I love summer! I am all about the sunshine and the warm weather! God created plants to feed and nurture us, and they also provide some wonderful remedies for the problems that summertime brings. Essential oils are a great addition to your summer first aid kit. Check out these tips for how to enjoy your summer without letting bugs, heat, sunburn, or environmental allergies curtail your fun in the sun.
Creepy Crawly Repellents
Bugs are the bane of the summer months – as soon as you head out to the grill or sit down on the deck to enjoy your iced coffee, you’re dive-bombed by mosquitoes, wasps, and, at my house this year, weird flying ants. Instead of reaching for the commercial bug repellents that can be bad for you and the environment, are toxic around food, and contain chemicals you don’t want absorbed into your skin, try some essential oils to keep those pests away safely.
Mosquitos hate the smell of citronella, which is available in a liquid form for refillable lamps that can be burned outside to make the mozzies stay away. Other aromatherapy oils helpful to repel mosquitos and other pests include peppermint, lemon, eucalyptus, basil, clove, thyme, lemongrass, geranium, and lavender; make up a spray with a few of your favorites (20 drops of oil + 1 tsp witch hazel + water) or take your diffuser outside!
Fleas can be more prevalent in hot weather, but they hate cedarwood, citronella, eucalyptus, tea tree, lemongrass, lavender, orange, and pine. (Some essential oils are suitable for dogs, but check with your vet and consider the size and age of your dog. Remember when using essential oils on animals – less is more and dilute, dilute, dilute.)
Ticks. (Did you just shudder? I hate ticks.) Keep them at bay with rose geranium, juniper, rosewood, thyme, grapefruit, and oregano.
Hello lavender, my old friend. Lavender essential oil is the queen of calm for skin and mind, as well as a bug repellent, so it is a summer must have. For sunburn, use lavender oil topically to soothe the heat and redness and promote healing. If you happen to get bitten by something small and mean, lavender can calm that itch or sting and is safe to use without diluting on adults and in small areas on children. (For large areas of sunburn on children dilute 1:1 with a carrier oil or make a spray with the same ratios as the bug repellent spray.)
Cooling Oils for Sticky Days
Beat the heat with peppermint, spearmint, or chamomile. Apply a tiny dab of peppermint oil on the back of your neck (if you have sensitive skin dilute with carrier oil). Peppermint is another summer must have. It will instantly cool you off, helps keep bugs away, and stops itching from existing bug bites. Spearmint has similar results but doesn’t have as strong of a cooling effect and is gentler on the skin. Chamomile is an even gentler alternative, as it’s a cooling and anti-inflammatory oil that can be used undiluted on your skin.
Sniffly, Sneezy…Be Gone!
Chamomile and peppermint can be helpful for environmental allergies. My all-time favorite combination for anything stuffy, sniffly, headachy, etc. is equal parts lemon, lavender, and peppermint in the diffuser.
Last but not least, summer fun can cause some swelling especially in your hands and feet. Humidity, heat, sitting for long periods while traveling, and being on your feet more can all lead to retained fluid over the summer months. A massage with cypress and tangerine oil can really help to boost lymphatic flow and release excess fluids trapped in body tissue.
*Summer caution with Essential Oils: Do not use grapefruit, lemon, or lime essential oils on exposed skin less than 2 hours before or while you are out in the sun as they can enhance the effects of the sun and give you a nasty burn quickly.