Treating summer ailments doesn’t have to be expensive – or complicated. Stock up on everyday items to feel better all season.

1.    Soothe a sunburn: Vinegar

Plain white vinegar helps ease the pain and itch of a recent burn, and may also prevent blisters from forming.

Use it! If the burn is on your face, soak a cotton ball in vinegar and dab onto affected areas. If it’s on a larger part of your body, use a washcloth or paper towel and cover your skin for 15 minutes.

2.    Fade sun or age spots: Lemon juice

The citric acid in a lemon helps dissolve dead skin cells, exposing fresh skin underneath. Lemons also contain vitamin c, an antioxidant that protects the skin from future damage.

Lemon juice

Lemon juice

Use it! Cut the fruit in half and squeeze out the juice. Dab on skin with a cotton swab and leave on for 1 to 2 minutes before rinsing. Use this remedy before bed, but not in the morning (citrus contains a compound that can cause darkening when exposed to sunlight).

3.    Relieve an itchy bug bite: Bananas

The inside white part of a banana peel helps moisturize and calm irritation.



Use it! Apply the inside of the peel directly to the bite for 2 to 3 minutes.

4.    Calm swollen skin: Green tea bags

The tannins and caffeine in tea bags help reduce swelling. Green tea works best because it also contains EGCG, an anti-inflammatory compound.

Use it! Put used tea bags in the fridge for 30 minutes, and then place on swelling.

Bonus benefits have a small paper cut or scrape? Clean it thoroughly, and then put a tea bag directly on the cut, pressing gently for 5 minutes. The tannins in tea help clot the blood.

5.    Prevent a poison ivy rash: Rubbing alcohol

Before you go hiking, prepare a bottle of water and rubbing alcohol. The “poison” that causes the painful rash is oil called Urushiol, and rubbing alcohol helps keep it from spreading into a full-blown rash.

Use it! Put two parts water and one part 70% rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle. Spritz on skin that might have been exposed to the itch-inducing ivy quickly after exposure, and then let air-dry.

6.    Get rid of warts: Duct tape

The glue in the duct tape softens the wart, so you’ll be able to remove the tissue more easily. In fact, one study found that duct tape is more effective at removing warts than cry therapy, which involves freezing off the wart in a doctor’s office.

Use it! Cover the wart with duct tape for six days, then remove the tape and soak the wart in warm water for about 15 minutes. Gently rub the wart with an emery board or pumice stone and leave it uncovered overnight. Repeat the six-day cycle if the wart doesn’t come off.

7.    Smooth cracked heels: Papaya

This tropical fruit has enzymes that help smooth and remove rough skin.



Use it! Mash up chunks of papaya in a large bowl or bucket. Rest your feet in it for 30 minutes, then rinse and apply moisturizing lotion.

8.    Heal dry, chapped lips: olive oil

Olive oil is a great source of moisture because it contains omega-3 fatty acids, which cells easily absorb.

Germ alert you’re more likely to catch a wart-causing virus in the summer due to walking around barefoot in pool areas.

Use it! Dab a little on your lips every few hours until they feel smooth again.

9.    Whiten yellowed nails: Hydrogen peroxide

This natural compound can whiten your nails.

Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide

Use it! Mix 1 tbsp 3% hydrogen peroxide with 2 tbsp baking soda. Soak a cotton ball in the mixture and apply to nails. Repeat daily until the yellow color goes away, which can sometimes take a week or more?

10.  Repair damaged hair: Avocado

The healthy fats in this fruit can help strengthen and nourish hair that’s broken due to sun and chlorine damage.

Use it! Mash up a ripe avocado and apply it as a prewash treatment. Leave in for 30 minutes, then rinse and shampoo.

Find more home remedies in the tablet editions of this issue. Go to my.womansday.com to subscribe.

Berry benefit: Another good reason to munch on strawberries: The fibers act as a surface cleanser to remove bacteria from your teeth.

11.  Remove stains from teeth: Strawberries and baking soda

Strawberries contain malic acid, an astringent used in whitening toothpastes to remove surface stains.



Use it! Mash 1 strawberry with 1 tsp baking soda. Brush onto your teeth and leave for 2 minutes, then brush with regular toothpaste after. Use this whitening method no more than once or twice a week (more frequent applications could damage your enamel).

12.  Quell motion sickness: Ginger candy or tea

The next time you feel nauseated; pop a piece of ginger candy. Studies have found that ginger can help combat nausea – experts think it works to calm the neurotransmitters in your gastrointestinal tract responsible for that woozy feeling.

Ginger candy

Ginger candy

Use it! Sip on ginger tea, lick a ginger lollipop or munch on crystallized ginger (dried ginger with a bit of sugar) from the grocery store.

13.  Treat irritated skin: Aloe Vera

Aloe contains magnesium lactate, a natural antihistamine that quells the itching you often experience as sunburn begins to heal.

Aloe vera

Aloe Vera

Use it! Snap one of the plant’s leaves – or squeeze the gel out of a bottle (you can buy at a drugstore) – and let the gel drip onto your burned skin. Rub a thin layer over the affected area. You can apply as often as needed until the burn heals.

14.  Stop a sore throat and a stuffy nose: Salt water

A saline solution (salt and water) helps soothe inflamed tissues in the throat and also loosens mucus, which helps flush out irritants like allergens and bacteria. One study found that gargling with salt water three times a day reduced respiratory infections up to 40%.

Use it! Dissolve ½ tsp table salt in 8 oz warm water and gargle at least three times a day.

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