It’s heating up out there, and along with warmer weather comes a few common — and bothersome! — issues. Dodge them with these fast-acting, budget-friendly drugstore remedies that you can find at your local pharmacy (or online)!
End ‘down-there’ itching with baby shampoo.
We think of baby shampoo as a kid-specific cleanser, yet it’s a great option when rising temperatures and damp skin are causing you to squirm because of ‘down-there’ itching. Stanford University researchers say baby shampoo has a pH of seven, which is as neutral as plain water, plus it quickly washes away the skin-irritating acids found in perspiration and vaginal secretions. Gently cleanse your vulva with baby shampoo twice daily (patting dry each time), and you could cut irritation and itching by as much as 70 percent in 24 hours. Try this one from Aveeno ($13.98, Amazon).
Fight foot odor with hand sanitizer.
Smelly feet can be bothersome any time of year, but for 55 percent of us, the funk gets worse in warmer weather. If you worry about an aroma every time you kick off your shoes, try this: Once daily, wash your feet well with plain soap and water, dry thoroughly, then massage them all over (including between your toes) with a dollop of hand sanitizer. Canadian researchers say germ-killing hand sanitizers destroy the two bacteria that make feet stinky (Staphylococcus epidermis and Bacillus subtilis), erasing foot smells for up to 24 hours per use. Try this jojoba oil-infused one ($11.95, Amazon).
Speed healing with lavender oil.
Yard work, pruning, and digging holes for new plants mean more scratches and scrapes. Thankfully, Australian researchers say dabbing injuries with diluted lavender essential oil (which brims with the healing plant compounds linalool and borneol) kills germs, reduces swelling, and speeds the formation of healthy new collagen and skin cells to cut healing time by as much as 45 percent. To do: Mix 3 to 4 drops of lavender oil into 1⁄2 tsp. of coconut oil or other carrier oil and gently dab onto wounds, then cover with a bandage, if desired. Try this all-natural one from Naturenics ($22.99, Amazon).
Minimizes rashes with mouthwash.
The risk of itchy rashes doubles as heat and humidity kick up the production of pore-clogging oils and the growth of moisture-loving fungi on skin. To sidestep the blight, swab rash-prone areas (like breast creases or inner thighs) with an alcohol-containing mouthwash after every shower. British scientists say its alcohol and germicides dissolve and remove oils, plus destroy 24 strains of skin fungi on contact. Try this refreshing minty one, ($5.37, Amazon).
Banish hemorrhoids with butcher’s broom.
Warm-weather dehydration can trigger constipation — and straining to “go” is the top cause of painful hemorrhoid flares. The good news: Columbia University researchers say taking 800 mg. to 1,000 mg. of butcher’s broom daily heals hemorrhoids for up to 70 percent of women, often within 72 hours. The herbal extract contains rutin, a compound that reduces swelling and inflammation, plus speeds tissue repair, says surgeon Stan Kakkos, M.D. Note: Check with your doctor before taking butcher’s broom, since it can interfere with some common medications. Try this all-natural option ($16.09, Amazon).
Dodge dandruff with aspirin.
Rising temperatures increase scalp oil production, making dandruff flakes larger and stickier! For flake-free locks, mix 2 crushed aspirin tablets into shampoo and massage onto your scalp for 2 minutes before rinsing. Studies suggest this scrub ends itching and flaking in three days, plus prevents dandruff flare-ups if your scalp is healthy. Aspirin’s salicylic acid sloughs off dead cells, plus stalls the growth of yeast that causes flaky rashes. Try this chewable one from Bayer that’s easy to crush ($6.17, Amazon).
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This article originally appeared in our print magazine.