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Summer is a season of celebration, sunshine and the great outdoors. But too much of these can leave us feeling less than comfortable. Whether it’s silly-season stress, sunburn, insect bites or just intense heat, summer can have its pitfalls. Luckily, nature’s bounty provides us with all the right remedies. Here’s how you can soothe those summer sorrows naturally.
Peppermint and Spearmint essential oils effectively soothe summer skin with sense trickery. Think about the way minty toothpaste makes your mouth feel cold when you use it. The toothpaste itself isn’t cold, but the menthol in the mint reacts to receptors in your mouth to make you feel cold sensations.
The menthol in Peppermint and Spearmint works the same magic on your skin. It affects cells in the skin that are part of the somatosensory system. That’s the part of our bodies that sense touch, temperature and pain. These sensors are on the lookout for proteins that trigger a signal sent to the brain telling it about the environment. Menthol triggers the pathway that tells our brain that it’s cold. That’s why we get a cold sensation, even when it’s hot.
Before you drench yourself in peppermint oil, remember it needs to go into a carrier oil. Because minty oils have an intense aroma a dilution of 1% or less is recommended. That’s about one drop of essential oil in a teaspoon of carrier oil.
You should also consider what carrier oil is best for your skin in summer. Most carrier oils are excellent for hydration and keeping your skin moisturised. But in summer, a super thick carrier oil can leave you feeling greasy and can exacerbate a hot and stuffy feeling.
Carrier oils such as Jojoba, Sweet Almond or Argan feel lighter and absorb into the skin quickly. They all contain essential fatty acids that form part of your skin’s barrier. Essential fatty acids may help strengthen this protective barrier that keeps skin looking plump and helps it retain moisture. They also contain vitamin E which may have antioxidant effects on the skin and can help to protect against free-radical damage. This may be especially helpful for skin that’s seen a little too much UV.
This application of Peppermint and Spearmint essential oils are best reserved for strategic application on pulse points or on the back of the neck rather than all over. It can also be rubbed into your temples to help with headaches, but other than that, we wouldn’t recommend application on the face.
Another way to make the most of Peppermint and Spearmint’s cooling potential is to use them as a mist. Peppermint and Spearmint floral waters are made (by us!) by adding a bit of essential oil to water that’s been purified by reverse osmosis. It’s a very fancy way to give you easy access to high-quality water-based plant products (as opposed to hydrosols – we explain here).
Our Peppermint and Spearmint floral waters still contain menthol, just at a much lower concentration. This means that unlike essential oils, floral waters are gentle enough to be used as-is. Their water-solubility also makes them excellent in room or body mists.
If you’re sensitive to menthol, you can still use floral water as a mist to help you cool down. All you need to do is store the mist in the fridge! Chilled Lavender or Chamomile floral water can not only cool you down but calm you down too. They’re made from Lavender and Chamomile essential oils so they possess the same mood-soothing properties that may help you chill out in more ways than one during a long hot summer.
Diffusing the right essential oils can also help to ease summer stress. Peppermint and Spearmint are obvious cool choices, but if you’re not a fan of minty fragrance, Eucalyptus Blue Mallee Oil is said to have the same cooling effect. A touch of Lemongrass essential oil can add a hint of freshness to stale air and is a sweeter insect-repelling alternative to Citronella.
Eucalyptus Lemon Ironbark essential oil is also believed to have cooling effects and act as an effective natural insect repellent. When diffusing in summer, we would recommend using an ultrasonic diffuser that uses vibrations rather than heat to release oil into the air.
If your face or entire body could do with some coolth, we recommend Aloe Vera Gel. Unlike essential oils, it’s gentle enough slather all over your face and body. It’s widely used as a herbal remedy for mild burns (including sunburn).
Aloe Vera Gel is produced by the aloe vera plant, so if you happen to have one around you can snap part of the plant off and rub it against affected areas. If you don’t, or prefer something a little more refined and ready to be smoothed all over your body, try our expertly designed Aloe Vera Gel made with 100% pure Australian Aloe Vera.
Aloe Vera is said to be good for sunburn because it contains proteins that may reduce inflammation. This makes it super soothing for inflamed sunburned skin. It’s also extremely hydrating which can help ease dryness, but because it’s a gel it feels less greasy and heavy. It’s always a good idea to pop some Aloe Vera Gel in the fridge in summer for emergency skin situations.