Hooray!!! Winter seems to finally be over (although watch us now be set for a blast of Arctic weather!) and I bet that here on the wonderful Jersey Lavender Farm we weren’t the only ones who got caught out with the burst of lovely weather that we’ve been having. Obviously here on Jersey we are lucky that we have the luxury of a tad more sunshine than the rest of the UK, but even so even we got so carried away with the joy of actually seeing some sunshine that we forgot about the sunscreen and ended up with a case of t-shirt sunburn – ouch!
However living and working on a Lavender Farm is terribly handy when it comes to a case of too much sun exposure, as lavender essential oil is a wonderful treatment for sunburn.
Sunburn is caused by overexposure of the skin to the ultraviolet (UV) rays that are contained in sunlight. There are three types of UV rays, two of which can be harmful to the skin:
- UVA rays – these rays penetrate deeper into unprotected skin and can damage the middle layer of the skin (the dermis). The dermis contains tissues that give skin its elasticity and as such it is overexposure to UVA rays that can cause the skin to age prematurely.
- UVB rays – these rays affect the top layer of your skin, the epidermis. It is overexposure to UVB rays that cause the epidermis to release chemicals that cause the pain, redness and swelling associated with sunburn.
- UVC rays – these less well known rays do not need to be protected from, as they are filtered by the earth’s atmosphere and so do not cause any harm to your skin.
The symptoms of sunburn typically include red sore skin (erythema) that is warm and tender to the touch. Affected skin then tends to peel and flake approximately four to seven days after damage. Different people are affected by sunburn to greater or lesser extents due to the amount of melanin in their skin. Those with darker skin tones, which contain higher amounts of melanin, can tolerate exposure to the sun’s UV rays for much longer than those with white and pale skin tones.
So how can lavender treat a nasty case of sunburn? Lavender acts to speed the skin’s healing and is also wonderfully calming and soothing to the skin, so it can be a great essential oil to opt for in cases of sunburn. There are a number of different ways that you can use lavender essential oil to treat sunburn:
- Create a simple, cooling skin spritz buy adding a few drops of lavender essential oil to a spray bottle of cool mineral (or filtered water) and spray onto your skin for a wonderfully cooling sensation.
- Soak in a cool (not cold and certainly not hot!) bath to which you have added 10 drops of lavender essential oil. You could also add a handful of bicarbonate of soda to the water, or tie a handful of oats into an old pair of tights (or similar) and run your bath water through that.
- Create a lavender coconut oil and massage into affected areas – simply mix 40 drops of lavender oil to 100ml of coconut oil (this may need to be gently heated first).
- Or add a few drops of lavender essential oil to a shop bought aloe vera gel (make sure that is a pure gel rather than some of the cheaper synthetic alternatives) – the combination of aloe and lavender is simply amazing for sunburn!