We made the switch to safer sunscreen when our firstborn entered our world. But I’ll be the first to admit it, I went a little over board with the sunscreen last year. I didn’t let the boys into the sun without slathering them with sunscreen. Protecting their precious little skin was priority number one. But this year I’m taking a bit of a different approach.
While protecting our skin from the damaging rays of the sun is definitely important, there are many benefits that the sun provides, like natural vitamin D. But slathering your skin with sunscreen every morning to ensure your skin never gets touched by the rays of the sun can drastically decrease your bodies ability to create vitamin D. Yes, we’re still using sunscreen very regularly around here, but we’re doing it smarter. We give ourselves about 30 minutes of full sun exposure each day to help our bodies create vitamin D without spending too much time unprotected that we end up getting burnt and damaging our skin. After 30 minutes we slather on the sunscreen and go about the rest of our day playing outside, going on a walk, digging in the dirt, or splashing in the pool.
It’s a simple change and a healthier approach to life in the sun. If your skin hasn’t seen sunlight in months (like ours hadn’t just a few short weeks ago) then I’d suggest starting with just 10 minutes of unprotected time in the sun. Of course, I am in no way a medical profession, this is just my personal opinion.
Sunscreen can be tricky, though. While it can protect us from the sun and may prevent skin cancer, it can also be full of toxic chemicals that can cause harm to our bodies as well as reef life (something I never even considered until it was shared with me last year).
There are 4 ingredients that you want to avoid at all cost; oxybenzone, retinal palmitate, parabens, and fragrance with phthalates. Oxybenzone, parabens, and phthalates are all known endocrine disruptors and retinal palmitate is a form of vitamn A, but as it reacts with UV rays, it increases the risk of skin tumors.
A simple way to find out if your sunscreen is safe is to look it up on ewg.org. They also have an app called Skin Deep where you can easily search all sorts of personal care products. The app gives you a rating from 1-9 with the lower numbers being the safer option. Whenever I’m looking something up I want it to get a rating of 1-3 for me to feel good about using it.
Here are a few safer options that you can use on yourself and your kiddos with confidence: