Summer is here! The sun is shinning, the trees are green, school is out (or almost out), the pools are open and the kids just want to be outside all day playing.
It’s one of my favorite seasons because we get to spend so much time outdoors doing very fun activities. Plus all this sun is great for our vitamins D levels, which tend to drop drastically during the winter months.
But, as with anything else, too much sun is not ideal because it can burn burn burn. There’s nothing worse than having a bad sunburn. Believe me, I experienced those many times when I sneakily removed the sunscreen my mom had put on me as a kid.
Summer is also the month where sunblock gets pushed a lot. You see commercials everywhere, ads on Facebook and all over the stores. While sunscreens can be useful, most of the conventional brands out there contain toxic chemicals. Some are so harsh that I would rather get burned than lather that toxic concoction on my skin.
Let’s not forget that our skin is our biggest organ and it absorbs everything you put in it. Making a smart choice about what sunscreen should be a priority. Even Dr. Oz had a segment on how toxic some sunscreens are and when someone as mainstream and popular as Dr. Oz talks about it, you know it has to be bad. He discussed the issues with conventional sunscreens in this post:
Nine of the 15 chemical sunscreens are considered endocrine disruptors. Those are chemicals that interfere with the normal function of hormones. The hormones most commonly disturbed are estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and thyroid. Endocrine disruptors, like some ingredients in chemical sunscreens, can cause abnormal development of fetuses and growing children. They cause early puberty and premature breast development in girls, and small and undescended testicles in boys. They cause low sperm counts and infertility. Endocrine disruptors that act like estrogen can contribute to the development of breast and ovarian cancers in women, and other endocrine disruptors may increase the chance of prostate cancer in men.
So, what’s a mom gotta do? Make sure you get all the right gear to protect yourself from the sun and buy a safe, non-toxic sunscreen. We love and use Goddess Garden Organics, in fact we love it so much that I was a brand ambassador for them in 2017 (which meant I got free samples of their products).
A Reminder on Vitamin D
Before I give you my list of essentials I want to remind up that adequate levels of Vitamin D are essential to our well being. 15 minutes of sun exposure a day can keep your levels up so before you go on lathering yourself in sunscreen and covering yourself in clothes, make sure you get those 15 minutes of sun exposure a day.
10 Non-Toxic Summer Essentials For Your Family
I love making DIY products and learning all about how combinations of different ingredients work but one thing I will never make at home is sunblock. Why? If something goes wrong with the sunscreen or if it doesn’t work I’ll end up with a sunburned child and that’s a risk I am not willing to take.
When buying sunblock look for a plant-based organic natural-mineral sunscreen that is free from oxybenzone, parabens and synthetic fragrances. We love and use Goddess Garden because it’s effective, safe and it doesn’t feel like a thick white paste on your skin.
I’ve been out all day under the sun with my kids and none of us got burned, so it really works. I carry the baby and kid stick in my diaper bag every day because you never know when you’ll need it. I bring the facial and every day sunscreen when I know we’ll be out all day, like at the pool, beach, amusement park.
Lip Balm with SPF
To avoid getting your lips chapped from too much sun exposure, lip balm is a must during the summer month. I just make a batch of our DIY lip balm recipe and use that on myself and my kids. However, if you want more SPF protection on your lip balm, try these from Goddess Garden or any of these organic ones.
Whole body bathing suit for kids
This is one of the best investments I’ve ever made. Putting sunscreen on my kids when we get to a beach, pool or water park is easy but getting them out of the water to reapply is torture. One day I saw a little girl wearing one of these toddler bathing suits and I immediately ordered them for my kids.
We bought our first one over 4 years ago and used it quite a bit. Now, my youngest still uses it (see picture below) and my 5 year old still fits in it; it’s just shorter on the legs and arms.
When they’re wearing this suit all I have to do is apply sunscreen on their face which makes my life so much easier.
Hats go a long way and if you can get your kids to wear a hat you won’t have to reapply their sunscreen as often because the hat offers protection. I like to buy hats that cover most of my kids’ face and neck, like these.
I even bought a big hat for myself and now leave it in the car. When we’re out on a sunny day at the play ground my giant hat makes me feel more refreshed, so it doesn’t only protect from sunburn but makes being under sun less taxing on your body.
Sun protective clothing
If you’re going to be out in the sun all day, wearing a long sleeve shirt is probably a good idea. You can buy specific shirts made for this that aren’t as thick as regular shirts so you don’t sweat as much, while protecting you from UV rays. There are many options for kids but you can even find them for adults.
I personally don’t use them on myself but I do use them on my kids, especially if we’re out playing at a splash pad during sun peak hours.
This might seem obvious for us adults, but did you know you can buy sunglasses for your kids? At first I didn’t think we would need these, but now my girls complain about the sun when it’s too bright. We have been using Babiators for a few years and I love that they can take a beating but you can also find sunglasses for kids in most stores. Make sure they’re not just tinted by actually have UV protection.
Water in non-toxic water bottles
During the hot summer months it is very easy for us to get dehydrated and even more so for our kids to get dehydrated. However, as a mom of two kids I found out the hard way that carrying three glass bottles in your diaper bag makes for a very sore shoulder.
I found that the Pura Kiki non-insulated bottles are very light, which is great if you’re carrying several bottles in your purse or diaper bag. I have found that although they are not insulated, the water doesn’t warm up so it’s still refreshing when you drink it.
It is very important to remind your kids to drink water. Please offer your kids water frequently, especially if they’re playing out under the sun. It is an easy way to prevent dehydration!
I also like to keep coconut water at home and if we’ve been out a lot and my kids haven’t drank as much water as I’d like to, they get a big cup of coconut water when we get home since it contains electrolytes, vitamins, minerals, trace elements, amino acids, enzymes and antioxidants, plus it’s low in sugar.
After sun care: caring for sunburned skin
It happens, sometimes we forget to reapply sunscreen and we find ourselves with a sunburn. My favorite thing to use for sunburn is aloe vera, as a child I would pick a leaf from our yard and take out the gel and rub it in my body. It worked wonders and it worked fast.
Now-a-days I don’t have aloe growing on my yard and I can’t always find fresh leaves at the store, so I buy this aloe vera spray or this other spray for after sun care. I’m personally liking the spray more because it’s less messy to apply. This is the only thing I use on my kids.
For myself, I like the Sun Repair system from Goddess Garden because as we get older our skin needs extra care, and if I’m being honest here, I’m trying to avoid wrinkles for as long as I can.
Moisturizing and hydrating body butter (for every day use)
Too much sun may dry out our skin so using a nourishing cream is a great way to heal your skin from any damage. I love using our DIY body butter recipe because it works great on myself as well as my kids. I make one batch and it lasts us almost the entire summer season. I use it every night to restore and moisturize our skin.
A giant beach bag
This made our list because let’s face it, our kids need so many things when we’re out that having a big beach bag is not optional. I love the SuperBe Bag from Ju-Ju-Be because it’s very light but big. I manage to fit all of my kids’ stuff in it!
I have had the same bag for 4 years now and it’s holding up great. The best part is that I can throw it in the washer if it needs to be cleaned.
Those are my top 10 essentials to protect your family from sun exposure without slathering toxic chemicals all over your body. It’s all about balance, you don’t want to keep your kids completely away from the sun because the Vitamin D is so important for their health but you also don’t want to let them burn or apply toxic chemicals on their skin.
Luckily for us that are concerned about this, there are so many great options out there and most are very affordable.
Would you add anything else to this list? Leave a comment.