Living Arts Weekly: Natural Summer Sun Relief

July 9, 2023

For this week’s article on Nurturing Care, I offer some simple recipes for summertime self-care after days in the sun.

I am not one to shy away from the outdoors in the midsummer heat. I don’t particularly love the high temperatures and humidity of Kansas City summers, but being outdoors is so much more essential to my well being than complaining about the weather, so I make do as best I can. Acclimating to it as soon as possible is an essential step, as is staying hydrated and protected from sun damage so that I can spend long hours in my gardens and then relish in resting afterwards with a tasty beverage and a book.

Finding the right kind of long sleeves and sun hats has been my preference so that I can avoid having to apply sunscreen, but we all have moments when we’re not properly prepared and suffer the burn later. Luckily, there are a number of plants who have blessed us with healing properties to relieve our pain and soothe our poor sunburned skin, and they are pretty easy to add to an all-purpose salve.

Skin Relief for Sun Damage

A base recipe is pretty much the same for any salve, with some variation to the room temperature texture. Simply put, the greater the ratio of oils that are liquid at room-temperature (olive, jojoba, sweet almond, shea nut oil) to wax or oils that harden at room temperature (beeswax, coconut, shea butter)  that you use, the softer salve you will get. Mine is a recipe crafted after several years of making it as gifts with young children in my care, and the texture is easy to scoop and apply without being too oily. This last year, I tried shea nut oil instead of shea butter and loved the difference.


If you would like to learn how to infuse your oils and learn more about these medicinal plants (calendula, plantain, dandelion and jewelweed) see this recipe from Seeking Joyful Simplicity. 

Staying Hydrated

Hydration is equally important so that I don’t end up exhausted with a headache later instead of enjoying my later afternoon siesta. Here, I also prefer something inexpensive and homemade to the myriad of brightly-colored electrolyte beverages available. Here is what I like to sip on in the heat: 

Hope you enjoy using these little recipes for some nourishing self-care this summer!