This year has been one of immense change for me. After years of using chemical-ridden, gross-smelling bug sprays, lotions, and more, I’ve turned to more natural alternatives in an effort to take better care of my body. My family has quickly become obsessed with essential oils, and a number of diffusers are spread throughout our house to keep things fresh and germ-free.
In an effort to become more aware of what I’m putting on my skin this summer, I researched the best essential oil blends to keep on hand for all the inevitable scrapes and bumps we all get in the warmer months. Although many essential oils come with a rather steep price tag, they’re absolutely worth purchasing if you’re looking to remove factory-made chemicals and additives from your life.
#SpoonTip: These essential oil mixtures will need to be put into a carrier oil, as some undiluted oils shouldn’t be put directly onto your skin.
Bug Spray: Lavender, Peppermint, or Tea Tree Oil
Unlike the typical DEET-filled bug spray, lavender-based insect repellent not only smells fantastic, but also works like a charm. Lavender has been used as a bug repellent for centuries and helps disinfect skin and prevents the spread of infection caused by a bug bite.
Alternatively, peppermint oil has anti-inflammatory properties that works to lessen your scratching of the bites. Next to lavender, peppermint is the most versatile oil available and repels all sorts of bugs like ticks, spiders, and mosquitos. Tea tree oil is the easiest to buy at regular supermarkets and is a natural insecticide, meaning those pesky mosquitos will stay clear of you.
#SpoonTip: Many of the essential oils listed in this article can be used in teas as well. However, a few, like tea tree oil, should never be ingested. Make sure you do your research before ingesting any of these.
After-Sun Spray: Tea Tree, Lavender, or Helichrysum Oil
By college, we should all know to apply our SPF liberally before heading outside (‘should’ being the operative word here). For those days when you’ve neglected your sunscreen and get a little red, try using tea tree oil. This oil helps calm inflamed skin suffering from sunburn.
Lavender has similar properties, but has the added bonus of stimulating blood circulation, which then helps relieve pain and promote quicker healing. Helichrysum oil (good luck pronouncing that) is both anti-inflammatory and antiseptic, which makes it a good oil to have on hand for both burns and cuts.
Oily Skin Soother: Tea Tree, Rosemary, or Frankincense Oil
There are few things in life as irritating as having oily, pimple-prone skin, and the mix of SPF and sweat that accumulates on your skin in the summer often makes you feel like you’re reliving your middle school years. To tame oily skin, tea tree oil is an absolute godsend. With anti-bacterial properties, it helps clear out clogged pores and prevents future breakouts. Tea tree oil also helps diminish acne scarring, which is why it’s so common is natural acne products.
Rosemary oil helps balance oily skin and is a great oil to use year-round. Because of its antiseptic and antibacterial properties, rosemary oil is also good for treating pimples. Frankincense controls the oils on your face without drying out your skin and is a potent astringent, meaning your mammoth summertime pores won’t be an issue anymore (#bless).
Foot Odor Fighter: Tea Tree Oil
Please please please don’t be the friend who whips off their shoes in the car knowing that their feet will smell like death. To prevent future stink casualties, spritz some tea tree oil into your shoes. The oil will kill off any smell-inducing bacteria and will act as a natural fungicide, which will stop your athlete’s foot from flaring up… again.
Freckle Tamer: Frankincense, Lavender, or Myrrh Oil
Even though I love the look of my freckles, I also know that freckles are a sign of sun damage. To protect your skin from future damage, slather on some frankincense oil to help your skin repair the damage, freckly areas. Lavender oil works to regenerate your skin, which makes your freckles heal faster. Myrrh, though a bit smelly, is a good all-around oil for healing sun damaged skin and reducing fine lines and wrinkles.
Now that you know the basics of essential oils, you’re prepped and ready to protect your skin this summer.