So after some extensive searching through scientific and mother blogging(really a very accurate source of trial testers on products)I've narrowed down sun exposure safety. As one with fair skin and a youngster who didn't inherit his father's beautiful tan-I am always on the look out on how to minimize mine and his burning potential. I mean really this is a daily adventure as I Love the Sun-hence the name-Sun Loving Baby....always searching for the warms rays.
Here's some helpful tips to enjoy the warm sunny weather
-Bring a Golf Umbrella
besides being and excellent choice for sun ray filtering it can be added entertainment for the little one. a tent stake and string are crucial on windy days or just tie it to a chair if you have one.
-Lightweight Organic Cotton or Hemp Clothing
long sleeve pants and shirts will keep you surprisingly cool on a hot day as your surface body temperature isn't baking in the sun-Ideally Hemp Clothing as it wicks moisture away from the body, is naturally temperature regulating and grown without pesticides (one of the main causes of cancer and birth defects)
-Hat with a strap
keeps the sun off the face and the strap deters little hands from successfully removing it off their dome.plus the strap keeps the hat secure on windy days
read labels and research every ingredient. just because it's sold in the natural marketplace does not guarantee it's safe. Go here to find your sunscreen and see how it is rated in terms of toxicity, developmental effects, bioaccumulation, cancer hazard and more. You'll likely be as alarmed as I am on how even my choice brand of Alba is really toxic as well. I always hated the way you could taste it in your mouth after applying it. Those chemicals were really soaking in. Terrible.
After digging through several sources I've concluded that Physical Sunscreen with Broad Spectrum Coverage is ideal. What this means is the sunscreen using minerals instead of chemicals to block harmful rays is safer. The minerals basically absorb then reflect UV light before it reaches your precious skin. Mineral Sunscreens with Micronized Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide are in the Physical Sunscreen Category.
Micronized Zinc Oxide is the most affective at blocking UVA and UVB light. Currently the only organic brand on the market is Badger Sunscreen which is a base of olive oil, shea and cocoa butter and some essential oils with 20% Zinc Oxide. This is not Nano Zinc Oxide but Micronized meaning the particles are greater than 100nm. Their is much concern on cell damage (DNA mutation) from the nano particles penetrating several layers into the skin. Unfortunately, Burt's Bees uses Nano Titanium Dioxide among other dirty ingredients which only protects you from UVB light. Burt's Bees was also bought out by Clorox and bleach is a whole other topic on cancer and water contamination. If you go to the link on Burt's Bees above you'll find that the fragrance is really one of the worst ingredients-saturating your skin with a neurotoxin. This is where reading ingredient labels is so important instead of glazing over on a company name.
SPF is difficult to evalute and higher numbers are not neccesarily better. In my opinion 15 is probably the highest you need to go as higher numbers mean more mineral or chemical content. Too figure out how long the SPF is effective calculate
-How long till you burn w/o sunscreen-Multiply by SPF rating = # of minutes till it wears off.
For example if it normally takes 20 minutes for you to burn and your using SPF 15 then after 300 minutes you'll need another coat. Sooner if you've been sweating or in water. So divide the minutes in half.
I like to put on a layer of Organic Lotion as the Shea Butter has a natural SPF of 6 and it provides a barrier to the sunscreen risks. I'd much rather have the Organic Lotion soaking and the Sunscreen floating on top doing it's job absorbing and reflecting light. Plus if I use SPF 15 I'm basically getting around SPF 20 by applying the two layers.
My rule of thumb for all products going on the skin is to stick with true plant oils and butters and stay away from anything with
-Mineral Oil (petroleum based)
-Sulfates and Sulfites
-Metals-especially Aluminum (causes dementia-use your old cookware for plant containers)
Really after reviewing organic shampoos and sunscreens I am quite disturbed. It really seems in terms of sun exposure that cancer can occur if you do or don't use sunscreen. Not sure which is more rapid or severe. You'll have to decide on the lesser of 2 evils. A combination of some sunscreen and clothing and shade devices seems the best bet.
As for me-I'll be making a whole new line of hats and sunscreen sticks to survive these beautiful Montana Summers.