Whether we are braving the cold of winter or being physically active during the warmer months of the year, it is always nice to have a nourishing homemade skin salve ready for the occasional burns, scrapes, insect bites, rashes, and skin irritations. It’s wise to have our medicine cabinets and natural first aid kits well-stocked so we are prepared for the unexpected!
Here’s a nourishing homemade skin salve that will help calm, heal, and regenerate damaged or sensitized skin that is in need of a little extra TLC. It’s packed with powerful herbs such as calendula, plantain, lavender and chamomile, which are wonderful for our skin.
Key Healing Benefits of This Homemade Skin Salve
Calendula (Calendula officinalis): This herb is quite wonderful to use for healing sensitive skin. The petals contain high levels of flavonoids, which makes them helpful in protecting the skin against cell-damaging free radicals. Also, Calendula has an anti-inflammatory effect, which reduces skin redness and irritation. The flowers are known to promote the metabolism of protein and collagen to support the skin in promoting new cell growth.
This regenerative property is why Calendula is an amazing vulnerary, a substance that supports wound healing. Calendula is wonderful to use for burns, scrapes, rashes, cuts, abrasions and for healing scars; however, due to its effective vulnerary properties Calendula should not be used on open wounds. You don’t want the wound to start healing before any bacteria that may be in the wound is eliminated by the body’s immune response. Also, you want the wound to heal from the lower layers of the skin up to the surface layer, so a good rule of thumb with open wounds is to wait until after the scab comes off. Then Calendula can do its magic to help the skin fully repair itself and hopefully avoid scarring. For non-open wounds and other skin irritations it is perfect to use Calendula right away.
For more information about calendular, Mountain Rose Herbs has an informative blog along with several recipes for using Calendula.
Plantain (Plantago major): The leaves of the Plantain plant are commonly used in salves and poultices due to their anti-inflammatory effect. Plantain salves are often used for treating sunburns, stings, insect bites, poison ivy breakouts, rashes, burns, blisters, and cuts. The high tannic acid content gives the leaves astringent properties, which is helpful for stopping the bleeding of minor wounds. One of its chemical constituents, allantoin, promotes the healing of skin cells. This oil provides a beautiful general treatment for damaged skin and can help to speed the recovery process.
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia): Lavender essential oil, with its high ester content, is very calming and soothing to the skin. Excellent for healing burns and relieving the itching of insect bites and rashes. It’s also very helpful for quickly healing small cuts and keeping the skin in healthy balance.
German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita): German Chamomile, also known as Blue Chamomile, is cherished for its calming and soothing effect. Being highly anti-inflammatory allows it to address all types of skin irritations. The chamazulene content (the chemical component that gives the essential oil its blue color) provides the calming anti-inflammatory healing qualities. It is quite excellent as a non-toxic essential oil for skin repair and regeneration.
Always make sure to use essential oils from an organic source that are genuine and authentic. See the suggested sources below the recipe for both essential oils and herbs.
- ¼ cup organic Calendula petals, dried
- ¼ cup organic Plantain leaves, dried
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3 Tbsp coconut oil
- 2 Tbsp cocoa butter wafers (grated beeswax could also be used, reduce to 1 Tbsp.)
- 6 drops Lavender essential oil
- 6 drops German (Blue) Chamomile essential oil
- ¼ tsp Vitamin E oil as a preservative (mixed tocopherols)
- Place the dried Calendula petals and dried Plantain leaves in gently warmed olive and coconut oils. Let the herbs infuse in the warmed oil, with the heat off, for at least 20 minutes. You could also infuse the herbs for several days.
- In a double boiler, melt the cocoa butter wafers (or grated beeswax) and set aside until the infused oil is ready.
- Strain the herbs out of the infused oil by lining a sieve with several layers of cheesecloth and placing sieve over a bowl. Pour the oil through the cheesecloth, gather all the edges of the cheesecloth and over the bowl squeeze all the oil out of the herbs. Your herbs and cheesecloth can be composted/recycled. It's always nice to return the herbs to the earth!
- Mix the infused calendula/plantain oil with the melted cocoa butter.
- Add the Lavender and Chamomile essential oils and Vitamin E.
- Pour the salve into a clean glass jar and allow it to solidify at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Once cooled and solidified, put on a tight-fitting lid and label with the name of the salve and date it was made.
- The salve should be stable for at least 2 - 4 months at room temperature (use a spatula to take the salve out for use so as not to contaminate the salve) and for several months in the refrigerator.
Here’s to the health of your skin!