Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mercredi: The Art of Beauty

The so called “dog days” of summer are surely upon most of the Northern Hemisphere right now.  Heat indexes have gone sky high in various parts of the globe and that gets people thinking about shedding clothing when they venture outside.  Unfortunately, lots of swimming and beach going can lead to over exposure to the sun and sunburn. 

Up here at the top of the world summertime sunburns happen faster than they do down toward the equator because of the proximity of the sun and the long hours of daylight.  Of course you should slather on the SPF 30 even if you’re only running to the mailbox.  Accidents happen, though, and when friends ask me what can help take the sting out of a sunburn the first thing I recommend is a plant no home should be without, aloe vera.  Slice open a fresh leaf and literally put it right next to the burn (this works with first degree burns from fire sources as well).  Leave it until the skin feels less sensitive and then rinse gently with cool water.  Repeat daily until healing begins.

When a sunburn is covering too much skin area to make the aloe treatment practical, consider this easy to concoct cooling bath.  It utilizes the antiseptic properties of calendula and the soothing relief of buttermilk.

¼ cup dried calendula flowers
¼ cup dried buttermilk

Combine ingredients in a bowl and put them in the middle of a piece of muslin or cotton about 12 inches square.  Bring the sides of the square together and tie it tightly with a string.  Put the muslin square in a bath filling with lukewarm water.  Leave the bag in the water with you.  You can even press it gently to particularly painful areas of skin.

This bath also works well for heat rash, which is not uncommon this time of year.  A votre santé ~

Header: circa 1862  photograph of Cora Pearl, the famous demimondaine, whose complexion was rumored to be perfect due to her frequent baths in water steeped with calendula flowers


Timmy! said...

Now, if we just had a cure for the mosquitos, Pauline.

Pauline said...

The aloe should work on that too, unless you're like me and allergic to them.