AHHHH!  But, along with all the good, the bugs are out and I am getting sun burnt.  Sigh.

Thought I'd pull out my stack of tricks and share how I deal with the not so fun parts of summer.

Bugs: Prevention and treating the bites. 
Prevention: I like to keep things natural.  If the bugs aren't crazy bad, I use All Terrain Kids Herbal Armor. It has Citronella, peppermint, Cedar, lemongrass, and geranium in it.  National Geographic recommends it.  BUT, if the bugs are all out crazy and I want to cry from the bites, I will switch to a brand name that has the "nasty" stuff in it.  My preferred heavy gun bug spray is Ultrathon by 3M. My reasoning on this is that the small use of chemicals off sets the pain or illness that comes from the bugs (ie Lyme's, West Nile...).
Treating:  I love lemon essential oils. I put a drop on a bug bite.  It takes out the sting and itch.  For bee stings, I use the old standbys.  Scrape with a credit card to get out the stinger.  Make a paste of baking soda and water and apply.

SUN: keeping the sunburn away and healing your skin
NOT burning:  Being an extremely fair skinned girl, I have fought the sun and burning my fair skin my whole life.  I have envied my cousins growing up with their nice brown tans.  I tried to tan (Ouch!) and just succeeded in a nice burns.  I have tried sunscreen and ended up burning anyways.  It all seemed like such a loss.  So here is what I do.  I am not recommending this for anyone or giving any advice.  It is just what works for us!  I stopped using sunscreen.  Well, sort of...after going through the phase of trying to tan, I went to a phase of not going anywhere outside with out a thick coat of the stuff.  My results were the same~skin burning.  So I stopped using sunscreen.  Well, mostly.  I made the call because, well, why waste the money on something that isn't working and I didn't like all those chemicals on my skin and going into my body.  So, here is my approach.  I only use sunscreen if I will be outside in direct sunlight for 2 or more hours without any shade.  If I use it, I only use a natural/chemical free sunscreen.  I am currently using Nature's Gate Aqua Block 50.  I always wear a hat outdoors.  I almost always put sunscreen on my cheeks and shoulders if bared.  I find shade.  I try to keep out of the sun.  I do enjoy things in the sun, but moderate my length of time in the sun.  I have found that I can tolerate the sun longer then I used too, and my sunburns are not as severe and tend to heal more quickly.
HEALING: I have found lavender works well. I use a few drops and apply to the sun burnt areas. I have used aloe vera, but I think lavender works better.  Cool wash clothes help to sooth the pain.