Summer Skin-5 Safe Herbs
With temperatures heating up and summer on the way, the one thing most people forget to consider is their skin.
Whatever outdoor activity you’re into, your skin is constantly being pummeled with harsh UV rays. Rather than buying pricey, products full of artificial and synthetic chemicals why not go straight to the source and treat your skin right, the natural way? There are five herbs that will do wonders for maintaining your healthy skin this summer.
An all-around great plant to have in your garden for its use as a potent medicinal herb, comfrey is a self-seeding, high yielding herb that can save your skin from the summer heat. The great properties of comfrey is that it contain allantoin, which naturally moisturizes, promotes cell regeneration, and increases water content in the damaged skin layers, which promotes smoother skin and quicker wound healing. Allantoin also acts as an anti-irritant and is commonly synthesized for over-the-counter sun-care products and cosmetics. By extracting the juice from fresh comfrey leaves and stems, you can produce a concentrated liquid to apply to burns that will reduce pain and swelling.
There are lots of other herbs that can be lifesavers when you’ve had too much sun, like aloe vera and St. John’s wort. Your best bet to fighting sunburn is to preempt it with a plant based or natural sunscreen applied generously and often to avoid burning at all. Remember to drink lots of water to stay hydrated, and try to limit your time spent outside to early morning or late afternoon, when the sun isn’t as intense.
Chamomile can also soothe your skin after a bad burn. Chamomile is one of the most popular herbal remedies for relaxing, so it is not surprising that this sweetly-scented herb is beneficial to our skin as well. Easily grown you can either drink this to help you sleep (as we all know, pain from a sunburn can keep you awake all night, making it feel that much more uncomfortable) or a cooled version of this same tea can be added to your bath to heal sunburned skin. Chamomile contains regenerating flavonoids, and anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties that will have you forgetting about your sunburn and recovering in no time!
Calendula has long been revered for its antibacterial, anti-viral and antioxidant properties and has naturally occurring antioxidants found in plants that help repair cell damage from UV rays. Because the beneficial properties in calendula plants increase blood flow to affected areas and aides in the production of collagen proteins, researchers believe this is why the plant can help heal burns so quickly. Recently proved to prevent dermatitis caused by radiation in patients suffering from breast cancer, calendula proves to be a very valuable herb for repairing and restoring skin.
Super easy to grow in your own yard or garden, give this annual a try for a soothing summer salve. To make your own calendula treatment for after sun care, just harvest one to two cups of fresh calendula flowers and steep them in three cups of boiling water until the water has cooled. Strain the flowers from the infused water by pouring it through a coffee filter or cheesecloth and discard the used flowers. Place the calendula water in the refrigerator to cool for an hour. Once cooled, you can apply it to affected areas with a soft towel.
This fragrant herb’s blue, spike-like flowers contain anti-inflammatory properties and tons of flavonoids to help repair sunburned skin after a long day spent outside. When steeped into an infused tea and cooled, or by applying the extracted essential oils to the burn itself, hyssop can help your body repair the burned skin cells by instigating new growth. Easy to grow if given full sun and well-drained soil, this perennial will also attract useful pollinators.
Another skin rejuvenating herb that you can easily grow at home is lavender. Lavender oil can quickly help heal sunburned skin, as well as reduce scarring. Lavender oil was discovered as a modern treatment for burns completely accidentally by French chemist, Rene-Maurice Gattefosse in 1928, after he accidentally applied lavender oil to a burn he sustained while in his lab. After applying the oil and monitoring its recovery time, he noted that the area treated with lavender oil healed much more quickly. This is also because lavender contains collagen regenerating properties that help skin regrow quickly, aided by its anti-fungal and antibacterial properties that thwart infection at the site of the burn. One of the safest oils you can use directly on the burned area. You can buy the essential oil, which can be found at health stores, or you may steep the flowers in hot water and make an infused tea. This can be added to lukewarm baths or dabbed on the burned area with a clean towel to help heal the skin and reduce painful blistering.