Homemade - Thrifty!

I have a killer sunburn this week. I used a Museum Adventure Pass to visit the Chicago Botanic Garden for free and I neglected to put sunscreen on my shoulders. Ouch! I could have picked up a container of after-sun lotion at the drugstore for $10.99, but where’s the thriftiness in that? I prefer to mix up my own home remedies for nuisances like sunburn, mosquito bites and chapped lips. This week, I’m going to share a few of my recipes with you. Unlike the myriad of recipes you find in books, though, mine actually work!

Fair warning: be sure to test these concoctions on a small patch of skin and wait 24 hours to see whether you will have an adverse reaction. Please be smart when exposing your skin to new substances!

After-Sun Soother
Even the most careful of us sometimes get sunburned. To soothe my sunburn cheaply (and naturally!) I start with a cool shower. This dulls the burning sensation on the skin and gets the burned area nice and clean (remember, burned skin is damaged and should be treated with care). Then I soak a washcloth in apple cider vinegar and lay it on the burned skin. It banishes the pain like a charm! Have a glass of cool chamomile tea and you’ll drop right to sleep.

For Mosquito Bites
Get some ice on your bite right away. It’ll lessen your urge to scratch and reduce any swelling. Then dampen a piece of cotton with witch hazel and cover the affected area (or areas, if mosquitoes love you as much as they love me). Witch hazel reduces inflammation and skin irritation. A good preventative, by the way, is lavender. Just rub the flower on your skin and mosquitoes will (mostly) avoid you. Come see me at the reference desk this week and I’ll tell you all about my favorite brand of witch hazel!

Lip Balm
3 T grated unbleached beeswax
5 T sunflower oil
10 drops of your favorite essential oil (mine is lavender)
1 T honey, for flavor
Melt beeswax and sunflower oil over a double boiler, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; add honey and essential oil. Mix thoroughly to prevent honey from clumping. Pour into empty cosmetics jars. Your lip balm will be ready to use in about an hour.