By Sue Rodgers
IT’S that time of year again, when despite all the warnings we strip off and soak up too much sun.
Often we don’t realise the damage until it is too late, when those pink bits start to hurt.
Fortunately there are a number of herbal remedies that can bring relief, often instantly.
Top of the list is aloe vera, a fleshy cactus grown all over the Mediterranean.
To use, slice through one of the leaves and scoop out the sticky gel inside. Apply the gel to the burnt area and relief is almost instant.
Aloe vera not only soothes pain and calms any inflammation it also speeds up the healing process by stimulating the growth of new tissue.
I always keep a leaf of aloe vera in my fridge during the summer months as the extra cold soothes the pain even faster.
But if you don’t have access to fresh aloe vera, you can buy pure 100 per cent gels from health shops and some supermarkets.
Another herb that can be found in most beach bars and cafes in the form of tea bags is chamomile, known locally as manzanilla.
Add ice cubes to the tea and when cool apply to the pink bits.
Meanwhile lavender, the epitome of Mediterranean herbs, is one of the best to soothe the pain of sunburn due to its anti-inflammatory, analgesic and calming properties.
Robert Gattefosse, a French chemist and one of the founding fathers of aromatherapy, discovered the healing power of lavender in the 1920’s when he burned his hand in a laboratory experiment and plunged his hand into the
only thing nearby, a pot of lavender essential oil.
The pain disappeared and there was no scarring.
Essential oils – which can be bought from herbal and health shops as well as online – tend to come in small bottles, so this remedy will only treat a small area.
Always seek medical advice if the sunburn is severe or covers a significant part of the body as shock and infection can set in if not treated.
And remember that sunburn can also cause dehydration so drink plenty of water to help hydrate the body and skin.
But sunshine in small doses not only lifts the spirit, it provides plenty of vitamin D to keep bones healthy, so enjoy!