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There’s nothing like spending hot summer days soaking up the sun and enjoying the outdoors—but no matter how fun it is, summertime can take a toll on your skin. Of course, sun protection is the first and most important step toward caring for your skin in the summertime—but if you experience sunburn, dry skin, or heat rash, you may need some healing remedies, too.

Soothe a Sunburn

The best way to soothe sunburn is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. With excellent sun protection habits, you can prevent sunburn altogether; however, sometimes accidents happen and we stay out longer than planned or forget to reapply sunscreen. If you overdo it and experience sunburn, soothe your skin with one of the following remedies:

  • Milk Compress: Milk can do more than help build strong bones. The lactic acid in full-fat milk can work wonders for the inflammation and itching associated with sunburn. Dip a soft washcloth in cold milk and apply it to your sunburned skin for fast relief.
  • Tomato Compress: Tomatoes contain an anti-inflammatory compound called lycopene, which can reduce swelling from a sunburn. Apply thin tomato slices to your skin to reduce swelling associated with sunburn.
  • Tea: Tea is an age-old remedy because it works. Brew a batch of black tea using 12 tea bags. Allow the tea to cool and dip a soft washcloth into the brew for a tea compress.
  • Aloe: Aloe is a common and effective remedy for burns. The most beneficial aloe comes directly from the plant, but topical creams provide relief as well.

Ditch Dry Skin

Summer often means exposure—to sun, wind, salt water, and chlorine. After a splashing good time, you may be left with dry, flaky skin. Hydrate dry skin with these remedies:

  • Moisturize: For best absorption, apply moisturizing lotion while skin is still damp—immediately after a shower, bath, or swim.
  • Pre-moisturize before a swim: Before taking a dip in the pool, apply a hydrating cream on dry spots to provide a barrier from the chlorine.
  • Petroleum jelly: Petroleum jelly is an excellent all-purpose moisturizer, especially for feet, elbows, hands, and lips.
  • Natural moisturizers: Olive oil, aloe vera, and shea butter are effective moisturizers that can keep skin soft and supple.
  • Nutrition: Believe it or not, nutrition is a key component of healthy skin. Drink plenty of water and eat a diet rich in essential fatty acids, beta-carotene, and vitamins B and C to keep your skin hydrated.
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Halt Heat Rash

Heat rash occurs when sweat ducts become blocked and trap perspiration beneath the skin’s surface. This can result in red spots or small, blistery bumps. The best way to cope with heat rash is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing made from natural, breathable fibers and change out of wet clothing immediately. Hot tubs are often a culprit in heat rash—if you tend to suffer from heat rash, avoid hot tubs or shower before and after soaking.

Heat rash is uncomfortable and frustrating and there are several remedies that can bring relief:

  • Oatmeal or baking soda bath: A cool or lukewarm bath with a dash of baking soda or oatmeal can provide soothing relief.
  • Milk compress: A cold compress soaked in full-fat milk can help relieve itching.
  • Creams: Calamine lotion, calendula lotion, aloe vera, tea tree oil, or hydrocortisone cream can provide relief from skin irritation.

Sun Rash

Sun rash is a form of skin allergy that consists of itchy red spots called polymorphous light eruption (PMLE). These red spots appear after exposure to the sun—typically on the neck, chest, arms, or thighs, even if the skin was not directly exposed to the sun. Sun rash is more common in people with fair skin, especially at the beginning of summer after a long winter with no sun exposure. Sun rash can be miserably uncomfortable, so the best defense is a good offense—limit sun exposure and use sunscreen. If you do experience sun rash, the following remedies can help:

  • Creams: Chamomile cream and calendula lotion can relieve itching and soothe the skin.
  • Milk compress: A cold compress soaked in full-fat milk provides relief from burning and itching.