Saturday 30 June 2012

Sacred Pampering Ritual: Summer Series 1

Yeah baby, it's that time again. With summer coming in like a roaring lion (yeah Lions are associated with the Sun, I mean the Goddess Sekhmet almost burned the world to a crisp, her breathe created the desert).  One of the things we all love is the chance to get out, to be in the sun and have some serious fun,. the longer days mean more time to play, hang out and just relax with out friends.  One those good days we can sometimes forget to protect ourselves, or the sunscreen we have doesn't quiet cut the mustard and we end up with sunburns. (yes even blacks get sunburned) 

Sunburn can be caused by even intermittent exposure, going in and out of the home for short periods without renewing you sunscreen leaves the skin exposed. With this heat the temptation is to strip down to as little as possible while going out, which of course leaves more skin exposed, most people don't remember to do every part of their body and can end up with sunburn in the most interesting places.  I have lupus (I have talked about this a ton of times) and I am extremely sensitive to the sun, I try to limit exposure as much as possible and even have purchased clothing with sunscreen in it. Yeah you read that right. I'm going to share some of my tips and tricks to avoid harming your skin while still having fun in the sun. 
What is a sunburn??

  1. First degree sunburn is marked by extremely red skin with some swelling. On those of us with darker complexions it can be felt by the tingling and the feeling of burning, since it would be harder to notice the redness at first.
  2. Second degree sunburn has all the symptoms of 1with the addition of blisters on the epidermis (top layer of the skin). SEE A DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY
  3. Third degree sunburn is so severe that blister scars go deep into the dermis, and will remain even after the blisters "heal".  SEE A DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY
How to prevent sunburn:
  1. duh...sunscreen is your best friend, for most you have to renew every 1/2 to 1 hour after first application, if you are doing sports and sweating this may need to be increased. And if you are swimming each time you leave the water and remain on land it must be renewed. there are several kinds out there I will let you choose your favorite brand, but the higher the number the better the coverage. MAKE SURE TO DO ALL OF YOUR SKIN!! A good trick is to lift your hands, if your shirt rides up then put some on the skin exposed,  I like to do a whole bunch of bending and twisting just to make sure that if my clothing moves then even that skin is protected. Don't forget your feet!!!
  2. Head coverings and sleeves... Whhhhaaattt? In this heat?? Yes my darlings, even in this heat, when not in the water, it's best to wear a hat to help shade your face and neck as well as a light cotton (something breathable) shirt or dress to help limit the amount of skin exposed. As I said before there are companies out there that are now making clothing with sunblock built in, simply google and you can find one near you, they are a little expensive since the technology is new, but they are well worth it. 
  3. For women: make-up. yes make-up helps to give an added layer between your skin and the sun, most foundations now come with sunscreen built in, so if you do a moisturizer with sunscreen then a tinter moisturizer or light foundation you should be pretty set. FOR EVERYONE including kids: DON'T FORGET LIP BALM WITH SUNSCREEN, almost all companies make there newer lip balms with sunscreen (Burt's bees makes an awesome one), apply often especially after eating.
  4. Even though we need the sun to create vitamin D, it's best to limit the amount of time you are exposed to direct heat of the sun, during 11-3 is when the sun is at it's most powerful, it would be best to do any gardening or outdoor activities before or after these hours.
  5. Remember that water acts as a powerful magnifier and reflector, so it may not seem like it, but the water can actually help increase your chances of getting burned. Sort of how the sun reflecting off snow increases brightness, the sun reflecting off the water actually helps to magnify it;s strength. which increases your chances of being burned. Limit the amount of time you are handing out by the pool. make sure to reapply sunscreen often when near large bodies of water. (info gathered here, as well as from information from school)
How to Treat: Aloe and Cucumbers are now your best friends:
  • Apply a cooling compress made with tea tree oil or witch hazel and vinegar with aloe vera.
  • Make your own aloe vera juice. Break a leaf from the plant, squeeze the leaf until the juice runs out into your container or spray bottle. use a sterile cloth and apply to the burns; change frequently. (it feels better if you store in the fridge).
  • To treat the burning, itching and pain, use distilled cider vinegar. Use a cloth in undiluted vinegar and apply to the parts most affected. this will help prevent swelling and the formation of blisters.
  • All above remedies must avoid the eye areas especially, use chilled cucumber slices to help relieve the pain, you can also use it on the rest of the skin as it fights inflammation and will help reduce the pain.
  • To prevent peeling, use lavender water on skin that is sunburned and spray often to keep skin hydrated.
  • Apply diluted St. john's wort oil to the affected skin, or 3 drops of lavender oil in sweet almond oil (or carrier oil of choice, just not olive) and massage into affected area.
  • Homeopathic remedies: CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR FIRST: belladonna, cantharis and causticum have proven to be effective in helping with the symptoms of sunburn, should be taken in pill form.  

Make your own sunscreen:
3 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp avocado oil
1 tbsp jojoba oil
1 tbsp walnut or almond oil
1 tbsp shea butter
2 tbsp cocoa butter
1 tsp beeswax
1 tsp soya-lecithin liquid
2 tbsp aloe vera gell
2 tbsp rose or lavender water
1/2 tsp borax powder
20 drops carrot seed essential oil
fragrance oil (avoid citrus oils as they can increase chances of sunburn, so no bergamont, ornage, lemon or lime)
  1. Melt the first four unrefined oils, butters and beeswax in a double boiler (or i used a pot of boiling water and a glass bowl that sat on top comfortably). Add lecithin, stir well, remove from heat.
  2. In another sauce pan, heat the aloe vera, the rose water and stir in the borax until dissolved, Remove from heat.
  3. Allow to cool until they are warm to the touch and close to the same temp, set the second container into some ice and slowly drizzle in the oils, while beating with a whisk. A cream should quickly form.
  4. Add essential oil and fragrance (fragrance is optional) and blend well.
  5. Store in the fridge in a clean airtight jar.
Information gathered from:
My mom and grandmere's home remedies, as well as: The complete guide to natural healing cards group 10 card 8, group 7 card 4, and  group 8 card 28.

Make sure to seek a doctor's attention for blisters, and sunburn that seems severe. Protect yourself and your loved ones, and of course stay hydrated. Check back each week as I share more information on Pampering yourself this summer.
Happy Summer

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