Multi-Tasking Skin Soothers

by Sonja on June 3, 2009

photo by shygantic

Here in San Francisco and around the Bay Area, the weather can be hit or miss. One day can be amazingly gorgeous, warm, and sunny… the next can be totally overcast and chilly or simply socked in with fog and chilly. And, of course, there are those days when we get a bit of both. As we transition into sunnier, more summery weather, I’ve found myself sunburned a couple times, because I just haven’t been in a don’t-forget-the-sunscreen frame of mind.

Today I’m sharing three excellent, eco-friendly, multi-tasking skin soothers that have helped me deal with the redness, itching, flaking, and all the fun stuff that comes with a sunburn. I highly recommend these healing, soothing balms from REN and Liz Earle Naturally Active Skincare and a soothing, preventative, anti-aging treatment from Boscia (details on each are below these photos).

The Balms

These two eco-balms are amazingly helpful, emergency skin salves. They both worked wonders on my fried skin. They’re also good for every day. They can be used from head to toe on dry skin and even to tame frizzy hair. They’re especially great on lips, elbows, and heels.

REN Mayday Mayday Rescue Balm

I got a doozy of a burn on my forehead recently. It got super red and flaky. After regularly applying REN Mayday Mayday Rescue Balm ($40, on left in both photos above), the burn calmed down quickly. The itchiness subsided nearly immediately and my skin got back to normal in just a few days. It was also a big help in soothing an allergic reaction around my eye.

This balm is recommended for dry, very dry, irritated, chapped, or peeling skin. It’s designed to repair skin and restore softness, elasticity and comfort with bio active ingredients. Lactic acid is included to reduce peeling and chapped skin. Prebiotic oligosaccharides and antileukine from ochroleuca seaweed extract are in there to protect the skin against inflammation. Chamomile and pink violet aim to calm redness and soothe minor irritation.

It’s free of petrochemicals, sulfates, parabens, synthetic fragrances and colors, glycols, silicones, and other nasty stuff. REN is against animal testing. Mayday Mayday is available directly from REN, and at Space NK, Harvey Nichols, and Barneys.

Liz Earle Superbalm

Liz Earle Superbalm ($8.50 - $29, in the middle in both photos) bailed me out a few weeks ago when I burned my shoulders and arms after a day in Santa Cruz. I applied this balm when I got home, but just on the left side so I could see what a difference it would make. Can I just say big difference?! By morning, the left side of me was nice and calm. The right side was so disappointed in me. It was red, itchy, flaky, and tender to the touch. I regretted my experiment a bit and quickly applied Superbalm to both sides.

It’s recommended for dry, chapped, and flaking skin, and made with 100% pure plant oils and waxes, and shea butter. It softens with rosehip, moisturizes with avocado, and soothes with echinacea. Liz Earle Naturally Active Skincare uses what they call naturally active, botanical ingredients, which are sustainably sourced wherever possible. They use fairly traded ingredients – organic whenever possible – from sources that support local ecosystems to minimize environmental impact. Products do not contain mineral oil or genetically engineered ingredients and are never tested on animals. Available at and Studio Beautymix at Fred Segal.

On the Lighter Side

Boscia Revitalizing Hydra-Lift

While I love the balms for heavy-duty healing, I wouldn’t want to slather them all over my face, because they’re quite rich. For a lighter-duty, longer-term treatment, I opt for botanically-based, oil-free Boscia Revitalizing Hydra-Lift ($35, on right in both photos) under my usual moisturizer. It’s an instant pick-me-up that feels wonderful and refreshing on my combination skin. It’s sort of like an anti-aging serum that also moisturizes. In warmer weather, I find that it hydrates my skin well enough that I don’t need to bother putting a moisturizer on top.

It calms, soothes, and heals with aloe and squalane. Sodium hyaluronate helps regenerate skin cells whacked with sun damage. While willowherb and jojoba leaf are included to protect and defend skin from free radical damage. This is also a great treatment to bump up hydration when traveling or in moisture-sapping weather.

Hydra-Lift contains no preservatives, alcohol, synthetic fragrance or color, or animal ingredients, and is not tested on animal testing. Available at Sephora, select Ulta retailers, Studio Beautymix at Fred Segal, and

Coming Soon

I checked in with a dermatologist to get some tips on what to do to protect your skin from getting a burn in the first place and have some recommendations for excellent sunscreens. Check back next week for that post.

Do Tell

Have you been remembering to use sunscreen? Ever gotten a really bad sunburn? Gotten any sunburns recently? Do tell.

P.S. Check out our regularly updated Beauty Resources page for some amazing beauty deals at,, Sephora, and more.

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Gabrielle June 3, 2009 at 7:17 am

Thanks for the post. I’m living in Kuala Lumpur and the sun here is scorching.

I know it sounds simple but smothering a sun burn in vaseline really helps. It’s the ultimate moisture sealant.

Gabrielle’s last blog post..A Polaroid Picture Photo Shoot! iPhone Fun!

Retro Chick June 3, 2009 at 7:40 am

A very timely post as yesterday I managed to catch the sun despite covering myself in sun screen, which was annoying!

Retro Chick’s last blog post..Mary Queen of Charity Shops - The Retro Chick Review

Sal June 3, 2009 at 7:42 am

One of my girlfriends is STILL nursing a week-old sunburn … I’m forwarding her this post!

Sal’s last blog post..The Female Advantage

Sonja - The Coveted June 3, 2009 at 10:05 am

❤ Gabrielle, wow, I never would’ve thought to use Vaseline. I would’ve figured that the burn would need to “breathe.”
❤ Retro Chick, so sorry to hear that! I hope your skin recovers soon!
❤ Sal, hey chica! Sorry to hear about your friend. I was amazed by how much of a difference these made, especially when I used the Superbalm on only one side. Hope these help!

lisa June 3, 2009 at 11:40 am

Ouch, the top pic reminds me of the last time I was in Mexico and was foolhardy enough to hike to an archaeological site sans sunscreen.

The easiest way for me to remember to wear sunscreen daily is to stock up on SPF moisturizer. I use Neutrogena SPF 30 on my face and Lubriderm SPF 15 on my body when the summer hits. For serious beach bumming or time outdoors, I’ll use something stronger.

lisa’s last blog post..Translated: Bacilos

fashion herald June 3, 2009 at 8:46 pm

I’m going to have to try the balms, if I get too much sun i get the most annoying heat rash! Maegan June 3, 2009 at 9:14 pm

yes and yes ..I’ve already gotten a little burn and peel on my legs due to the same situation. great tips!

…love Maegan’s last blog post..Vintage Levi’s

Sonja June 4, 2009 at 11:14 am

❤ lisa, yes, I’ve made some huge mistakes over the years. As a teen, I once spent hours laying in the sun on a pier right in the middle of summer, in the South, without any sunscreen. I looked like a lobster afterward. My skin was screaming!
❤ fashion herald, the balms really are amazing!
❤ …love Maegan, I figured there might be others like me with the same situation. Glad you found this info helpful!

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