When you plan your spring break trip, it’s typically the time for a sunny vacation, and the first real exposure to sun if you live in a seasonal state. After hearing about friends spring break trips and having one of my own, I felt this post was some much-needed advice. My guess is that if you live in a seasonal state, you haven’t been exposed to the sun for months, and your skin is now more sensitive to that high intensity exposure. Let’s be real, the odds of you getting sunburnt on your spring break trip, at least a little, are leaning towards highly likely. I know for me, no matter how much sunscreen I put on and pre-tanning I do, I can’t completely escape it. As well, typically with sunny, humid places, comes the presence of unwanted, bugs and pests. So you’ve got your sun and your bugs, but you’re on vacation, so how do you prevent that or quickly treat it?
Growing up in Hawaii, and traveling to some warmer vacation spots, I’ve had some time to learn a few tricks on sunburn and bug bite remedies that you can take with you into the summertime!
Bug bite Prevention and Treatements
Tip No. 1: Toothpaste
As much as we try to prevent bug bites, they are inevitable. Apply toothpaste to the bug bites to help relieve the itchiness and inflammation. Research shows that the menthol in the toothpaste alleviates itching and also mitigates the inflamed bite, speeding up the healing process.
Tip No. 2: Shower after you sweat:
When you sweat, your skin emits lactic acid, which is highly appealing to mosquitos. With that in mind, try to take a shower or wash off your sweat with a cloth before bugs come out at sunset. Doing this is just one way to keep yourself from being the main target of mosquitos.
Tip No. 3: Bounce and Avon Skin-So Soft Dryer sheets
Growing up in Hawaii, I never really knew why we rubbed dryer sheets on our legs at night time, it was just a force of habit. When I did more research, I found that dryer sheets that include the ingredient, Linalool, are proven to help repel certain bugs, including mosquitos. Linalool is a common floral-scented ingredient used in cosmetics, perfumes, and some plants such as lavender, coriander, and basil. With that said, before you go out at night in a humid place that is known for mosquitos, grab your dryer sheets out of the laundry room and rub it all over your arms and legs. This will help repel bugs and doesn’t smell nearly as bad as bug spray.
Tip No. 4: use Vaporrub as a repellent:
Maybe you’ve used VaporRub on your cheeks and under your eyes when you were little during cold and flu season to alleviate congestion, but have you tried using it to deter bugs? You may have thought that VaporRub is only for opening up your congested passageways during sickness, however the mentholated ointment also acts as a barrier to annoying bugs. Rub some on your wrists, ankles, neck, before venturing in areas where you might be bitten.
Tip No. 5: Hot or cold compress
This is simple, straightforward and effective remedy that helps to reduces itchiness, which in turn stimulates faster healing. Once you’ve been bitten take a hot or cold compress and hold it on the bug bite to help calm down swelling, essentially freezing or burning out the itchiness.
Tip No. 6: Tea Tree oil
This has always been a staple in my childhood house in Hawaii. Use a cotton ball to dab a small amount of tea tree oil on your bug bit to soothe itching. You most likely know that scratching your bites only makes it worse, so using an anti-itch cream will help you forget its there and heal within days!
Tip No. 7: nail polish
I recently heard a tip that applying nail polish on a bug bite helps heal quicker, so I decided to do some research. What I found is that the itchy feeling that happens when you have bug bites is actually caused by blood rushing to fill in the small entrance, which causes it to inflame, and then the blood pressure sets off the nerve endings. Therefore, by putting nail polish over the bug bite hole will actually keep the area around the entrance more stable, become less inflamed and making it heal faster. I’ve never tried this myself, but research shows that it works – so give it a try!
It’s hot: Sun Burn Treatments
Tip No. 1: apple cider vinegar baths
Once you have your sunburn that you tried oh-so-hard to prevent, there’s only so much you can do other than give it time to heal. I’ve found that adding one cup of apple cider vinegar to your bath to help balance your pH of sunburned skin and promote quicker healing. Try this next time you’ve got a sunburn and remember not to make the water too hot!
Tip No. 2: Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is your best friend when you’re burning red. Be sure to buy the Fruit of the Earth brand (I’ve had the quickest healing with this one), to help soothe and moisturize sunburnt skin. Apply it to dry skin whenever you feel necessary, I recommend often, and especially before bed.
Tip No. 3: Baby powder
I thank my mom for teaching me this one. When you’re sun burnt its sometimes hard to sleep with clothes, blankets, anything irritating or touching your skin and creating heat. Therefore, before you go to bed, put on aloe vera, and let it dry. Following that add baby powder to your skin and also in your sheets. Sleeping in baby powder creates a cool and breezy feel that eliminates rough edges and heat build up in your bed.
Tip No. 4: Black tea cloth: reducing sunburns redness and speeding up the recovery process.
This remedy takes a little more effort, but is 100% worth it. After you’ve burned, boil a little bit of water and brew a few bags of black tea. Once it has steeped for a few minutes, add medium-cool water to make a larger amount of liquid to use. Be sure that the tea water isn’t too hot, since you’re sunburnt that won’t feel good. From there, use a washcloth to apply it to affected areas. It may seem interesting, but the tannic acid in the tea eases the heat and provides relief. If you have a few bags of mint tea, put a bag or two of that in there to infuse the black tea – the mint will act as a cooling agent (like when you eat minty gum and then drink water and breathe in, your mouth feels cold!).
Tip No. 5: Cold showers
Last but not least, only take medium-cold showers when you’re sunburnt. Hot showers will only hurt your skin and create swelling.
Hopefully these will help you as you begin to enjoy the warmer days and nights that summer brings. If you have any tricks you’ve used to prevent or remedy bug bites and sunburns, comment below! The more advice the better – you can never know too many tricks.