I’ve never been satisfied with what is available on the market shelf when it comes to after-sun care. So I came up with this mixture quite a few years ago by thinking through what I do and do not like and how they work.
My mom always mixed Vitamin E in with Pure (as pure as possible) Aloe for our sunburns which made it the natural base for my lotion.
The reasons for picking each ingredient:
- Pure Aloe Vera Gel is almost impossible to find truly pure at a store. We’re not absolutest here so go with the best option you can find. A very common product to use on sunburns because of it’s cooling and refreshing properties.
- Vitamin E Oil causes the Aloe to not be sticky and to soak in nicely. It also helps skin heal. You can buy this from the Vitamin aisle in either capsules or in a bottle. I find the bottle easier to use for uses like this.
- Melaleuca (or Tea Tree) Oil is one of my favorite essential oils. And one of my favorite uses for it is to stop burn immediately. Burn your tongue on hot food? Apply it. Burn your finger on a hot pan? Apply it. Stay out in the sun too long? Definitely use it. I suggest a good quality oil. But if your budget is low don’t let the cost discourage you – buy it at your local store.
- Triple Antibiotic Ointment is an ingredient I have always used in the past but I recognize that it isn’t “natural”. It’s probably unnecessary and can be left out entirely.
- Next time I mix up a batch of this I will probably add in a few drops of Lavender Essential Oil instead as it is often used to cleanse and treat skin that has been broken or bruised.
I’m a chronic “dump and mix” type of recipe follower and creator. But I will do my best to give you approximate measurements here.
Aloe vera plant (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
1 1/2 to 2 cups Aloe Vera Gel (whatever comes in a standard size bottle will do)
2 -4 tsp Vitamin E Oil (use enough to make the aloe vera cloudy)
1 tsp Melaleuca Oil (if you have a higher grade oil you can probably use less)
10-20 drops Lavender Oil (optional)
1 tsp Triple Antibiotic Ointment (optional)
1) Open your bottle of Aloe and dump out just enough that you have room for the other ingredients.
2) Add everything into the original bottle.
3) Shake it til it’s well mixed.
4) Apply generously to sunburned skin and allow to soak in.
Summer is well on it’s way in some parts of the country. But here it is just getting started. With my family of blonde hair and pale skin I am definitely thinking about how I will approach Sunscreen this year.
I often go the route of simply avoiding the worst sun exposure and otherwise soak up the Vitamin D. I certainly don’t want to risk Baby Girl Baking Soda (3 months old), Little Boy Baking Soda (2 years old) or Big Boy Baking Soda (5 years old) getting sunburns though! Keeping them in doors all summer isn’t fair either. (Though it would keep them fair. har har.)
There are a few reason I don’t want to use traditional store-bought sun-screen:
- I don’t like the way it feels on my skin. I dislike it enough to NOT USE IT even when I really should. In fact I cannot use it on my face without my skin burning from the chemicals. That can’t be good. It also causes breakouts on my face; but the burning is the main thing. And I don’t have sensitive skin. I wouldn’t want my children to feel that same burn.
- Under 6 months of age it’s not even an option for general coverage. (see this article from the Mayo Clinic)
- I believe in getting vitamins from the most natural sources. Sunshine gives us what our bodies need to produce Vitamin D. As long as you don’t block the rays!
However, if there is an option that takes care of these issues I am willing to try it. Turns out there is! Coconut Oil.
Sun protection is as simple as applying straight coconut oil every couple hours. However, if you want a little more protection you can make sunscreen with Coconut oil and Zinc Oxide. (Same ingredients as in natural diaper rash cream. But we’ll touch that subject another day). Here is a well written article and recipe to make sunscreen. I fully intend to make this recipe up and use it this summer along with wide brimmed hats and lightweight clothing.
What will you use to protect against sunburns this summer?
Next I will bring you a personal recipe for after-sun lotion that will bring immediate healing and relief to sunburns.
Because of the texture (fine and straight) and length (beyond waist) of my hair, I had more trouble getting the homemade “conditioner” ratio right.
Homemade Conditioner using Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
1/3 cup Apple Cider Vinegar in 16 oz water
Squirt over hair, massaging or combing in with fingers. Rinse well.
I currently use ketchup and mustard bottles (courtesy of the local dollar store) for our shampoo and conditioner. Yellow is for conditioner (because it comes last… I had to have some way to remember easily or I would forget!)
I put 1/3 cup of ACV in the bottle using a funnel and fill it the rest of the way up with water. Then I put on the lid and give it a shake or two, and its good to go!
Don’t worry about the smell – once your hair dries, any smell goes away.
Have you tried homemade apple cider vinegar conditioner? Why or why not?
I switched to using homemade “shampoo” from baking soda around a year ago. I have beyond-waist-length hair, so this was no small endeavor. It took me a while (maybe a month?) to get the recipe perfected to the right ratio, but once I did, it was awesome.
Homemade Shampoo using Baking Soda
1-2 tsp baking soda in 16 oz water
Squirt over hair, massaging or combing in with fingers.
Rinse well. Follow with Apple Cider Vinegar rinse.
I currently use ketchup and mustard bottles (courtesy of the local dollar store) for our shampoo and conditioner. Red is for shampoo (because it comes first… I had to have some way to remember easily or I would forget!)
I put 1 teaspoon of baking soda in the bottle using a funnel and fill it the rest of the way up with water. Then I put on the lid and give it a shake or two, and its good to go!
Have you tried homemade baking soda shampoo? Why or why not?