“Fun in the sun” is the mantra of summer. Whether you’re returning to your home country or hanging out in the Jing, the holidays mean outdoor fun. However, all this sun can leave us with minor skin irritations that can easily be dealt with using natural home remedies.
Mosquito bites are unavoidable. Reactions range from small red spots to large bumps that can become extremely itchy and uncomfortable. Luckily, many remedies can provide relief. Tiger Balm is a staple in many homes around the world; the famous formula originates from China. It contains menthol and clove oil, both proven analgesics that can take away the pain.
My motto is “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” so I suggest trying to avoid those pesky mosquitoes in the first place. A natural bug repellant can be made with olive oil and a few drops of essential oil. Combine 100ml of olive oil and mix with 10 drops each of citronella, lavender, and tea tree oil. Shake well and apply to the skin before your next hike in the woods.
Sunburns are also ubiquitous in the summer. The tried-and-tested solution is aloe vera gel. If you have an aloe vera plant, simply break off a fleshy leaf, cut it open, and apply the juice or pulp directly on the skin. It is one of nature’s best skin healers. You can apply it on burns, scrapes or rashes as well.
Cucumbers, either in juice or raw form, can also help soothe a sunburn. If you don’t have a juicer or a blender, dice the cucumber and mash it up with a hard wooden spoon. Apply the concoction liberally on the sunburned areas. For the best results, chill the mixture or juice in the fridge beforehand.
Poison ivy is very common in China. The leaves, stems, flowers, fruits, and bark of these plants contain an oily substance called urushiol. When it comes in contact with the skin, urushiol causes blisters, swelling, and itching. Aloe vera can also be used to soothe a poison ivy rash, while apple cider vinegar applied directly to the irritated areas can help to take the sting out. Calamine lotion or luganshir (炉甘石), easily found in pharmacies around Beijing, can also relieve itching.
These skin conditions are not usually life-threatening and can be easily treated at home. However, look out for other symptoms like a high fever, discomfort, or severe redness and swelling. These can be signs of a more serious illness, an allergic reaction, or complications. When in doubt, call your doctor.
So don’t let minor skin irritations get in the way of your summer. We wish you and your family safe and happy summer holidays!
Got a question? Melissa Rodriguez is a mom of two and a wellness consultant. She also works as a naturopath at International Medical Center. Check out her website.
Photos: kirinqueen and Big Dubya (Flickr)