By Kim Robson:
If, like me, you have fair skin, you know how easy it is to get a sunburn, especially this time of year. We all know to use sunblock, but sometimes summer just gets the better of us (hello, day in the pool or at the county fair). When I was a kid growing up in the 70s, I desperately wanted a golden brown tan like all my friends. In fact, that was in the day when we still put baby oil on our skin. Needless to say, I got a few whopper sunburns. My parents always got Solarcaine spray for me, and I’d spend the next several days in misery.
Solarcaine doesn’t do anything to soothe or heal the burn; it just numbs the pain. Plus, it’s also highly flammable, pressurized, and can’t be used by pregnant or nursing women. Side effects can include allergic reactions such as rash, hives, itching, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue; and skin bleeding, redness, irritation, swelling, or pain.
If you have sensitive skin or just want to find something less toxic, then this antioxidant rich, cooling Sunburn Relief Spray and Compress will help soothe and heal sunburnt skin quickly. The green tea in this recipe contains tannic acid, theobromine, and polyphenols — all of which are soothing and healing to sunburnt skin. In addition, yerba mate is a South American super-antioxidant that helps speed tissue repair. With the addition of cooling peppermint and the skin healers chamomile and aloe vera, this mixture will surely soothe a sunburn’s sting.
- 4 cups filtered or spring water
- ¼ cup fresh peppermint leaves
- ¼ cup fresh chamomile flowers
- 1 Tbsp. loose leaf yerba mate
- 1 Tbsp. green tea leaves
- ½ cup aloe vera juice
- 10 drops peppermint essential oil
- Large saucepan
- Mesh strainer
- Sealable quart jar
- Spray bottle
Boil 4 cups of water in the saucepan. Remove from heat, and add the herbs and tea, stirring with a spoon to moisten thoroughly. Let the infusion steep for 15 to 20 minutes. Strain, then discard herbs. Pour the tea into the jar. Place in the refrigerator and let cool completely. Once the brew has cooled, add the aloe vera and essential oil. Seal the lid tightly and shake well to blend. Makes 1 quart.
Hint: If you can’t find fresh peppermint and chamomile, or loose leaf yerba mate or green teas, substitute tea bags: 1 peppermint, 1 chamomile, 1 yerba mate, 1 green tea. Just be sure the tea bags contain only the pure herb without any flavorings or additional blended herbs.
Shake before each use. Spray affected areas as desired. To use as a compress, soak a soft cloth and apply to affected areas for 10 to 15 minutes.
Pour some of the mixture into a spray bottle for immediate use. Refrigerate the remainder in the jar for up to 2 weeks.