SUMMER, my favorite season! Kids home from school. Bare feet. Baseball. Swimming. Bike rides. Farmers markets.
Trying to keep your kids safe and having fun all summer can be a challenge. Here are a few “sun” tips to make that a little easier this year!
Let’s talk sunscreen…. As a teenager, I had a not so smart affinity for soaking up the rays. Sunscreen…not so much, it was more like baby oil and sunburns. After two children and having pre-cancerous moles removed, I am much wiser about sun exposure and the non-toxic options of sunscreen.
There are so many questions when it comes to sun exposure and sunscreen. Is sun exposure good for you? How much? What do we need to protect ourselves from when it comes to the sun? What ingredients are not safe to use?
Benefits of the sun -
Vitamin D is an important hormone for bone health, immune system support, as well as reducing your risk of heart disease and some types of cancer. Fortunately, our bodies produce Vitamin D every time we are exposed to the sun. The World Health Organization recommends 5-15 minutes of unprotected sun a few times per week. This will give your body the sun exposure it needs for Vitamin D production. Be careful to stay on the safe side of burning.
Protection from –
UVB, the short rays, that can wreak havoc on the top layer of your skin. These guys are the culprits for sunburn and even worse…skin cancer. They are the strongest between 10am and 4pm.
UVA, the longer rays, that make their way through the top layer of skin and penetrate deeper into the dermis. These guys are serious; they can reach through smog, clouds, glass and even some clothing. They are responsible for the big “W”…wrinkles! Not to mention sagging skin and sun spots. These rays break down the skin’s elastin, the rubber band-like tissue that supports skin and gives it structure.
Now that we have gone over some pros and cons of the sun, let’s discuss safe ingredients to lather up with when we are out this summer longer than our recommended 5 to 15 minutes. Please note, sunscreen is not the end all be all. Sun protection has two key components – safe sun habits and safe sunscreen. In 2007, the FDA admitted that they “are not aware of data demonstrating that sunscreen use alone helps prevent skin cancer.” The International Agency for Research on Cancer recommends clothing, hats and shade as primary barriers to UV radiation.
When shopping for a “healthy” sunscreen, there are some ingredients you are going to want to avoid.
Oxybenzone: This chemical is a hormone disrupter—experts caution against using it on children.
Vitamin A (retinyl palmitate or “retinol”): This has been linked to increased cancer cell growth.
Powder or spray mineral-based sunscreens (usually on ingredient label as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide): These ingredients are typically safe in lotion form, but can cause internal damage if inhaled.
For a complete guide on sunscreens and their safety and effectiveness, please visit EWG’s website at – http://www.ewg.org/2014sunscreen/best-sunscreens/best-beach-sport-sunscreens/
If you find that you were not successful at staying clear of sunburn or too much sun exposure, applying aloe vera and/or coconut oil on any areas that are overexposed will help ease the pain and nourish the skin.
When you are out and about this summer enjoying this beautiful time of year, remember to be smart about your sun exposure.
- Get your recommended 5-15 minutes of sun a few times per week for healthy Vitamin D levels.
- Be aware of the ingredients in the sunscreen you are putting on your skin.
- Don’t leave your skin exposed to the sun for long periods of time. Hats, protective clothing and a shady tree are some easy ways to help prevent overexposure.
Your turn…please share your tips for sun safety this summer?
Blog post by: Melanie
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