Most of us love long summer days at the beach or in the sun…but often our skin comes off second best if we have gotten too much sun exposure. I’m a big believer of getting adequate Vitamin D from daily sun exposure, and I’m also a big believer in nourishing and rehydrating your skin. Especially after sun exposure and if we don’t want the wrinkles and leathery skin to go with it.
I’ve used this recipe on my family for the last couple of years, and my hubby always comments on how amazing it makes his skin feel, especially when he knows he might be looking like a slightly undercooked lobster later that day!
I used to use commercial after sun gels years ago - and I really did just think they did just contain aloe vera gel. Well that’s what the front of the bottle made me believe. Now have a look at these ingredients from a popular commercial after sun Aloe Vera Gel:
Water, Alcohol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Glycerin, Polysorbate 20, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Triethanolamine, Panthenol, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Fragrance, Menthol, Disodium EDTA, Benzophenone-4, Diazolidinyl Urea, CI 19140, CI 42090.
I’ll just pick out a couple of these to dive into:
Triethanolamine: also known as TEA, is a reactionary byproduct of two toxic substances: ethylene oxide and ammonia.
Fragrance: the word "fragrance" or "parfum" on the product label represents an undisclosed mixture of various scent chemicals and ingredients used as fragrance dispersants such as diethyl phthalate. Fragrance mixes have been associated with allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress and potential effects on the reproductive system (straight from www.EWG.org)
Did that shock you just a little bit? I know I was. And even though there might only be small amounts in this products, it’s the accumulation of synthetics and chemicals like these in MOST of our daily products, and over years of use that causes problems ranging from asthma and allergies, all the way through to autoimmune diseases and cancer. And remember our baby’s skin is so so much more sensitive than ours, they are like sponges and absorb everything.
So let’s get to a simple and easy replacement!
The reason I chose these essential oils are for their skin nourishing properties. Lavender, Geranium and Frankincense are a staple in my homemade moisturiser along with coconut and Jojoba oil. And Peppermint essential oil was added as it is so cooling and feels great on the skin, hence why it’s great to apply after sun exposure.
50ml Aloe Vera Gel*
8 drops of Lavender Essential Oil
6 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil
2 drops of Geranium Essential Oil
2 drops of Frankincense Essential Oil
50ml pump bottle
Add aloe vera gel and the essential oils into the pump bottle.
Shake and pump as needed.
To find out more about essential oils check out how to use them here.
* Aloe Vera Gel
As we’ve just learnt about commercial products, make sure you look into what ingredients might be hiding in your aloe vera gel if you’re buying it, unless you’re making it fresh from the plant.
Most of them will have a thickener added as otherwise it will just feel like water, which is fine as you’re still getting the hydration from the aloe vera and you can just use a spray bottle instead. Or you could also use a carrier oil such as coconut or Jojoba oil too.
If you’re planning on having the aloe vera mixture sit for over a week, you should also consider finding as good a quality preservative as you can. Anything that has water added will mean bacteria and other things will start growing. I make mine in small batches and keep them in the fridge as this helps with the shelf life too and feels extra cool!