Parents, you know what time it is: it's time for beaches, parks, hikes, pools, and a plethora of other outdoor activities for the whole family. And while enjoying the sunshine is one of the best things about Summer, those harsh UV rays aren't always friendly (no matter how good you are about sunscreen).
I always use a remedy for sunburns that involves only two ingredients: raw honey and aloe vera. We keep both of these ingredients on hand during the sunnier months, and they're total lifesavers. Raw, unfiltered, organic honey or manuka honey are the only ones I'd recommend using for this recipe as they contain the most healing benefits. Honey can relieve pain and is soothing against sunburned skin. It's also antibacterial, which can help reduce infection, and it's moisturizing, which is exactly what your skin needs after a sunburn.
Aloe vera boasts tons of benefits and is useful in beauty regimens as well as treating redness. Additionally, aloe greatly aids in relieving the itching, irritation, and stinging associated with a sunburn. Like honey, aloe can help alleviate pain, and because they're both anti-inflammatory, they're excellent for combating swelling.
You can use an aloe vera plant, purchase an aloe leaf from a local health food store, or buy pure aloe gel — just be sure to take a look at the ingredients when obtaining it in gel form, because a lot of aloe creams and gels on the market contain additives or preservatives that can actually be more harmful to your skin.
You'll need to obtain the gel from inside the leaf when using the plant form of aloe. Try to choose a leaf that's thick and plump, as those tend to contain the most gel. Then:
- Clean off the leaf.
- Use a knife to cut off the thickest end.
- Cut off the skinniest part of the other end (about 1-3 inches, depending on the size of your leaf). You'll be able to see a sticky gel on the inside from both ends.
- Stand the leaf vertically or lay it horizontally, and cut off both of its prickly sides.
- Lay the leaf on its back horizontally on a cutting board, and carefully cut the green, outer layer of the aloe leaf to reveal the gel.
- Use a spoon to scoop the gel into a glass jar or bowl, cover it, and store it in the fridge.
When you're ready to use the whole recipe, simply mix together the raw honey and aloe vera gel (a 1:2 ratio) using a whisk or a fork to combine. Apply to sunburned skin by dabbing the mixture directly onto the affected areas and rubbing it in a circular motion.
This cooling, moisturizing recipe has worked wonders in my family for years and is our all-time favorite defense against sunburn.