By Samantha Coffin, Health Coach and Office Manager
When you think of sunscreen, do you think of joyful summer memories, sandy beaches, a distinct smell of coconuts? Chances are, you know the smell of sunscreen well, especially the brands you grew up using. Well, that is where the problem starts, the smell.
The ingredients of many sunscreens are not so great for our bodies. Many of us have been raised to believe it is a necessary evil, but really, there are many other steps you can take to protect yourself from a sunburn BEFORE reaching for the sunscreen.
Our biggest piece of advice: Sunscreen should be your last resort. Start out by:
Wearing sunglasses and a hat. You can stick to the basics or get really creative and have fun with these accessories!
Wear Clothing. Clothing is a great barrier to protect your body. Swim shirts are a great way to keep kids protected on sunny beach days.
Check UV Index. Not all sunny days are created equal, so check out which day is best to keep your skin safe.
Find or Make Your Own Shade! Whether you use a beach umbrella or lounge under a shady tree, you can still soak in the heat while not getting burned.
Schedule around the sun. Sunsets and sunrises are great to experience and much softer on our bodies. Also, who doesn’t love a stroll during golden hour?
Now, we know there are going to be times when you are in the sun for extended periods and extra clothing is not an option. When that happens, we encourage you to use good quality and healthy for your body sunscreen! But what sunscreen is healthy?
We suggest visiting the Environmental Working Groups website. Start by looking up your go-to sunscreen. You may be surprised by how some, such as Banana Boat rate. How does yours compare?
Next, explore what they have to say about healthier alternatives such as Raw Elements that you can find locally at Ware, California Baby which is easy to find at places like Target and 365 Everyday, the Whole Foods Brand sunscreen.
It can make all the difference if you do a little homework instead of relying on package details because even those with dermatologist ratings can surprise you. Some may have extremely poor UV protection while others contain harmful ingredients such as the widely used Oxybenzone which is known to mess with hormone distribution and high rates of skin allergies.
So before you head out in the sun for some fun, be sure to prepare with sunglasses, clothing, and shade. When sunscreen is necessary, proceed with caution and only use ones that you have researched. Happy Summer!