The summer sun is definitely here! As we set off for days of play outdoors I thought I’d share some tips on the topic I get asked most this time of year.
“What is the deal with good and bad sunscreens?!?”
As we learn about the nasties that reside in many of our personal care products, we pretty quickly wonder what to do about that cream we lather on our wee ones (and ourselves) daily come the summer months… with good cause.
The Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org) has done some phenomenal research over the last few years with some shocking results. First, the vast majority of sunscreens don’t provide the protection they claim, and second, many contain such dubious chemicals known to cause harm that it makes you wonder whether you’re better off without it all together. Fear not, with a little digging some good solutions surface.
Focusing on solutions… here’s what YOUR ECO-HEALTH MAVEN recommends:
GET YOUR VITAMIN D
Exposure to sunlight helps our bodies produce the most natural source of Vitamin D, which is essential to our health. So 10 minutes of sun each day (during OFF-PEAK hours) is a great way to make sure we and our little ones are getting their Vitamin D.
LIMIT PEAK HOUR (11-3) EXPOSURE
Between the hours of 11am and 3pm the sun is at it’s strongest, so we want to avoid excessive exposure during these times. Maximize outdoor time before 11 and after 3 on sunny summer days. (Yes I realize that’s not always the most practical or fun thing to do, so read on)
SEEK OR CREATE SHADE
Have your pic-nic under a tree, hit the playground with some shade cover, hike in the trails during peak hours. WIDE BRIMMED HATS are your best friend, find one you and your little one loves and will wear. Wear sun suits swimming, or sun shirts all day long on the beach or in the play ground. Many companies now sell very light weight quick drying long sleeve tops for little ones that provide sun protection without getting hot.
At some point, after doing all of the above you will still need to use some sunscreen much of the time- particularly for our faces. Here’s how to pick yours:
ü look at the ACTIVE INGREDIENTS LIST for at least 7% zinc oxide or titanium dioxide AVOID oxybenzone and benzophenone (this has you using barrier sunscreens rather than chemical sunscreens)
ü use SPF 30+
ü REAPPLY during the day, WASH it off when you’re done
ü SKIP powders, sprays, combo bug repellents
SOME BRANDS I RECOMMEND: Badger, California Baby, UV Natural, ThinkBaby and my very (and Canadian) favorite: Green Beaver! And I’m so happy to report that Green Beaver has a great face sunscreen that is healthy and safe AND goes on smooth and not greasy nor thick nor nasty- yippee!
THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT! The EWG has an app for your iphone- go find it! Or visit their website for all the deets on your sunscreen and good options. www.ewg.org
And remember, while being sun safe, being outdoors in the fresh air is just about the best thing you can do for you and your babe, so get outside and play!!
I’ll see you on the beach,
Your Eco-Health Maven
Tanis Frame is a geeky scientist, and a mom of two. A trusted resource, she supports new and seasoned parents as they navigate the stuff of parenthood, and what is good for the planet and their kids’ health. Tanis translates the science and serves up her depth of knowledge with a healthy dose of humour. She truly believes the right choices are different for each family, and loves to be your Eco-Health Maven supporting you along the way!