Ladies, we all love spending time outside in the summer sun! We know about the damaging effects of harmful UV rays such as sunburn, skin cancer, and premature aging of the skin, but we often forget the effects that it can have on the rest of our bodies as well. Being proactive and protecting your body from the outside can be your first line of defense against the glaring effects of sun exposure. We all need at least 20 minutes of sunlight per day to get our dose of Vitamin D, but summertime means vacation in the sun for many of us! Let’s break it down here and talk real about keeping yourself protected from the sun this summer.
THE TRUTH ABOUT SUNSCREEN
Shouldn’t we feel safe and protected if we are wearing sunscreen? Not necessarily. Many brands of sunscreens on the market are filled with dangerous chemicals that can be quickly absorbed into the skin and enter the bloodstream. Sunscreen works by acting as a barrier on the skin that blocks harmful UVA and UVB rays, and there are two types of filters used in sunscreen: mineral and chemical. While mineral filters may leave your skin looking whiter than normal, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, the most commonly used minerals, work by deflecting and mirroring the sun’s UV rays. Zinc oxide is commonly used in diaper creams as well due to its ability to repel water, so it’s safe for a baby’s skin!
On the other hand, chemical filters like oxybenzone soak in UV rays and the chemicals in the sunscreen disperse and give off warmth. Since our skin acts like a giant sponge, whatever we lather on it will be absorbed into our bodies, including the dangerous chemicals found in common sunscreens. Let’s not forget that as we apply, we are also inhaling the chemicals plus any added synthetic fragrances. We also sometimes get the sunscreen on our lips, touch food with sunscreened hands, thereby potentially consuming it as well. Imagine the effect this can have on our bodily systems!
It’s not enough to slap on any old sunscreen we can find before heading to the beach. We need to be more concerned about the types of toxic chemicals that are in our over-the-counter sunscreens and take time to understand what those poisons can do to our bodies and skin. One major concern found in over-the-counter sunscreens is oxybenzone. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), oxybenzone is found in almost 65% of chemically based sunscreens. The evidence shows that higher levels of oxybenzone in the body may be related to interruptions in the endocrine system, poisonous to the body, and are related to photoallergic reactions, among other concerns currently being researched. Add to that other commonly-occurring chemicals such as the hormone-disrupting octinoxate, the highly-allergic preservative methylisothiazolinone, and potentially- carcinogenic retinyl palmitate, and you are guaranteed to think twice before slathering on the usual sunscreen again.
WHAT’S A GIRL TO DO?
Let’s just pause right now and let out a big sigh of relief, because thankfully you have MANY options when it comes to protecting you and your family from the harmful effects of the sun. The simplest answer is to stay out of the sun, but that just isn’t possible for most of us. Protection is key, so try to use shade to your advantage and don’t get caught assuming a cloudy day couldn’t cause damage. Covering your skin with rash guards or sun-protective clothing also provides added protection, especially for the kiddos. Sunglasses, hats, and loose, flowy clothing can help minimize the burn.
Now, let’s talk about safe sunscreens. Of course, you all know I love to DIY as much as possible, but sunscreen can be tricky and sometimes we need an easier solution that still provides us with maximum protection. I definitely encourage you to buy a mineral-based sunscreen with minimal chemicals, being sure to check that the main additives are zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, or both. A lot of my friends complain that mineral sunscreens leave their skin ghostly white and it is very difficult to remove, but this just offers me visual assurance of where I have applied it and proves that the mineral version stays unlike other versions. Plus, the top EWG-recommended brands usually fade away after you rub them in well, so try Badger, Aveeno, Tom’s of Maine, or Neutrogenia Pure & Simple, or check out the master list of over 200 mineral sunscreens on your own!
And for those of you who love a little DIY, try these amazing sunscreen bars that I like to store in empty deodorant containers for easy application. Just be sure to by non-nano zinc oxide!
DIY Lavender-Peppermint Sunscreen Bars
What I love about this recipe is that many of the ingredients contain natural SPF (shea butter, red-raspberry seed oil, carrot seed oil, and coconut oil!)
1 c. organic cold-pressed coconut oil (refined for unscented, or un-refined for coconutty scent)
1 c. organic shea butter
1 c. organic beeswax pastilles
3 Tbsp. non-nano zinc oxide powder
1 tsp. vitamin E oil or sweet almond oil
2 tsp. red raspberry seed oil
5 drops Lavender essential oil
2 drops Peppermint essential oil
Add shea butter, beeswax, coconut oil, and vitamin E oil in a glass jar and gently place in a saucepan with 1” of water at rolling boil. Reduce heat and stir until ingredients are melted. Remove from heat and let cool for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add essential oils and mix quickly. Without breathing in as you measure, add zinc oxide to mixture and stir well being sure that it doesn’t clump on the bottom. Working quickly, pour into silicon molds of your choice or empty deodorant containers. I recommend storing in the refrigerator for extended life, and be sure to keep in a cooler when heading outdoors for an extended period of time. Yield: 12 silicon baking molds or 10-12 deodorant containers.
DANGERS OF SUNBURN
Sunburns are caused when we allow our skin to be unprotected from the sun’s harmful UV rays for too long. They may seem to last for just a few days and then go away, but the truth is sunburns penetrate the skin and can cause alarming outcomes including uneven coloring to the skin, wrinkles, severe burns leading to hospitalization, and even cancer. Wearing sunscreen should not be optional! So, what should you do if you do happen to get a sunburn this summer? Don’t panic, instead try out this Healing DIY Sunburn Relief Spritz harnessing the amazing power of essential oils!
HEALING SUNBURN RELIEF SPRITZ
Here is a beautifully natural way to replenish and restore your skin and help combat sun damage! Peppermint, Frankincense, and Lavender combined are like a mega-skin healing superhero! Applying this incredible sun saver will seriously feel like a magical potion for your skin after getting a sunburn or after a day spent on the beach.
8-oz. glass spray bottle
½ c. witch hazel
3 Tbsp. pure aloe vera gel
¼ c. fractionated coconut oil
1 tsp. vitamin E oil
8 drops Lavender essential oil
4 drops Frankincense essential oil
4 drops Peppermint essential oil (omit if used for kids under age 6)
Mix all ingredients in glass spray bottle and shake well until they are mixed completely together. Shake well before each use. Spray over irritated skin every hour to soothe.
HARNESSING THE SUN’S POWER
While the sun can cause damaging effects to the skin, it provides a safer way to get those sun-kissed highlights in your hair rather than harsh chemical color treatments. Try this amazing lightening spray that will gently lighten your hair and leave you with that tousled beach look! You can apply to damp or dry hair, or a bit of both, to find your natural style. Just remember to avoid spraying it on your skin as the citrus oils are phototoxic!
CITRUS & SEA SALT TEXTURIZING/LIGHTENIG SPRAY
8-oz. glass spray bottle
1 c. warm water
1½ tsp. kosher or sea salt
½ tsp. fractionated coconut oil
1 tsp. dōTERRA Healthy Hold Glaze, or your favorite hair gel
¼ tsp. dōTERRA Conditioner, or your favorite conditioner
5 drops Lemon essential oil
3 drops Lime essential oil
2 drops Peppermint essential oil
In glass dish, add glaze, conditioner, FCO, and salt to warm water. Whisk together well, and add the essential oils. Whisk again and pour into glass spray bottle. To use, shake and spritz liberally on hair while scrunching with hands. Spend time in the sun to allow the citrus oils to gently lighten your hair. Note: Avoid spraying on skin to prevent phototoxic nature of EOs from pigmenting your skin.
I hope you are now empowered to safely enjoy the summer sun and use personal care products that will enhance and protect your overall health! Don’t feel pressured to go with the cultural flow of purchasing toxic over-the-counter sunscreens. By proactively educating yourself on the truth about sunscreens and other products and knowing you have better, non-toxic options, you can be sure that you are keeping yourself in top condition despite the lurking dangers of the sun. And if you need some essential oils to get you started, please contact me to order!