Summer is the season that we all tend to spend more time out-of-doors, which undoubtedly means more time in the sun.
It also means a greater risk of skin damage occurring, which means a sensible approach to dress should be adopted.
Skin damage can occur after only 12 to 20 minutes exposure to sunlight. So whether you are just walking to the shops, hanging out the washing or enjoying summertime leisure activities, you must always be mindful of the damage the sun can do.
To avoid premature skin aging, wrinkles and other damage, like cancer, it is essential to wear a sun screen, and keep covered up as much possible.
Cool, long-sleeve cotton shirts or blouses and slacks are a must, and a wide-brimmed hat will help to protect skin. If you do get caught out and suffer sunburn, it is important to drink plenty of fluids and herbal teas, like rosemary and lemongrass, to reduce the possibility of dehydration.
The stinging, soreness and pain can be eased with the following first aid measures. Apply aloe vera leaf juice straight from the plant to soothe and ease sunburn. If nothing else is handy, you can dab milk onto affected area. Yoghurt is also effective and thin slices of cucumber laid on the skin and held in place with a loose bandage will also ease stinging. Or you can cover the burned area with a paste made from bicarbonate of soda and water.
Severe sunburn should be referred to a doctor. If you are suffering a mild burn, ease the stinging and prevent further moisture loss by applying the following natural lotion. Mix 50 millilitres of glycerine, 40 millilitres of aloe vera juice and 10 millilitres each of wheat germ oil and jojoba (pronounced ho ho ba) oil. Store the lotion in a sealed bottle, and shake before use. Apply generously to the affected areas of the skin.
For hot, sticky skin that is not sunburnt you can apply this lotion. It will leave your skin feeling cool and delightfully fragrant.
Blend 50 millilitres each of rose-water and glycerine with 100 millilitres of distilled water. Store the lotion in a small spray bottle, shaking well before use. Spray onto exposed skin, avoiding contact with the eyes.
Too much time in the sun can make you feel unwell, which is a good indication that a person has sunstroke. Symptoms are dizziness, headache, nausea and dryness and redness of the skin.
To treat sunstroke, apply cold water compresses, to which a couple of drops of eucalyptus oil have been added, to the head, the nape of the neck, chest and back.
Put the patient to bed and continue sponging with compresses for at least 24 to 48 hours, and make sure that they drink plenty of water or unsweetened fruit juice.
No solid food should be eaten during this time. If in doubt, contact your doctor.