Choose mists and sprays approved by SkinDeep, or make your own with basic ingredients.
Skin cooling products are popular at this time of year, as the temperature heats up. They offer soothing relief to puffy, red, sweaty skin after too much fun in the sun, or a much-needed shivery boost following a long day in the office.
You should be cautious, though, when choosing which cooling products to use. No matter how great they feel, cooling products usually don't offer any real therapeutic benefit and their ingredients can cause further skin irritation. Refinery29 cited dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, who explained that ingredients such as eucalyptus, menthol, and peppermint "can trigger contact dermatitis, with dryness, itchiness, and inflammation far outweighing the benefit of instant I'm-not-melting-anymore relief."
A peek at the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep database, which ranks thousands of skin care products for safety, reveals that additional ingredients can be problematic, too. Cooling shampoos, masks, and lotions contain harmful fragrances, alcohol, retinyl palmitate, and parabens. A recent investigation by Bloomberg found that many common aloe vera products sold in the U.S. contain no traces of the natural soothing plant, so that is another reminder to read the ingredient list carefully and buy from a trusted source.
What is a sticky, sweaty person to do? Fortunately there are some truly clean and refreshing options on the market. EWG's top-scoring products are:
You can also make your own skin cooling products:
- Add a few drops of peppermint oil to a handful of sweet almond oil. Rub together and apply to arms and legs; avoid face, as tingling sensation can be strong. Other soothing essential oils include chamomile, lavender, rose, and juniper.
- Use apple cider vinegar to soothe dry or sunburnt skin. Dab it on lightly with a cloth.
- Use pure aloe vera. Break off a piece of the plant and cut open lengthwise. Scoop out the gooey insides and apply directly to hot, irritated skin.
- Make your own cooling spray. Wellness Mama recommends mixing with hazel, natural aloe vera gel, and peppermint oil. Put it in a tiny spray bottle for on-the-go cooling.
- Spray your face with cooled steeped green tea.
- At home, use a clay or oatmeal mask to calm puffy, dry skin.
- Stash your regular skin care products in the fridge.
- Don't underestimate the power of a cool damp cloth.