After a long hard winter we are finally starting to see some sun! As we slowly start to shed our winter layers we begin to expose our bare skin to many of natures treats AND threats. Whether you are an avid camper, leisurely beach goer, or weekend patio sitter the following natural skin savers can come in handy this summer.

Poison Ivy

Poison ivy is found in every province besides Newfoundland. Poison ivy leaves have an oily substance called urushiol that can make you very itchy, sometimes resulting in a rash. The general rule “leaves of three, let it be” is a great way to remember to keep a look out especially in sandy and stony areas, or rocky shores of streams, rivers, and lakes.

Treatments:

Homeopathics – taken as soon as possible choose from the following at a 30CH potency; if symptoms don’t improve in 24hrs try another remedy.

  • Arnica: treats a rash that has transparent vesicles; the skin feels hot.
  • Apis: can be used when the rash is red and filled with a great deal of fluid, or if there is swelling in the area of the rash.
  • Kali sulphuricum: used on poison ivy rash that is yellow or full of pus, especially if the pus is yellow.
  • Rhus toxicodendron: Rhus tox is the remedy made from poison ivy. It can be used homeopathically when the eyes are swollen shut and rash is better from warm water application.

Sunburn

It can happen to the best of us, even after diligent sunscreen use! Make sure you are using a broad-spectrum waterproof sunscreen and reapplying regularly as well as monitoring time in the sun.

Treatments:

  • Rehydration: sunburns cause dehydration so replenishing fluids is a must. Fill up on your favorite electrolyte solution, coconut water, or plain water as soon as possible.
  • Cool Down : move to a cool, darker place, and/or take a cool shower to help bring down your body temperature and give some pain relief.
  • Calendula cream or aloe vera (pure) will also help relive pain and sooth the irritated skin.
  • Arnica: Give Arnica first for the shock of the burn or scald in 30CH (2 doses 15 minutes apart) or 200CH potency (1 dose immediately). First choice remedy for sunburn
  • Urticaria Urens: Follow the Arnica with Urticaria Urens if it is a minor 1st degree burn. Give 30th potency each 15 minutes until pain subsides, or as needed.
  • Cantharis: This is a very good medicine for the pain of burns/sunburn and use this if the pain does not respond to Urticaria urens within 30-45 minutes. Give it in the 30th or 200th potency every 15 minutes until pain is reduced, then as needed.
  • Belladonna: More extreme sun burn with throbbing headache and photosensitivity. Very red hot face, also useful in cases of sunstroke.

Bee Sting

If you have had a strong allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to a bee sting it is important to use conventional approaches such as Benadryl or your Epipen. If swelling does not go down report to the nearest ER as soon as possible.   If there is no anaphylactic you can try the following:

Treatments:

  • Apis 200CH homeopathic: taken as soon as possible, repeating the dose every 20 min until pain subsides
  • Garlic cloves: Crush a garlic clove to release the garlic juices and press it against the sting to help with the pain
  • Baking soda and water: Mix the baking soda and water to form a thick paste then slather it onto the skin. Don’t wash it off.

Heat Rash

Heat rash or prickly heat is one of the most common problems experienced during summer months. It builds up due to hot and humid weather. Excessive sweating in the damp weather gives rise to bacterial infection that result in blisters and tiny red bumps on the skin. If you’ve noticed small raised bumps in clusters starting to form you may try the following:

Treatments:

  • Calendula ointment: again calendula ointment comes to the rescue! It’s natural anti-inflammatory properties help sooth red hot skin.
  • Neem: Another very helpful plant, neem can be found in salves and gels or you can grind some neem leaves to make a paste. Apply it over red rashes on body. Neem’s anti bacterial and antiseptic properties helps to control the irritation and itchiness.
  • Loose fitting, clean dry clothes help prevent heat rash as well as help not irritate a current rash
  • Chill out: Taking a cool bath or shower and getting out of the sun help bring down the rash

 

Important Tip! Again remember don’t pick/itch the rash or scabs as that can lead to a secondary infection! Instead gently slap or pat skin instead of using your nails to itch.

Good luck with your natural skin SOS!

Dr. Nadia Kumentas