Summer Skin Care for the Crunchy Mom

With the first official day of summer here, many of us run to our nearest Wal-Mart, Target, grocery store or commissary to stock up on those much needed essentials. Beach towels, check. Grill accessories, check. Umbrella, check. Sunglasses, check. Even with the promise of warmer weather and vacation time, many mothers still pause when thinking about what they are using to protect their children from the dangers of the outdoors-sun and bugs.

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In 2012, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) published a study in which they found that 75% of the 800 sunscreens they tested contained harmful chemicals such as oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate, which can both be absorbed through the skin. Several toxicology experts and government-funded studies have found that both these chemicals may be the cause of increased risk of cancer by causing cell damage. Last year, the Food and Drug Administration called for a decrease in these chemicals in sunscreen and sunblock products, but many still contain these potentially harmful ingredients According to EWG. The things a consumer should look for and/or avoid in skin care sun products are those that contain oxybenzone or retinyl palmitate, and that they have both UVA and UVB protection. They also suggest using nothing higher than SPF 50 because anything higher than that does not provide extra protection-it’s just more chemicals.

If you happen to live in an area like mine (read: “the boonies”), you are not only reaching for your sunscreen when you walk outside, but you are also reaching for your bug spray. Most bug sprays you buy in the store contain a chemical called DEET. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), DEET is very dangerous to humans, especially children, if worn for extended periods of time. It can cause nausea, neurological damage, seizures, and death.

As a mother, I found myself wondering if I was overreacting to another touted “THIS PRODUCT CAUSES CANCER!!!/YOU WILL DIE!!!” claim, or if these chemicals really could harm my daughter. However, with skin cancer running in my family and living in the boondocks I knew I needed to take precautions with her while she’s outside. I also wanted to use a product that was natural and safe.

I had searched the aisles of my local stores to find a product that worked for us, but anything that looked moderately safe was expensive. So off to Pinterest I went to search for what every crunchy mother searches for-all natural, homemade, DIY products. In my search I came across the following options for outdoor protection from the sun and bugs.


Bug Repellants


Do you have any home remedies or tricks you use for protection from the sun and bugs? Tell us about it in the comments.



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