by Judith Cobb, MH, CI, NCP
This article is not meant to diagnose or prescribe. It is meant for educational purposes only. Judith Cobb, Cobblestone Health, and Nature’s Sunshine Products accept no responsibility for results you get, whether good or bad, from using this information. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health professional.
Note: More information about the products mentioned can be found at the end of the article.
At last … sunshine and warm weather – and with them come the risks of sunburn and mosquito bites.
The skin has three basic layers: the epidermis, the dermis, and the superficial fascia. The outermost layer, or epidermis, is made up of dead cells that are waiting to be sloughed off. It is the next two layers that suffer damage in a sunburn.
Prevention of sunburn amounts to common sense and not-so-common knowledge. All sunscreens have an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) rating. The medical world recommends using a sunscreen that has an SPF rating during the hours of strongest sunlight, from 11 AM to 3 PM. We know that the younger a person is when suffering a sunburn, and the greater the severity of the burn, the greater the risk of developing skin cancer later. We also know that repeated and prolonged exposure to the sun destroys the collagen in our skin and makes us look like wrinkly old prunes or aged leather.
There are also reports that spending time outdoors in the sunshine without sunscreen and without getting a sunburn decreases the risk of developing skin cancer, especially melanoma.
I will admit to using an SPF sunscreen if/when I am running, swimming, biking, doing yard work, or playing on the beach. I understand from a client who lived in Mexico while her children were young that aloe vera gel can work as a sunscreen/sunblock. The locals showed her how to cut chunks of fresh leaves and squeeze the gel out onto her children’s skin. She was impressed that it worked!
Many sunscreens contain ingredients that are not good for us. These ingredients may add protections against the sun damage BUT the other things they do may not be worth the trade off. Oxybenzone provides broad spectrum UV protection, but is absorbed into the body where it is a hormone disruptor and may damage cells, which can lead to skin cancer. Another ingredient on the may-cause-skin cancer list is retinyl palmitate, and two more ingredients with potential hormone disruptor status are octinoxate and octocrylene. Octinoxate is becoming known for its ability to create free radicals that damage and age the skin.1
While we want to prevent sun damage and sunburn, we do need exposure to sunlight in order to make vitamin D. Vitamin D is critical in preventing rickets, a serious bone softening condition, and is being found necessary for so many other tissues and functions in our bodies. We need exposure to the sun to make our own vitamin D.
Let’s say you are actually getting several short bursts of sunshine, midday, and somehow end up being out longer than you had planned and you end up with a sunburn. What can you do about it? Here’s my favorite sunburn soother recipe.
2 Tbsp NSP (Nature’s Sunshine Products) Aloe Vera Gel
1 Tbsp water
4 drops NSP Lavender, Organic Authentic Oil*
4 drops NSP Peppermint Oil
2 oz bottle
Combine all in the bottle. Apply generously to sunburned areas. This really does soothe sunburns and speeds healing.
My favorite arch enemies in the summer are mosquitoes. They adore me and dislike my husband. Seriously, if hubby and I go for a walk together, he will not be bothered by the little pests at all, and I will be swatting and dodging unless I wear long, loose layers. These dang little creatures have bitten me through blue jeans and even through my biking shorts when I was cycling at 30 KPH.
Mosquitoes bite sweet people, according to Annemarie Colbin in Food and Healing. She says people who have a higher sugar content in their diet, due to fruits, juices, or refined sugar, give off a sweeter aroma, which attracts mosquitoes.
The most effective commercial mosquito repellents contain DEET. According to medlineplus.com, “Persons who use very high concentrations of DEET on their skin over a long period of time (such as military personnel or game wardens) may have more severe skin reactions that include blistering, burning, and permanent scars of the skin. Other symptoms associated with long-term use of high amounts of DEET (over 50% concentration) include insomnia and mood changes.”2 Additionally, “DEET is especially dangerous for small children. Seizures may occur in small children who are consistently exposed to DEET on their skin for long periods of time. Care should be taken to only apply lower concentrations of DEET to children for short periods of time. Products containing DEET probably should not be used on infants.”3 The really scary part is this: the Environmental Protection Agency in the US recognizes DEET as a chemical with substantial evidence of developmental neurotoxicity.4
Natural repellents for these pesky critters include oil of citronella (applied topically) and Nature’s Sunshine Concentrate (applied thinly to the skin). Some people find that taking garlic and/or B vitamins internally repels mosquitoes. Tei Fu Oil or Lotion can be dabbed on as a natural repellent also. Here is an excellent essential oil mosquito repellent. Keep in mind it needs to be reapplied frequently – possible every 30 minutes.
4 drops NSP Thyme, Wild, Authentic Oil*
4 drops NSP Lavender, Organic Authentic Oil
4 drops NSP Peppermint Oil
2 Tbsp witch hazel (purchase at drug store)
1 Tbsp NSP Concentrate (optional – some people have found that this makes it more effective for a longer time)
4 oz spritz/spray bottle
Combine all in the spritz bottle and spray onto skin and clothes to deter insects from biting.
If you still suffer an occasional bite, you can pick plantain leaves (this plant grows well in most lawns and alleys), dust them off or rinse them, and chew them thoroughly. Spit the paste onto the bite and leave it. It will help to draw out the toxins and relieve the itch. Tea Tree Oil, Tei Fu oil, or Lavender, Organic Authentic Oil will often relieve the itch also.
I hope you have a marvelous, healthy summer, without the spirit-dampening plagues of sunburn and mosquitoes!
If you have concerns about your health, or just don’t know where to begin making improvements, please contact me, Judith Cobb, to book an appointment. Skype, phone, webinar, and face-to-face appointments are available. I also invite you to like us on facebook and visit our other websites
Products referred to above:
|Nature’s Sunshine Products CANADA||Nature’s Sunshine Products USA|
|Aloe Vera Gel||Aloe Vera Gel|
|Lavender Organic Authentic Oil||Lavender Organic Authentic Essential Oil|
|Peppermint Oil*||Peppermint Authentic Oil*|
|Essential Shield Multi-purpose Cleaner||Essential Shield Multi-purpose Cleaner|
|Tei Fu Oil||Tei-Fu Soothing Blend Authentic Essential Oil|
|Wild Thyme Authentic Oil is available through the|
Sunshine Direct program (contact Nature’s Sunshine
Canada at 1-800-265-9163 for instructions)
or by special order from Cobblestone Health
firstname.lastname@example.org or 403-850-5503).
|Thyme, Wild Authentic Essential Oil|
|Tea Tree Oil*||Tea Tree Authentic Essential Oil*|
*If you choose to use another brand of essential oils, please use at least double the amount listed in the recipe, as these recipes were designed for the potency and purity of NSP essential oils.
Gardner, Joy. The New Healing Yourself. The Crossing Press, Freedom, California, 1989.
Smith, Lendon. Feed Yourself Right. Dell Publishing Co., Inc., New York, New York, 1983.
Yaller, Raye and Robert. How to Stay Well Without Pain. Woodland Health Books, Provo, Utah, 1987.
Copyright © 2015 by Judith Cobb, Cobblestone Health Ltd. All rights reserved. Please respect the time it takes to write and publish articles. If you will link to this article and give proper attribution, you are encouraged to quote sections (though not the entire article).