Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Green & Healthy Sun Protection Guide

Do you have lots of great summer plans that involve extended playtime in the sun? In Oregon, the summer is one of the few times we can enjoy that giant fireball in the sky so after 9 months of rain, most of us are eager to goble up every last ray. Can you relate?

Now let me ask you this:

Do you have a summer sun protection plan for you and your kids? 

I'm not talking about "toxic death cream" as one popular blogger recently put it. I'm talking about a comprehensive plan - ways to keep your skin safe that include sunscreen but doesn't rely solely on sunscreen. No? Don't worry. I've got your back!

Today I'm partnering with EWG Sun Safety to talk about the best, non-toxic, healthiest ways to stay safe while enjoying the outdoors this summer - sunburn and sketchy ingredient free!

Why is this important?

The Best Ways to Stay Sun Safe This Summer:

Wear Clothes

There is no doubt that a baby running around in the just a diaper seems like the quintessential image of summer freedom. The truth is, the more skin you have exposed, the more at risk you are for sun damage. Even wearing a shirt, shorts and a hat will go a long way to protect a significant amount of your skin real estate.

Find or Make Shade

If you're going to be playing on a beach, large open park or somewhere without natural shade from trees, bring an umbrella or pop up tent with you. Be sure to keep infants in the shade to protect their especially sensitive skin.

Don't forget your sunnies

Sunglasses aren't just a fashion accessory: they protect your eyes from harmful UV radiation. Be sure to pick up a pair for every member of your family!

Plan Around the Sun

As much as possible, try to plan your outdoor time in the morning and early evening when the sun is lower in the sky and less intense. Bonus: Take your kids outside to play earlier in the day and the just might take a nap for you!

Don't Get Burned

If your skin is turning red, it's time to take a break. Keep in mind that burnt skin burns more easily, too. So if you or your child are looking a little red, take a break from the sun for a couple days or cover up with longer clothing (if the burn is on arms or legs)

Check the UV Index

Most weather reporting sites or apps will also list the UV index along with the projected weather. You can get more information about the UV Index and what it means on the EPA's website. The UV index is much more effective than temperature to help you accurately gauge the intensity of the UV rays you'll be exposed to on a given day. On days when the UV index is high (above 6 or 7), you may want to plan on indoor activities for the middle part of the day in order to stay out of the sun.

Wear Sunscreen

Surprised this one is last? Sunscreen is important but it shouldn't be your only defense. A lot of sunscreens contain sketchy ingredients including endocrine disruptors (read: they mess with your hormones!) and ingredients that actually make skin cancer worse.

Stick to safer options: Look for sunscreens that contain Zinc Oxide, Avobenzone (NOT Oxybenzone - that's the bad stuff) or Mexoryl SX. I also personally look for sunscreens which are labeled as phthalate and paraben free (other classes of endocrine disruptors).

Avoid sunscreens which contain: Oxybenzone, Vitamin A (sometimes listed as retinyl palmitate) or added insect repellent.

Check out EWG's sunscreen guide the find the best sunscreens for you and your family. You should also check out their guide to the worst scoring sunscreens for kids. You might be surprised to see who is on this list!

You can also go here to download a safer sunscreen cheat sheet - although I personally found their online guide to be the most helpful to me because they give you the list of brands and products that meet all their criteria. 

About the Author:

Carissa is a green lifestyle expert and mom of two boys. The owner and lead writer for Creative Green Living, she is also the author of two e-books including the best-selling beverage cookbook, Infused: Recipes for Herb & Fruit Infused Water, Tea and More. You can also find her recipes featured in The Non-GMO Cookbook as well as in periodicals like Urban Farm Magazine. Her goal is to empower families to make healthier choices that are easy, taste great and are fun!
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Sponsored post disclosure:

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of EWG Sun Safety. The opinions and text are all mine.

 I only recommend products I personally enjoy and think my readers will as well. For more information, see my full sponsored post and review policy.

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Carissa's Creativity Space (creativecarissa.com) became Creative Green Living in February 2013. As such the watermarks on many of our old posts may reflect the previous site name.