The lazy, hazy days of Summer are nearly upon us! Trips to the beach, a visit to the cottage or time tending the garden all equal the need for a little sun safety. Growing up, I remember spending hours outside without a hat or sunscreen. In fact, it was popular at that time to put tanning oil on your skin to improve the depth of the tan. Yikes! (Those were also the days of no car seats and kids used the street lights to tell them when to return home. I’m not sure how we survived, but somehow we managed!) While there were lots of good things about growing up in the era before sun awareness, reckless abandon for sun protection was not one of them.
When it comes to sun preparedness in our home, we follow these guidelines.
- 20 minutes of unprotected sun exposure allows for the natural absorption of vitamin D
- After the initial 20 minutes of glorious sun, seek shade! If you are in the direct sun, wear a hat or light long sleeves or apply sunscreen. Obviously, if you have had previous diagnosis of skin cancer, you may want to skip this step and head directly for shade!
When it comes to sunscreen, not all brands are created equal. Do your research and find a good quality brand that doesn’t compromise on quality of ingredients. For more information on sunscreen, visit Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database to find out how your favourite bottle stacks up. Some sunscreens contain endocrine disrupting chemicals like oxybenzone that acts like artificial estrogen in our bodies. Oxybenzone has been linked to endometriosis in women and low birth weight in girls.
- Travel with your own shade! When off to the beach, we bring a small shade tent and a large umbrella that screws into the sand. Both are quick and easy to set up and pack up compactly.
- Avoid the sun during the peak hours of 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. if possible.
- Stay hydrated! Drink lots and avoid the dreaded heat exhaustion! Water is your best choice to stay well hydrated. Beverages containing caffeine or alcohol are considered diuretics and may be a contributing factor to dehydration.
Looking for a healthy and tasty way to stay hydrated? Consider making your own healthy popsicles using a freshly made smoothie or coconut water and fresh fruit! Visit Super Healthy Kids for some great ideas. (Psst…you don’t need to be a kid to enjoy these recipes either! I promise, it will be our little secret!)