Beauty and Healthcare on the Holiday Menu

Travel Talk

If my nan was ever ill she would never call the doctor. She would first head into the kitchen to concoct a home remedy or two!

So here are some remedies, both beauty and medicinal that can be used whilst on holiday. All are readily available and once again some are good enough to eat.

Ice ice baby

Ice The fridge is an excellent first aid cabinet when travelling. An ice pack is a useful emergency treatment for muscle soreness, itch and insect bites. Put ice on any injury that will bruise. Cold helps and stops bleeding and relieves pain and swelling. A cheap, quick and effective ice pack is simple to make. Drop ice cubes into a rubber glove. Apply the ice at the injury site in 10 minute intervals. To re use the gloves, turn inside out and allow to dry naturally.

Got a splinter? Rub an ice cube on the area to numb it. Removal of the splinter becomes easier and less painful

I can’t believe it’s butter

Butter As well as tasting delicious on crusty bread butter can be used to remove fishy smells from hands. Rub a knob of butter into the hands and massage in. Wash off with soap and hot water.

It is an effective treatment for dry hair too. Massage butter into dry hair. Cover with a plastic bag or shower cap, making sure you don’t answer the door for the next 45 minutes. Then wash out with normal shampoo. Simples!

A freshly brewed and cooled solution of tea is equally useful on dry hair too.


Horseradish Toothache often strikes at weekends and on holiday and always when the dentist is closed. Sucking on an ice cube helps to ease the pain. Put the ice close to the problem tooth. An old wives tale which may work involves rubbing an ice cube between the forefinger and thumb.

Horseradish, placed around the aching tooth acts as an anaesthetic. Eat the roast beef!

Grind black pepper onto gauze or cotton wool and pack around the tooth. Cotton wool soaked in onion juice is excellent too.

Beach baby blues

For heat exhaustion and sunburn drink water. Don’t gulp. Little and often is the way forward.

Applying neat gin eases sunburn and soothes the skin. Cheaper alternatives include cold potato slices, cucumber slices and cold tea bags.

Smear natural yoghurt over sunburnt areas and wash off after 15 to 20 minutes.

Sticking plasters

To ease plaster removal, rub baby oil over and around the plaster. Shampoo works equally as well. Less ouch and less tears. Warming a plaster with a hair dryer helps plaster removal too.

Sticky marks on the skin, left by plasters can easily be removed by using nail polish removal.

Thick and tacky?

I’m talking nail polish here, not remover. Simply put the bottle of nail polish in the fridge and the varnish returns to it’s best in a few minutes.

To prevent bottles of liquids leaking in your luggage. Simply seal around the lids with nail polish. It works a treat.

I have a customer who uses marshmallows to separate toes when applying nail polish. Once finished she eats the mallows! I hope her feet are clean.

Mixing a drop of baby oil into your mascara will keep it soft and prevent it from drying out.

Lipsticks kept in the fridge last longer and are easier to use too.

Dandruff. Hair today gone tomorrow

Lemon Quarter a lemon. Rub into the scalp. Wash off after 15 minutes.

An alcohol based mouthwash used as a shampoo is effective.

Or try a handful of sodium bicarbonate sprinkled onto wet hair. Wash out thoroughly after 10 minutes.

Here is my favourite. Brought to you by an American customer who lived her first 50 years in Boston, USA. Rub slightly warmed peanut oil into the scalp. Leave for five minutes. Now add lemon juice to the hair. Again leave for 5 to 10 minutes. Use a normal shampoo to finish.

More cool tips

  • Cooled raw potato slices applied to the brow are an instant headache relief.
  • Stop those hiccups by sucking a cold lemon slice or an ice cube. Or try drinking small quick sips of ice cold water.
  • Dip cotton wool balls in milk and use as a face cleanser.
  • Cool mayonnaise is an amazingly good beauty aid. Add an egg yolk and you have a wonderful face mask.
  • Treat smelly feet by immersing in a bowl of tea! Add 10 tea bags to a bowl of cold water and immerse feet for a minimum of ten minutes.

So let the fridge become you medicinal friend whilst travelling. Good for beer and wine too. And strawberries!

See also

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Dave Harcombe

Travelling pharmacist

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