Yesterday I had a lovely day with my family at the beach. I'm always very sun conscious and slather on the sunscreen every couple hours, but between multiple dips in the Ocean and hours playing in the sand with my niece and nephew I managed to come away with a nasty burn on my upper back and shoulders.
So what to do? It was late at night and I just was not feeling heading out to buy aloe vera gel to soothe my stinging back. Nor was I willing to suffer through it. At 7 months pregnant I wasn't about to have yet another reason not to sleep through the night. So I decided to try making my own natural sunburn remedy. And let me tell ya', it was super duper easy and works a million times better than anything store bought! AND there's no yucky chemicals nor plastic packaging to toss in the landfill. Win-Win!
1. Start by cutting several large juicy leaves at the base. I used about 2 big fat leaves and 3 skinny leaves as to not destroy the entire plant.
2. Rest the leaves cut side down in a container to allow the sticky yellow resin to drain out. Don't skip this step or you will end up with a sticky residue in your gel that stains your skin (yick). Let them stand for 20 minutes or so. You will see the gooey yellow resin draining into the bottom of the glass.
3. Peel the leaves. I found the easiest way to do this was to peel one side (like you would a cucumber-lengthwise) with a vegetable peeler and then to scoop off the gel with a spoon from the other side. It will be a nice clear semi- solid gel. Do your best to peel all of the skin off and take care not to stab yourself with the spiky edges :) It will look like the pile in the middle of the cutting board in the image above. Cool right?
5. Blend Away! I pureed my gel in my knock off magic bullet which worked great. A blender or food processer would do the job as well. Aloe Vera is food safe so don't worry about it messing up your appliances. To give my gel a little help blending I added about a 1/4 cup of coconut oil ( about a 2:1 aloe to coconut ratio) It makes it smell delicious and firms up nicely in the fridge to give your gel a nice texture and added coolness when rubbing it on your skin.
6. Store your handmade aloe vera gel in an air tight container and chill it in the freezer for about twenty minutes before applying. Massage into affected ares. The gel will absorb into your skin after a few minutes and leave no residue on your skin. The next day your burn will be noticeably healed (mine was 90% gone) and your skin will feel moisturized and healthy! Reapply as needed.
*Don't mind my crummy pictures ^ they were taken in haste ;)
*You could also add a few drops of Vitamin E or your favorite essential oil for added fragrance and healing properties.
*This recipe makes about 3-4 ounces, which can be stored in the fridge for a month or two.
Not just a sunburn remedy! Other Uses~ Soothe minor burns in the kitchen, apply to dry scalp, moisturize dry itchy skin and helps heal acne.
This stuff is heaven guys! What do ya'll think? Are you willing to give your own handmade aloe vera gel a go?