The best way to treat a sunburn is to avoid getting it in the first place. If you plan on spending more than 15 minutes in the sun, wear appropriate clothing and/or an appropriate sunscreen. A natural sunscreen can be made with helichrysum essential oil.
If you do get sunburned, try applying lavender to help relieve the pain from minor burns. A mix of lavender and peppermint (10 drops each) and 4 oz. of water in a spray bottlehelps cool the sunburned skin.
General Insect Repellents Some oils that will repel insects are Repellent Blend, lavender, patchouli, lemongrass, basil, eucalyptus, thyme, peppermint, and Cleansing Blend. Valerie Ann Worwood, author of The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, recommends either diffusing insect repelling oils or placing ribbons or strings with the oils on them by windows, doorways, or other places that insects might like to enter. To keep insects from landing on you, she recommends using 30 drops lavender oil diluted in 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Here is a recipe for the insect repellent string.
Modern Essentials recommends using a blend of 5 drops lavender, 5 drops lemongrass, 3 drops peppermint, and 1 drop thyme blended with a cup of water and sprayed on to help keep bugs away. If you do get bitten, Repellent Blend and lavender help soothe the area and reduce itching.
For additional tips on repelling bugs and insects, please click here.
Ants One suggestion Valerie Ann Worwood gives for keeping ants out of your house is to place peppermint oil at places where ants are coming into your house, or spraying peppermint oil where the ants walk. Other authors suggest that most mint oils are effective for repelling ants.
Mosquitoes According to the Modern Essentials, Repellent Blend, patchouli, and lavender essential oil help repel mosquitoes if rubbed on skin or diluted in water and misted onto the skin. You can also place oil on small ribbons, strings, or cloth and hang them around you. Lavender also helps reduce the itching sensation if you do get bitten.
Accidentally running into poison oak or poison ivy while outdoors is not very fun. Modern Essentials recommends rose, lavender, Joyful Blend, and Roman chamomile oils for helping to deal with the after-effects of poison ivy if you do run into it (p. 288).
Bears are naturally curious animals and have a sense of smell 2,100 times greater than humans. They are especially attracted to sweet smells found in many essential oils. Be careful using essential oils if you are in bear country. Many wildlife safety tips say to not bring anything with a strong odor if you are camping or hiking in bear country. Contact your local forest station for safety guidelines.
For additional tips on outdoor travel, please click here.
Additional Tips & Testimonials
- "While on a hike, Peppermint in a small spray bottle with water helps us cool down quite quickly!" - Adelle Sperry Lems
- "I carry all my oils all the time. When we camp I use lemon in my water to keep me hydrated. Eucalyptus to repel bugs, lavender and melaleuca to deal with any bites, peppermint to stay cool, [Protective Blend] to kill germs, [Invigorating Blend] keeps me smelling nice, patchouli for injuries and [Soothing Blend] to keep my body from feeling sore." - Barbara Anne
- "When I hike or ride my motorcycle, I take my keychain filled with all the essentials. [Respiratory Blend] is a must for when you're out of breath on a particularly tough trail. I always like to have [Protective Blend] and lemon in there as well, just in case it's necessary to sanitize. Then in case of scrapes or bruises, I bring lavender, melaleuca, [Soothing Blend], and peppermint. I also like to use the peppermint if it's hot out - it really helps to keep me cool and comfortable. Lastly, I bring a little FCO. I don't always need to dilute my oils, but it's nice to be prepared in case I do." - Kresta Sanchez Glaser (Pocatello, ID)
- "I just love [Repellent Blend]. :o) I also make sure to bring lemongrass for sprains, and a blend of geranium & lavender for bruises. And a little vial of [Cleansing Blend], in case the bugs are REALLY persistent!" - Annalea Eastley (Sandpoint, ID)
- "When the yellow jackets are out and hovering around, I've used patchouli oil applied to my pulse points. When they approach, makes them do a u-turn and fly away from me!" - Deb Gar
- "Melaleuca and lemon (takes out the sting & itch) for mosquito bites, it's our Alaskan outdoor go to combo." - Sandra Smallwood
- "I make my own face wipes using the oils and they are so handy for washing your face and hands while in the woods without a shower!!" - Katie Coble (Powell, WY)
- "We used diluted lavender in a spray bottle for sunburn, the recipe in Modern Essentials for insect repellent (above), and we used [Protective Blend] concentrate to wash all the mildew off of the inside of our boat. This worked great!" - Laureen Lees Eichelberger (Irwin, PA)
- "We love to diffuse Wild Orange at home to help with calming and feelings of happiness so when we were traveling over July 4th with our four children I desperately wanted to diffuse it in the car. So I put several drops on a baby wipe and hung it in front of the air conditioner vents. Worked wonderfully!!" - Dixie Smith Cornelius
- "For camping, outdoors or your sitting car (hot areas?), place your oils in a tin box then store in your cooler so the heat doesn't ruin your oils." - Melanie Poll Fisher (Hemet, CA)
- "I bought the purple mini carry case with the 5/8 dram vials and I just put 8 of my go to oils into it and clip it on my belt loop. It is perfect for when we go hiking and camping because all I have to do is unclip it and apply the oils. I can easily refill them but don't have to worry about any extra weight (not as though the 5 or 15 ml are that much heavier, but still) and it allows me to bring my own special mixtures too!" - Christina Donovan