Home Remedies for Sunburn, Splinters and Poison Ivy

Now that summer has gotten underway, and outdoor activities abound, you know that along with all that summer fun there often comes a few ouches, especially for kids.  And, some of the most common summer ouches include sunburn, splinters, poison ivy and poison oak.  But, before you run off to the store to load-up your medicine cabinet with unnecessary commercial chemical products, take a look below at these incredibly effective home remedies that include everyday household ingredients and items that you probably already have on hand.  And, if you don’t, then put them on your grocery list, so the next time you are at the store, you can be sure to pick them up and have them ready for when someone in your household is in need of a quick homemade remedy for one of these common summer mishaps.

Home Remedy for Sunburn – If an afternoon in the sun has left you with a mild burn and your skin a bright shade of pink, this common salad dressing ingredient can quickly come to your aid.  Fill a spray bottle with undiluted apple cider vinegar, and liberally spray all affected skin areas.  Allow to air dry.  A sunburn raises the skin’s pH levels (making it overly alkaline), and vinegar’s acetic acid helps to restore skin pH balance by lowering this over alkaline condition.  A vinegar spray or bath (fill a tub with cool water and a gallon of vinegar) with help to bring down any swelling, reduce pain and discomfort, and prevent the progression of the burn.  The sooner you can apply vinegar to sunburned skin, the faster you’ll be able to affect the healing process.  Avoid using regular soaps right away, as they are usually alkaline based, and you don’t want to apply any product that will further elevate the skin’s alkaline pH level.  If you do use soap, use a healthy pH balanced soap.  Castille soap (both liquid and bar) is a highly recommended soap to use for your skin care regimen.

Home Remedy for Splinters – No, they may not be as traumatic as a bad sunburn or poison ivy, but splinters can sure be painful, not to mention, sometimes darn right difficult to remove.  Most people’s first reaction is to run for the tweezers, but hold on, not so fast.  Not only do most people not take the time to sanitize those tweezers first before pinching at that splinter, but, in most cases they usually wind up pushing the splinter too far below the surface of the skin for it to be removed.  To ensure a quick extraction of a splinter, slowly run a pair of pantyhose over the area with the splinter.  The pantyhose will ‘snag’ the splinter and help pull it up enough, so that it can then be safely pulled away with those tweezers.  If the splinter is too deep to snag with the pantyhose, then cover the splinter with the white pithy side of a banana peel and tape into place.  Leave on overnight, and don’t pick at it.  The digestive enzymes in the banana peel, will help ‘draw’ the splinter to the skin’s surface, so it can then be safely remove with tweezers.

Home Remedy for Poison Ivy – If a hike through the woods has left a family member with a case of poison ivy or poison oak, these kitchen pantry staple items will help bring speedy relief and healing.  You will make a ‘paste’ by combining 1/2 cup of rolled oats, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, 1 tablespoon of raw honey and enough water to make it a ‘paste-like’ consistency.  Apply this mixture to affected areas twice a day, and gently brush off when it dries.  Calming avenanthramide compounds in oatmeal soothe itchy skin.  The astringent action of the baking soda dries up any weeping and oozing blisters.  And, the water binds with the raw honey’s enzymes to produce infection-fighting hydrogen peroxide.  If you commit to applying this homemade paste twice daily, the poison ivy (or poison oak) should be healed up in less than a week.  For additional soothing benefits, Burt’s Bees makes a ‘Poison Ivy Soap” that contains jewelweed and pine tar.  Use in addition to the honey-oatmeal paste for rapid healing and relief.

Bon Veggie Appetit!

Gina ‘The Veggie Goddess’ Matthews

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