Q. Dear Natalie, I have been on vacation to Israel for just over one week and I am suffering from sunburn. Can you recommend any natural remedies to help reduce the redness? Thank You.

A. I chose to use this question in this week’s column since over 60 percent of my clients this week have been suffering from sunburn. Firstly, after you suspect your skin has been burned, take a cool shower or bath to halt the heating process.

There are several herbal treatments which can be consumed and applied to help the healing process, the most popular being the aloe vera plant. The gel sold in most Aloe Vera gels is made from the central part of the aloe leaf is the usual form of the herb used for sunburns. The active compound in aloe known as glycoprotein, not only reduces the redness, but also relieves the pain and inflammation present in sunburn. It is the aloe's polysaccharides which boost skin repair and growth. Apply generously and in severe cases frequently, however do not apply aloe to an open wound.

Another wonderful sunburn relief is Chamomile. The tea can be used to make an excellent wash for skin irritations, especially sunburn. You can create your own chamomile mix by boiling 1 lb chamomile flowers with 5 qts water and steep covered for 10 minutes. Alternatively you can use chamomile teabags. First strain and then add the infusion to bath water. For very dry skin, you can make a soothing chamomile oil by steeping 1 oz flowers in olive oil for 24 hours. Strain and then apply onto affected areas.

Another handy tip to apply to sunburnt skin is Oatmeal. This works particularly well to soothe sunburnt skin because the starch protects the burned area and helps to keep it moisturized. To use oatmeal on your sunburn, wrap a cup of dry oats in a square linen cloth (cheesecloth). Hold the linen filled with oats over a bowl in the sink and run cool water through the cloth until the bowl is full. Discard the oats and dip the cloth into the water. Then, using the cloth as a compress, apply it for 10 minutes every hour or so to the affected area for relief.

I also suggest drinking and applying green tea to the affected burnt areas. The contents of green tea, antioxidants, quercetin and Vitamin C, are all effective compounds that speed healing of sunburn. Simply follow the above guidelines as with the Chamomile and steep several green tea bags in hot water, cool and place them on the affected areas for sunburn relief.

Finally, perhaps the most traditional way to relieve sunburn is to use vinegar. Vinegar draws that all too familiar painful stinging sensation out of sunburned skin. Fill your bath with cool water and mix in 1 cup of white vinegar. Soak in the tub as long as you need until relief is achieved!

Q. Dear Natalie, as a tour guide I spend a lot of time in the sun. As well as applying sunscreen every-day, are there any vitamins I should be eating to protect my skin from the sun’s rays? Thank You

A. In the summer months, we do usually spend more time outdoors and I therefore am confronted with this question quite often. I strongly recommend protective gear such as hats and sunblock which help prevent sunburn, however, there are also certain vitamins which provide internal protection against the damaging effects of the sun.

Begin by increasing your Vitamin C intake in order to protect against and lessen the severity of sunburn. Vitamin C is an excellent antioxidant which assists with cellular repair and regeneration. Our skin does naturally produce it, however sunlight exposure can reduce the naturally-occurring Vitamin C in the skin. While vitamin supplements are readily available, you can also look to whole food sources like citrus fruits, watermelon, and broccoli.

Selenium is a fantastic vitamin which can lessen the risk of skin cancer due to sun exposure. Selenium also helps preserve the elasticity of the skin, also helping improve texture and appearance. As well as selenium supplements, you can try whole food sources such as tuna, boiled eggs, Brazil nuts, garlic and tofu.

Finally, I recommend you take Vitamin E supplements daily to lessen damage from the sun, especially wrinkles. Vitamin E helps protects cell membranes from damage by free-radicals. You can use supplements or try whole food sources of Vitamin E such as sunflower oil, wheat germ, almonds, hazelnuts and peanuts.

Q. Dear Natalie, although I am rather sunburnt, I have heard that Yoga can prevent dehydration and aging! Is this true? From a rather intrigued follower of your column.

A. In the days when we were hunter-gatherers, we got more than the daily exercise we needed to keep our bodies healthy and remain flexible. Although modern, sedentary life can be blamed a little it is also age that constricts muscles and joints. How ever active we are, our bodies will eventually dehydrate and stiffen with age. Once we reach adulthood, our tissues have lost approximately 15 percent of their moisture content, becoming less supple and therefore more prone to injury. Slowly our elastic fibers get bound up with collagenous connective tissue and become more and more stiff. Unless we stretch, we dry up. This is because stretching slows the process of dehydration by stimulating the production of tissue lubricants. It helps to pull the interwoven cellular cross-links apart and helps muscles rebuild with healthy parallel cellular structure. Even if you do not practice yoga routinely, try to fit in a short ten minute stretch each day…a stretch a day keeps old age away.

This column is brought to you as general information only and unless stated otherwise is not medical advice nor is it based on medical experiments. This column is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. For more information about specific problems, please contact a doctor.

Using natural remedies can support and treat all kinds of health problems; from acute to chronic. Book your free consultation today with Natalie to devise your own personal health plan: Telephone: 054-733-7401 or email nateopath@gmail.com

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