Summer is a wonderful time of year for getting outdoors and being more active, but along with summer comes itching. Mosquito bites, poison ivy, heat rash, allergies, dry skin from chlorine, and more can all contribute to summertime itchiness.
While scratching may feel good, it can also break the skin, leaving you vulnerable to infection. Instead, here are a few natural remedies to help you find relief from itching:
– Aloe vera: Cut a leaf from an aloe vera plant, slice it down the middle, and rub the gooey gel inside directly onto the itch.
– Baking soda: Add one cup of baking soda to a tub of warm water, soak for hanf an hour, and air dry. For smaller areas, you can make a paste by mixing three parts baking soda to one part water. Apply this directly onto the affected area, but not over broken skin.
– Basil: This popular herb contains a substance called eugenol, which numbs the nerve endings that cause itching. Place a tablespoon of dried basil leaves in 16 ounces of boiling water, keeping the pan covered. Allow it to cool before applying to itchy skin. Reserve the rest in a mason jar to use later.
– Burdock root: Apply the oil from the plant directly to the affected area.
– Chamomile tea: Instead of drinking it, rub a little cold or lukewarm chamomile tea onto rashes with a cotton ball.
– Cold compress: Apply an ice pack or cold washcloth to any itchy areas, as needed.
– Cornstarch: You can pour some into your bath water, or rub it dry onto the affected areas.
– Juniper berries and cloves: This is an ancient Native American remedy. Juniper berries have anti-inflammatory properties and, like basil, cloves contain eugenol. To make a remarkably effective natural itch salve, melt two tablespoons of of beeswax in a saucepan, add about 1/3 cup unsalted butter, 1/3 cup ground juniper berries, and a tablespoon of ground cloves and stir. Allow the salve to cool before applying to itchy skin, as needed.
– Lemon: Lemon oil has anti-inflammatory properties, which can relieve itching. Squeeze the juice from a lemon wedge directly onto itchy skin and allow it to dry.
– Mint: Menthol, the same component that gives mint its characteristic kick, is what makes it effective at fighting itches. Menthol is an anti-inflammatory that can be absorbed into the skin. Place two tablespoons of dried mint leaves in 16 ounces of boiling water. Cover and allow to cool. Allow it to cool before applying to itchy skin. Reserve the rest in a mason jar to use later.
– Oatmeal: Add up to two cups of oatmeal, ground into a fine powder, to warm bath water.
– Thyme: Like basil and mint, thyme also has anti-inflammatory properties, and is also a numbing agent. Place a tablespoon of dried thyme leaves in a 16 ounces of boiling water. Allow it to cool before applying to itchy skin. Reserve the rest in a mason jar to use later.
– Vitamin C: Eat foods rich in this nutrient to help your body fight off a rash.
– Vitamin E: Rub some vitamin E oil on your skin, and take a supplement, too, for healthier skin.
– Witch hazel: This inexpensive drugstore astringent can help relieve itchy skin. It comes from the bark of the witch hazel shrub, and can be made at home, if you have access to the plant. Just boil about a pound of the twigs in two gallons of water.