Natural Sunscreen

natural sunscreens

Summertime is here and we’ve spent nearly every day outside, often at the pool or just hanging out in the yard.

The kids are getting as brown as nuts but noone has had even the slightest bit of red.

We all hear how important it is to take precautionary measures to ensure the kid’s safety in the sun, but limited sun exposure can actually be beneficial. In fact, some scientists claim that some skin cancers are caused by lack of adequate sun exposure (related to low vitamin D levels).

Everyone needs to soak in a few minutes of sun every day in order to absorb vitamin D into their body.

Newborns, of course, should really limit their sun exposure during the first few weeks of life. This means using shaded stroller covers, a window shade in the car and perhaps using an umbrella if you are holding the baby. If you wear your baby in a ring sling, you can use the “tail” to cover him up, as long as it isn’t too hot.

After a few weeks of age, the baby can be exposed to the sun in limited amounts, but they should be protected in order to do so. It was once thought by the medical community that babies less than 6 months of age should not wear sunscreen at all; for fear that their skin is too sensitive. The American Pediatrics Association now recommends that even smaller babies wear sunscreen. But, it’s important to find one that is safe.

I wrote about this topic last year too: Healthy, safe, effective sunscreen.  The EWG (Environmental Working Group) is coming out with more info shortly on the subject, and you can go to their site to get the report on sun safety free of charge when it’s ready.

According to them:

“An investigation of nearly 1,000 brand-name sunscreen products finds that 4 out of 5 contain chemicals that may pose health hazards or don’t adequately protect skin from the sun’s damaging rays. Some of the worst offenders are leading brands like Coppertone, Banana Boat, and Neutrogena.”

Of course, hats and long clothing can also serve as protection from the sun. But who wants to spendmelansol natural sunscreen summertime covered up?

Natural Sunscreen

Recently I got a bottle of sunscreen from Oceana Naturals. Instead of the chemicals found in conventional sunscreens, it uses zinc oxide for protection from the sun. It also has antioxidants (which I’ll talk more about in a second) among its ingredients such as green tea, vitamin E, and date extract.

A read of the ingredients listing shows nothing unnatural – I can pronounce all of the words. All of it looks like food in fact! It’s also free of synthetic preservatives and fragrance. The natural oils give it a lovely scent. And unlike many sunscreens, you can apply it and get protection immediately. If you want to purchase a natural sunscreen, this would be a good choice.

Coconut Oil as a Sunscreen

For many generations, native populations living in tropical climates and islands have used coconut oil to protect their skin from the sun. The author of “The Coconut Oil Miracle”, Bruce Fife,  shows how coconut oil is very beneficial for skin and body.

It can be used as a natural sunscreen and can even help absorb nutrients in the body, such as the much needed vitamin D. It also makes your skin incredibly soft and is surprisingly non-greasy. I feed coconut oil (and CLO) to the kids and they spend a couple of hours a day in the sun, and never get burned. I also haven’t used any sunscreen at all on them so I know it must be working.

Another Reason to Take Your CLO

You can also help protect your child’s skin from the sun by the type of food they eat. Free radicals are responsible for sunburn as well as the damage (premature wrinkling, skin cancer) from too much time spent in the sun.

Eating foods rich in antioxidants can help fight free radicals in the air and strengthen body’s resistance to UVA and UVB rays. Antioxidant-rich foods include berries, legumes, vegetables, citrus and green tea.

Cod liver oil may also have a protective effect because of the omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin D content. The University of Manchester published results of a study that pointed to a reduced risk of sunburn and skin cancer among people who take cod liver oil supplements.

Interestingly, the other week I got a touch of sunburn on my shoulders, but had been slacking on my CLO. It was a reader who reminded me of the connection. I started taking it again and haven’t had any problem since – even though we’ve been at the pool every day for weeks!

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3 Responses to Natural Sunscreen

  1. Lisa says:

    That is wild! I take fish oil at night, and Evening Primrose oil in the morning, and love to put coconut oil on my hair and skin when I go outside, which is often! I don’t get sunburned, and don’t feel leathery, even though every summer I spend lots and LOTS of time outside!
    I think you are on to something!
    Great post,
    Lisa (MsFitUniverse)

  2. Emily says:

    A timely message, Carrie! I was just starting to wonder…I’ve gotten so tan…were those tiny freckles on my arm there before?…now it’s so hot so early in the day…should I break down and get some sunscreen?

    And does DS need it?

    Thanks for confirming what I already knew about the diet factor and sun. We eat lots of fruits and veggies, salmon, CLO (and DS is still nursing), and neither DS nor I have burned even though we’ve been out in the Texas sun 1-2 hours a day since the middle of April.

    Thanks for mentioning the coconut oil, as well–I had a friend tell me the same thing earlier this week, something I hadn’t heard before!

  3. Loretta says:

    Sunscreen is a must in our fair skinned sunburn prone household. I make the kids wear sunblock year round (they always roll their eyes at me, but sunburn happens even in the winter!) I always keep a tube of zinc in the medicine drawer, it’s great for so many things, including noses and cheeks when you’re out of sunblock -lol-

    I’ll have to look at some of these natural options that you’ve listed here. It’s time to go shopping for new sunscreen before vacation and with my sensitive skin I would love to find something that we can all use with no problems!

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