Tips for Protecting Your Skin This Summer
When choosing a sunscreen for yourself and family, it is important to understand the difference between natural and traditional sunscreens. Traditional sunscreens that have been on the market contain 15 different chemicals that are known endocrine disrupters. These chemicals like Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, Homosalate, and Benzophenone should be avoided. The hormones most commonly disturbed are estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and thyroid. The skin, the largest organ in the body, will absorb these chemicals into the blood stream and can actually be found in the blood and breast milk 2 days after the use of chemical sunscreens. Natural sunscreens only have two important minerals, titanium dioxide and zinc.
There are several great sunscreens that are safe for young children 6 months old and up as well as the whole family. Green beaver is a Canadian company, and they have a fabulous formula of the minerals, titanium dioxide and zinc, combined with essential oils. Both the adult's formula and the kids are exactly the same formula that can provide 27 SPF, 30 SPF, and 40 SPF in either a pump spray or a lotion. It is non-whitening, unscented, waterproof, and certified organic. The product does go on a little more greasy due to the essential oils however, it does absorb nicely and moisturizes the skin. A convenient tip is to add a few drops of lavender, peppermint, and lemongrass to the pump spray to provide some bug protection when camping or at parks and beaches where mosquitoes, black flies, ticks and other insects can be a concern.
Goddess Garden is another great choice of sunscreens. They carry non-aerosol sprays and lotions for babies, children, and adults. Their sunscreens are waterproof and come in 30 SPF and sport. The products apply on the skin a little thicker and can appear white at first but once absorbed into the skin, it gives great protection.
If you are considering applying sunscreen to an infant under 6 months, it is obviously best to keep them in the shade, but you can apply pure coconut oil between 2-8 SPF, Shea butter, and avocado oil which will provide up to 10 SPF or wheat germ oil which will provide up to 20 SPF. Always do a patch test on the inner part of the arm and wait 24 hours to see if there is a reaction before applying all over the body.
It is very important to moisturize your skin during the summer and especially after sun exposure. Using aloe Vera after any extended time in the sun can cool the skin and help prevent sun damage. Products like Nature's Aid contain aloe Vera, tea tree, Rosemary, witch hazel and vitamin E. This is an amazing product for tender skin that may have been burned from the sun. The herbs combined with the aloe cool the heat from the burn, decrease the sting, and allow the inflammation to subside as well as help rejuvenate the skin cells. After applying aloe to the skin you can follow with body oil such as coconut oil, almond oil, grape seed oil, avocado oil, or jojoba oil. These oils are well absorbed and are considered food for the skin and will not only moisturize the skin, but they also are anti-inflammatory, contain antioxidants like vitamin E, and will help rejuvenate the skin. Using oils after sun exposure will add a beautiful glow to the skin and can prevent and peeling and chafing of the skin.
Sunscreens prevent the absorption of the very important vitamin D. Vitamin D is an essential vitamin for immune support and has anti-cancer properties. Safe sun exposure is essential for proper absorption of vitamin D naturally without supplementation. However, not all skin pigment is equal. Fair skin should be cautious and only expose their skin, arms and legs in 5-minute segments a few times a week without any sunscreen. Slightly tanned skin can expose their skin for 20-30 minutes daily or 3-5 times a week. People with darker skinned tone or with Indian, Middle Eastern, African, Latin American or Caribbean backgrounds can expose their skin longer for about 30-45 minutes depending how dark their pigment is.
The summer is short so enjoy the weather and protect your skin.