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9 Foods that improve summertime burns and bites

Founder of Nutritious Life (a private nutrition practice in NYC), author of 4 books, Womens Health Mag contributor, tv personality, mom, list maker, & lover of all things green.

Summertime livin' isn't always easy breezy. From sunburns to bug bites, the steamy summer months can take a toll on your skin. We all need to give our skin a little extra TLC during the hot months.

Skin superheroes like avocado, oatmeal, olive oil and coconut oil are well-known natural replacements for expensive moisturizers and face masks. Because they contain ingredients like vitamin E, B vitamins and linoleic acid, they'll help keep skin glowing and soft to the touch. But if you're looking for other summer skin remedies, look no further than these surprising skin saviors. Try some tricks straight from the produce aisle to make your burns and bites a bit more bearable.

Sunburn

potatoes and tomatoes

Photo credit: diserPiero/iStock/360/Getty Images
  • Potatoes: Hot potato, hot potato! Use 'em to alleviate that burn by cutting a raw potato and placing it on the sore spot.
  • White Vinegar: Finally... another use for vinegar other than salad dressing and cleaning your counters. White vinegar acts as an anti-inflammatory, helping cool that burn down.
  • Pomegranates: This attractive, and tasty, fruit contains ellagic acid, which is a protector from the oxidative damage of those pesky UV rays. Pop those seeds into your mouth, lay back and get a little extra protection from the sun.
  • Cocoa: Cocoa, ahhh sweet indulgence. Now there is even more of a reason to sweeten up your life with cocoa. It's rich in catechins which are shown to protect and counteract the effect of UV damage. Dip your favorite fruit into a melted high-percent cocoa bar for the ultimate protective treat.
  • Tomatoes: This juicy fruit (it's not a vegetable!) contains the antioxidant lycopene, which gives tomatoes their glorious red color and helps defend our skin from the harsh UV rays. Dice some into a breakfast omelet all summer long.

Bug bites and itchy skin

garlic and basil

Photo credit: Isabelle Lafrance Photography/Moment/Getty Images
  • Garlic and Onions: Bugs (not just vampires) are actually repelled by garlic. Maybe this is where the myth came from… anyway, garlic contains a compound called allicin which is toxic to bugs. When we consume garlic, we release allicin through the skin which can spook off the bug. Onion releases the same exact toxin when consumed so flavor up your meal with these bug repellers.
  • Whole Milk: Milk fats are known to soothe burns and initiate healing, so dab some cool whole milk into a handkerchief and apply to the bite. Ahhhhh, that feels better already.
  • Peppermint: Peppermint may just be what you need for your itchy skin to chill out. Menthol, an essential part of peppermint, has the same cooling effect on skin that it does on icy cold breath. Rub peppermint leaves on the infected area for immediate relief.
  • Basil: We have another use for this herb other than making Caprese salads. Basil has thymol and camphor which are anti-itching compounds, making it the perfect reliever. Crush up the leaves and apply to fix the itch.
Photo credit: PhotoAlto/Frederic Cirou/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
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