20 years ago if you asked me about the person I’d be today, I could have painted a fairly accurate picture. However, one aspect of my life that I never saw coming was turning into a crunchy-ish mama. I use the term loosely because there are several aspects of being a crunchy mom that I am NOT on board with (hello, I LOVED my c-sections and my children have never slept in my bed!) But more and more I find myself trending towards more “natural” ways of doing life.
We avoid processed food as much as possible (but yes, I still have goldfish in my pantry!) We eat a lot of organic food. I use non-chemical cleaning supplies. I have a whole collection of essential oils. I’m not a huge fan of medicine and we avoid using it when we can. And- gasp- I HATE sunscreen.
Before everyone freaks out, please let me say- we do use it. However, it’s in moderation and with very careful consideration.
Some of you may be wondering if I’ve lost my mind. Sunscreen is basically a staple of life these days. Every doctor recommends it and most moms don’t even think twice before lathering up their children. As a non-medical professional I’m not going to try to convince you of the health risks. I’m simply going to ask you to keep an open mind and do some research.
Regardless of your stance on sunscreen, here are 5 tips for spending time in the sun this summer:
- NO Spray Sunscreen: Why this stuff is even allowed to be on the market is beyond me. Setting the chemicals that you’re putting on your body aside (because, honestly that’s about the same as any other type of sunscreen)- you’re spraying them into the air. And then guess what happens? You breathe them and they go straight into your lungs. Y’all I swear this makes me as crazy as my children breathing second hand smoke. It’s so disgusting and harmful. I understand it’s a more convenient way of applying sunscreen, but is the heath risk really worth it?
- Shop Smart: There seem to be about a billion brands of sunscreens on the market. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watch people select their sunscreen based on price or convenience. Since I’ve already stated that I’m a semi-crunchy mama, you may be assuming I’m here making tubs of homemade sunscreen out of ingredients I grow in my backyard. But honestly, I just don’t have that in me. Most days it’s a struggle to cook a meal- much less make homemade sunscreen! But I do purchase my sunscreen with safety (not price) in mind. Take some time to consider the ingredients in your sunscreen and the value of your health. Spend a little more money to get a safer, more natural sunscreen. If you’re not sure where to start, google it. There are hundreds of resources for the best/safest sunscreen on the market!
- Timing: I use common sense with our sun exposure. If possible we avoid being outside during the middle of the day. And if we’re out in the middle of the day, we definitely use sunscreen. But, if we’re out in the morning or late afternoon- I typically don’t apply it. Vitamin D is actually a really great thing and most people are deficient. If we’re out for a short amount of time I would rather expose my kids to sun than sunscreen. Also, as the summer goes on we’re also able to use sunscreen less frequently. It’s always a weighted decision and I try to look at whole picture.
- Hat/Sunglasses/Shirt/Shade: Unless my children are in the water (and sometimes even then!) they understand that a hat and/or sunglasses are mandatory. If I feel they are getting too much sun I always make them throw on a shirt. Likewise, if we’re only going to be out for a short period of time, I will use a shirt rather than applying sunscreen. When it’s possible we use a beach umbrella or seek a shady spot too. These are all things we don’t mess around with- my children know if I tell them to do/use any of these items it’s either do it, or go inside. Period. We don’t argue over this stuff!
- Shower: If sunscreen has been applied at any point during the day, a shower is non-negotiable. I always make every effort to wash sunscreen off as soon as we’re out of the sun. In the long run, I have no scientific idea if it makes any difference. But I feel better about getting the chemicals off their skin!
One final crunchy mama tip: if you or your children do end up with a little more sun exposure than you’d like- lavender oil is excellent for soothing skin. We never travel during the summer without it!