Soothe summer skin: botanical balms will relieve the season’s No. 1 skin complaint

Soothe summer skin: botanical balms will relieve the season’s No. 1 skin complaint

Megan O’Connell

What prompts more visits to the dermatologist than anything else during the summer? “Itching,” says Jerome Litt, M.D., author of Skin From A to Z. Everything from heat rash and sunburn to bug bites and allergies can trigger this irksome reaction.

Succumbing to your urge to scratch will only make things worse, according to a recent study in the journal Neurology. If your skin condition is painful or swollen, see your doctor for prescription-strength hydrocortisone, For relief of milder cases, look for products that contain these plant-based skin soothers:

colloidal (or crushed) oatmeal enriches Aveeno’s Anti-Itch Gel Spray ($6: at drugstores).

cooling menthol, derived from peppermint plants, is a key ingredient in Eucerin Itch-Relief Moisturizing Spray ($7.50; at drugstores).

aloe vera gel provides tried-and-true benefits in Shaman Earthly Organics Anti-Itch Creme ($5; 877-527 6601).

SKIN TREND refrigerate after opening

Ever wonder how skin-care products stay stable for up to a year? Preservatives. Without them, water (a key ingredient) becomes a breeding ground for harmful bacteria, triggering possible allergic reactions, says Chicago-based dermatologist Marianne O’Donoghue, M.D. However, preservatives can irritate sensitive skin as well. The solution? Preservative-free offerings like Body Dell Fresh Facial Masques ($24 to $30; thebodydeli.com) and Lush Bio Fresh cleansers, masks and foot-care products ($6.30 to $7.65; lush.com). Our favorites are so fresh they require refrigeration and carry an expiration date.

COPYRIGHT 2004 Weider Publications

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group