Sunday, June 26, 2011

Safe in the Sun

It finally feels like summer here in my town. We had a rough, rainy spring, but the sun is shining and it's hot! With the heat of summer comes the need for skin protection as well. Stores are stocked full of commercial sunscreen, often inexpensive and smelling great. But I'm not alone in being cautious about slathering myself and my child up in sunblock. Sunscreens contain harmful chemicals and ingredients. The list is abundant and varied, so I won't list them here. I'm thankful to be on the mailing list of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and they are the go-to for that kind of information. Based on what they share with their readers, I try to make informed decisions about sunscreen.

First of all, our bodies need vitamin d, and the best place to get that is from the sun. Especially in Western New York where the majority of our year is spent inside, in the cold, we should take advantage of the beautiful sun in the summer months. Do I mean lay out from 9am to 3pm every single day? No. I think that is dangerous. People do get skin cancer and horrible burns by being careless like that.

But we need sun exposure. Here's how I've been handling it this season.

I try not to take Little Olive outside when the sun is at its peak (between 10 and 2). Sometimes we do, but I keep those sessions short. Being outside when the sun is not so strong has really helped her skin gradually become accustomed to the sun. I've also been careful to keep her shoulders covered, since the sun would hit those areas of her skin constantly. Now she has a cute little farmer's tan.

When we're going to be out for longer times, I make sure she's wearing a hat. She really likes things on her head so this is no problem for us. I've heard people say, "The best sunblock is a hat!" Just an idea.
I'm really tempted to buy one of those cute bikinis for her like we did last summer. She's only going to be little for so long. (Maybe when they go on sale, I will.) But for the majority of the summer, I bought her a suit that was technically called a "cover up/rash guard" from Target. It looks a lot like this, but it's white with cute Hawaiian flowers. The material is regular bathing suit fabric, but it covers a lot more than a normal suit.

I really like this because it lessens the need for sunscreen and still provides protection! Add her little hat, and we're all set. But as most parents would agree, wearing a hat in the pool or while running around in the sprinkler will be close to impossible. Sunscreen just might be needed for the face! What to do?

You can find a list of the safest sunscreen brands here. The lower the number to the right of each brand, the more safe and natural it is.

You can also look up a particular company/brand/bottle here.
I was pretty disappointed that my Banana Boat baby brand was rather high on the list! I'll be looking for some Aveeno sticks for sure instead!

If you have any other ideas or suggestions, feel free to share below!

1 comment:

Amanda said...

I only use the aveeno for the girls and love it. Since I don't use it often, also being careful about the time spent outside, the same small bottle has lasted 2 years. It would have made it longer but it went watery and I had to buy more.