After many (many) long weeks cooped up in my apartment in Queens, I decided to take a trip home to Maryland to reset and sunbathe on my dad’s deck. I packed everything I could think of: my menstrual cup, masks (both reusable and disposable), hand sanitizer, sunscreen, lots of comfy clothing, and a couple dozen books. What I didn’t remember was my extremely effective, DEET-free Kinfield Golden Hour bug spray. Summers in the DMV area are swampy and hot, which means when you’re outside, you’re surrounded by a seemingly endless parade of mosquitoes. Within days, my arms and legs had puffed up with bites. At first, I pressed x’s into my skin with my fingernail (this is supposed to stop the itching, but does not) and hoped for some relief. None came.
A few days later, I was playing with my baby sister in the sprinklers on our front lawn when, once again, the mosquitoes attacked en masse. This time, she was bit up too, and her mom brought out a tiny tub of Puremedy Baby Skin. She slathered it all over my sister’s skin, and insisted I try some too. “It really works,” she told me, and though I was skeptical (I test products for a living; the skepticism is sort of built in), I figured it couldn’t hurt. A few minutes later, though, the itching stopped. Entirely. And soon after, my bumps all but disappeared.
Formulated to soothe all kinds of ailments (including irritation, cuts, dryness, and itching), this balm uses natural ingredients like beeswax to protect skin from irritants, bloodroot and calendula (both reduce inflammation), and Canadian balsam fir, said to be good for pain relief and killing germs. Unlike other natural remedies, which often contain essential oils that irritate my sensitive skin, this is fragrance-free and has a consistency similar to Aquaphor and Neosporin. But unlike both of those products, it’s petroleum-free, a good thing if you’re sensitive to the ingredient or just trying to avoid it altogether (it can clog up your pores and, more frighteningly, is a potential carcinogen). Plus a little goes a long way: Just a little dab was all I needed to cover my seemingly hundreds of bites, meaning the $15 tub is more than worth it. I now refuse to go to any wooded area (or really any area at all) without it, and even though I’ve used it a bunch of times since, I still have plenty to get me through all the socially distanced picnics, cabin hangs, and hikes to come.
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