Surviving Sun Burns and Bug Bites Naturally

Keeping my baby from sun burning last summer.

I get bug bites very summer. Ever since I was a little girl, if I went camping or spent time petting a dog or cat, I’d get at least 3 bites. Often many more than that. At one point I had a pet cat, and got so bit up (dozens and dozens) that my mom almost gave our cats away. She even bug bombed the house and got anti-flea shampoo and ointment for our cats. I still got bit up. This summer is no exception. But, I’ve discovered a way to deal with them and the other thing that comes with summer: Sun Burns.

Since having kids, I avoided getting a sun burn for 4 years. Taking precautions like wearing a hat, sun glasses, long sleeves, and honestly simply not being in the sun for more than a half hour at a time worked.  Last year, with more mobile older children,  I managed to get burned and my little fair girl had a day of being extra pink. I had planned the best I could, but sometimes you can’t be prepared. So, here’s what I have found that works for us:

Bug Bites

Natural Repellent: For Flea and mosquito bites, I found a fantastic little blurb in my local co-op newsletter: Keep Bugs at Bay, Naturally – Looking at the right side bar listing essential oils, I concocted my own potion, roughly using their recipe. I tried it for a walk through a local trail with my husband one fine evening, and it worked. But, I tried it again during a camping trip, and it didn’t hold up – honestly, even my non-bitten husband got bit. So, I went to the big guns and used what my Mother-In-Law had brought, a real store-bought kind that did include a handful of essential oils.

Sooth Bites: This summer, I got my first chigger bites while visiting Arkansas for the first time. I tried using liquid Benadryl on them and the flea bites I’d acquired on the trip. It helped a little tiny bit. Once home, I bought Calendula Oil and Lavender Oil and mixed it up, using about an ounce of Calendula and 5 drops of Lavender. It really helped soothe the bites and I think heal them. I scar easily, and these bites are almost gone in one month. I’ve also used the old Baking Soda paste method, but find it too messy for daytime use.

p.s. I found this recipe for making your own Calendula Oil.

My natural potion collection: Olive, Calendula, Lavender, Peppermint and Lemon Grass Oils

Sun Burns

Since I was a kid, I’ve used Aloe Vera to help soothe my burned skin. My grandmother always had several plants around the house, and so did my mom. While it certainly works, I’ve tried using oil – I know it may sound counter-intuitive, but this is what has worked for me.

Olive Oil: Last year, I simply applied Extra Virgin Olive Oil on my skin after being out in the sun and feeling a little bit burned. It worked! I never peeled, only turned a little bit golden. I have a dark complexion, but tend to get burned and even have a few freckles on my shoulders.

Calendula Oil: This year, I started using Calendula Oil with Lavendar Oil, and have to say that it really does soothe the skin, taking away that burned feeling. And, it works like the Olive Oil did, helping me to brown a bit and not peel.

Caster Oil: Another great oil is Caster Oil – I found a roll-on container at my local co-op, originally using it for my daughter’s constipation (rubbed it on her tummy). Since I had it on hand, earlier this summer, I used it. It worked just as well, and is wonderful for applying to a child’s small face.

What about Sun Screen? Here’s a useful site that rates Sun Screen (there’s all kinds of junk and contradictory info out there): EWG SunScreen Guide

p.s. Shared on Monday Mania natural, real food link party.

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About Holli

A "cooking from scratch" geek, Mom, Wife, Seattle Native, Photographer and serial volunteer.
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