Skin Care for Summer in the Sun

Posted on Saturday, July 31st, 2010

J. Blythe Adams, Western Clinical Herbalist

It is finally that time of year again.  Beaches on oceans, rivers, hot springs and lakes means spending a lot more time in the sunshine.

There are some simple things you can do to nourish and protect your skin.

Did you know that your skin is your largest organ?

Your skin is also responsible for over ¼ of your daily waste removal.  Keeping your skin moisturized and nourished is critical as it helps prevent viruses and bacteria from entering our bodies.

Preventative measures for sun exposure

The first thing to do is perhaps skip using your soap in the shower and bath.  Soap strips your skin of its natural protective oils.  A well known herbal recipe for an alternative scrub is Body and Face-Scrub Cleanser.

Another preventative measure you can take is to make sure that you are getting enough Essential Fatty Acids in your diet.  EFA’s reduce inflammation, and are vital to keeping water and moisture in your skin.

Lastly, make sure that you drink lots of water.  It is a key element to supple skin.

Sun after-care

Using Fresh Aloe Gel immediately after sun exposure is one of the best facial treatments that you can get.  It helps skin conditions of all kinds, especially useful for burns, first aid, sunburns and as a moisturizer.

The next thing to do to nourish your skin is to use light oils to re-hydrate and soothe your skin after spending time in the sun.  Light oils are best – such as sweet almond oil (Amygdalus communis) or Apricot Oil (Prunus armeniaca).  I find that using straight oils after being in the sun are more useful.  Oils protect the skin from the sun and wind. To take oils a step further, using light oils infused with some of the following herbs will facilitate healing of the skin.

Calendula Oil ( Calendula officinalis) DSCF5145-1

is the primary oil used in many creams and lotions – it has an affinity for the skin.  Calendula is anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, antiseptic, and anti-oxidant. It is the best oil dry and damaged skin, and many reduce inflammation that comes from being in the sun.

Plaintain Oil (Plantago lanceolata, Plantago major) has skin nutritive qualities as well.  Soothes damaged skin.  It is also healing to small bites, stings and cuts.

St. Johnswort Oil (Hypericum perforatum)


also helps soothe sun-burned skin.  It is a cooling anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial.  Great for chapped skin.

The medicinal oils are available at your local herb store or through online herbal stores.  If you happen to have access to Calendula, St, Johnswort or Plantain, you can easily infuse these oils yourself.