There aren’t that many things that define Canada but camping is one of them. Lets be honest, if you’ve lived in the great white north, you’ve had to rough it at least once. Maybe just to try it. Or because your parents thought it would be good for you. While many of my friends have portaged in a canoe (you can’t get more Canuck than that), if you’re like me, you’re happy sunning yourself lakeside. Either way, you’re exposed to the beautiful outdoors…and all of the assaults on your skin that the wilderness brings. Luckily there are a few common natural ingredients that you can throw into your backpack for some natural first aid. This also applies to trekking in Asia, or like my recent trip to Thailand, chillin’ in the jungle. So, calling all adventure-seeking types: here are some of the most common “roughing it” skin problems and their natural fixes.
Cuts and Scrapes
There is no escaping cuts or scrapes when spending time outdoors. Nature just isn’t designed to be smooth and silky (Valour tree?). So, I always pack a vial of organic lavender essential oil. This oil is anti-bacterial and stimulates skin regeneration. I actually use it a lot for scar repair. It is also one of the few essential oils that you can apply directly onto a wound without burning your skin – most essential oils need to be diluted. But this potent oil is safe to apply directly to the cut or scrape and won’t cause the feeling of burning that old fashioned iodine does. Its also not going to stain your skin and everything around it. Voila – nature’s polysporin! All you need is a drop or two so you can bring a tiny bottle with you when camping making it easy to pack and be mobile with.
I hate mosquitoes. I love all of nature’s creatures but the jury is still out on these little pests. One reason is because my bite puff out to big pink welts that make me look like I have a disease. It doesn’t help that they loooove me. I have tried so many repelling practices going so far as to order special vitamin B1 patches from the US because apparently they hate the smell of it in our blood. Unfortunately, I always get bitten to bits. Remedy? Apple cider vinegar. Dab a little ACV on your bite and it takes the itch right out. And when we don’t itch, we prevent our bites from swelling up.
Many clients have gone on long treks or multi-day hikes and say that they’ve gotten rashes. It could be from chaffing, it could be from being in damp clothes. Most often these rashes are wet looking and sometimes have white pus on some of the bumps. Dry rashes that flake can be fixed up by slathering on organic coconut oil but wet rashes need to be soothed and de-damped. One amazing solution is the Pure + Simple SPF 30 for Sensitive Skin. The zinc oxide in the mineral sunblock disinfects as well as dried out the area. It also creates a protective barrier that’s water-proof, sweat-proof and alleviates chaffing. Multi-purpose product! Shield your skin from the sun and treat mystery rash at the same time.
Being outside means sun exposure. If you’re fair skinned and out for more than three hours, there is no sunblock on earth strong enough to protect you. The best solution is a shade break but I hear that’s hard on a portage. The best thing to deal with a burn is good old aloe. Fresh is the best and if you have a plant at home, throw a couple stems in with your gear. You can cut these open and apply the gel to your tender bits as needed. Like natural packets of calm! But if you can’t bring aloe fresh or in a bottle, the next best thing is clay. Some clays are dehydrating while others can be slightly moisturizing. The Pure + Simple Purifying French Clay can be used to temper angry burns as well as spot treat blemishes. So if you’re lucky enough not to burn, you always have an emergency stash for breakouts. Apply this overnight to pimples and say sayonara to sweat-induced blemishes.