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Natural Alternatives for Your Summer Pharmacy

As more time is spent outside this season, environmental factors play even more of a role in our experience. We may expose our skin to the sun for too long at the beach, get stung by a wasp on the patio, or become a feast for the mosquitoes on a camping trip.

While many over the counter or prescription remedies can provide relief, they also come coupled with potentially harmful toxins. Thankfully there are many effective natural alternatives, and I’ve put together a master list to cover your Summer pharmacy needs naturally.


Natural Bug Sprays

Nothing can ruin a Summer night than a swarm of bugs! Some bugs may also pose a potential threat to our health as they may be carriers of other diseases such as Lyme disease.

So what can we do when most common bug sprays contain harmful pesticides and toxins, such as N-diethyl-meta-toluamide (otherwise known as DEET)?


Since bugs have a keen sense of smell, what may seem like a natural and fresh scent to us actually repels them! Many natural oils are used by natural brands to ward off the creepy crawlies, and are actually quite refreshing. Look for ingredients such as:

  • Tea tree oil
  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Citronella oil
  • Lemongrass oil
  • Peppermint oil
  • Lavender oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Castor oil
  • Geranium oil
  • Rosemary oil

*Note: Do not apply essential oils directly to skin. They must always be mixed with a carrier oil.


If you already have some essential oils on hand, you can experiment with making your own! There are many easy recipes to try with other household ingredients such as apple cider vinegar, witch hazel, rubbing alcohol and lemon juice.

Keep in mind that using natural alternatives may require more frequent re-application as they do not contain harmful long-lasting chemicals.


Natural Sunscreens

Many sunscreens contain toxic ingredients that can get absorbed through the skin and disrupt your endocrine (hormone) system. Avoid ingredients such as oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and avobenzone.


Many natural sunscreens use the minerals Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide as the active ingredient.

You can find natural sunscreens at many health food stores, or you can make your own at home using some simple ingredients. However, keep in mind that they aren’t invincible, and you will still need to take other sun protection measures (hat or cover up), and remember to reapply frequently and after swimming.


After sun care

Many popular after sun products rate high on toxins according to EWG’s Skin Deep analysis. Thankfully, there are many easy and natural alternatives for after sun care that won’t cause harm to our health.


Not only is this a low maintenance house plant, it is also a great ally in soothing your sunburnt skin.


Lavender essential oil is a great support - a small bottle goes a long way as you only need 1-2 drops applied to the skin along with another carrier oil such as coconut oil, grapeseed oil or Jojoba oil.


Afterbite care

These chemical free remedies for easing bug bite discomfort are also found around the house and are very cost effective.


Not only is this a gentle remedy, it provides relief for irritation and itchiness. Simply combine enough with water to form a small paste & apply directly to skin.


This cooling oil provides refreshing relief to irritated skin and also contains many anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Make sure to mix with a carrier oil or dilute with water in a homemade spray.


Another calming option for soothing the skin is Lavender. The oil is very supportive for inflammation and reduces itching within minutes.


Perhaps the easiest remedy of them all! The coldness reduces swelling and inflammation.


Natural painkillers

Natural pain relievers may not be supportive for all types of pain, but they offer an alternative for those of us who want to avoid long-term side effects from popular over the counter pain relief medications.


There are many herbs and plants with pain relieving properties that can be bought or made in the form of tinctures, teas or topicals that can assist us with pain relief by reducing inflammation such as:

  • Feverfew
  • Ginger
  • Turmeric
  • Rosemary
  • Cloves
  • Peppermint or Spearmint

* Always consult your healthcare provider before introducing any herbs as they may be natural but can be contraindicated with other medications.


Allergy care

Natural options to support and provide relief for symptoms like congestion, headaches and itchy eyes caused by the histamine response caused by exposure to allergens are:

  • Limiting Pesticide Exposure
  • Keeping Hydrated
  • Using Antihistamine Herbs & Nutrients. Stinging nettle, thyme, parsley, and chamomile are all excellent options. Spices like turmeric and ginger can also be effective. Quercetin and Vitamin C can also be highly effective nutrients to combat the histamine release.

I hope these natural alternatives are supportive for all your summer pharmacy needs! May your skin be less itchy, may you breathe easy & have more room to enjoy this beautiful season!

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