Oh the joys of SUNSHINE! While enjoying the mood elevation and active outdoor time, we want to assure you know how to safely protect our skin. There are many false claims, toxic ingredients, and misleading advertising tricks out there, so here I provide you with a concise resource to determine what is best for you and your family! (Kid tested and approved by my family, of course!)
Since our skin is our largest organ, and it absorbs much of what we put on it (remember many hormones therapies are actually put into creams to absorb through your skin!), we shouldn’t put anything on our skin that is not safe for swallowing! This is even more important for children because they have more absorptive area relative to their size than adults, and their hormone systems are still developing, so are more at risk from toxins. Unfortunately, many sunscreens contain alarming amounts of harmful chemicals that are potentially damaging to the hormone and immune systems, so we have to learn to watch out for them, especially for kids during their developmental years.
The BEST go to resource for safe sunscreen for adults and kids alike is The Environmental Working Group (EWG) 2016 Guide to Sunscreens, which you can view on-line here:
You can learn about harmful ingredients, rate the current sun products you use for safety (hint: Banana Boat and Coppertone topped the list for terrible), and find the best products out there for you and your little ones!
From EWG: “ . . . our investigation of more than 750 beach and sport sunscreens for our tenth annual guide found that serious concerns remain. Almost three-fourths of the products we examined offer inferior sun protection or contain worrisome ingredients like oxybenzone, a hormone disruptor, or retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A that may harm skin. And despite scant evidence, the government still allows most sunscreens to claim they help prevent skin cancer.”
My Top 3 Tips for Safe Family Fun in the Sun:
- Throw out your poorly rated screens and get the best products! Our Buchert family tested and approved products we currently use for the whole family are Loving Naturals Clear Body SPF 30+, and KidSport All Terrain Lotion and Face Stick. All get top safety & efficiency ratings on EWG and we order in bulk on amazon prime to keep it simple. Before I was a mom in the know on this topic (ie. before I became a Functional Medicine Doc), I smeared on creams and sprayed those awful sprays, that caused their skin to burn and lots of tears. Now, the sunscreen ritual is much faster for our four boys, no whining or crying, AND I’m not putting harmful chemicals in their bodies anymore. These go on easily, stay put, and work great through swim practices and beach days alike!
- Absolutely avoid the top toxins found in many commercial brands: oxybenzone (implicated in skin allergies, and a hormone disrupting chemical that mimics estrogen), retinyl palmitate (may actually contribute to skin cancer when exposed to sun), octinoxate & homosalate & parabens (more hormone disruptors), octocrylene (produces free radicals, which damage skin cells in the sun).
- Don’t leave behind the right gear! Sunglasses, hats, and UV protection swim clothes and rash guard shirts all play an important role in protecting the eyes and skin from harmful UV rays. Also, the more you cover up, the less cream you need to spread on! This is a super important tip in rationing your supply of quality sunscreen, coming from the mom in a family of six. (Just like we don’t want to waste our high quality organic foods, we don’t want to waste our high quality screens – this is how you make keeping your family safe and healthy affordable!)
Recipe of the Week – Magic Milkshakes!
Just like many of you, we love ice cream too! But due to our commitment to avoid giving processed sugars and hormone/antibiotic laden conventional dairy products to our family on a regard basis, we indulge in this awesome, easy to make alternative instead!
In a high speed blender, blend together the following until smooth:
- 1/3 cup cashews (or other soft nuts like pecan, walnuts, or soaked almonds)
- 2-3 medjool dates
- a dash of cinnamon
- 1 cup of water
- a splash of vanilla
- optional: Add 1 Tbsp of raw cacao powder for chocolate, or 1 tsp. matca powder for green tea latte.
Then add 10 ice cubes and blend again. Doctor approved milkshake, simple as that! We x4 this recipe to fill the Vitamix and serve up 2 large and 4 small shakes for our family.