By: Sharon Letsinger
Summer is quickly approaching, as we can all tell here in Florida. The weather is warming up rapidly and outdoor activities are planned around avoiding the hottest part of the day, hugging the shade or finding refuge at pools and splash pads. With the heat, comes the need to consider what types of products to use to prevent sunburn.
Every Florida parent knows the fun of trying to choose sun protection that is safe, non-toxic, easy to apply and actually works.
Do we get enough sun?
The overzealous use of sunscreen on kids has resulted in widespread vitamin D deficiencies, which are linked to cancer, depression, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, and obesity. Recent studies have estimated around 70% of US children are deficient in vitamin D.
Are we really being protected?
Most sunscreens on the market contain chemicals that are known carcinogens, such as parabens and endocrine disrupters like oxybenzone, which when exposed to UV light, may produce free radicals. These risks, coupled with the risks from vitamin D deficiency, should give us pause in deciding whether to use conventional sunscreen.
Zinc oxide is a good barrier ingredient that has long been touted as a natural alternative to conventional sunscreen, however, it’s important to distinguish between particle size when selecting sunscreen to use on your family. Nanoparticles of zinc oxide have been shown to generate free radicals and are small enough to penetrate cell membranes.
Sensible sunburn protection
Given all the confusing information on sun safety as well as sunscreen safety, the ideal scenario would be to take your child outside each day for ten or fifteen minutes, and then seek shade, thus preventing vitamin D deficiencies as well as sunburn. Obviously, this isn’t always possible, and fortunately there is a brand of sunscreen that you can feel good about using. We selected Butterbean Organics sunscreen for our kids and to sell in our natural parenting shop. It provides spf 30 protection with large particle zinc oxide and all organic ingredients. It’s also convenient to use in the pump applicator and spreads easily.
My super pale boys are out in the sun daily and I don’t regularly use sunscreen on them unless we will be out all day at the beach or zoo and they don’t burn. I sell safe sunscreen and use it sparingly on my own family, but because of my own research, I think it’s important to allow for daily sun exposure. Of course, I’m not your healthcare professional, and you should always consult with your own pediatrician for advise.
Here’s to fun in the sun this year!
Sharon is an owner of wrapped up, a natural parenting and babywearing boutique. She has two boys that keep her hands and heart full. http://www.WrappedUpTampa.com