Unless you are one of the few individuals who does not live in a place with sunlight, or bugs- or both- this article is for you!! All things summer are just around the corner, including bug bites and sunburns. If these things are as undesirable to you as they are to me, read on for some of the best ways to keep your skin protected as well as what to look out for when purchasing sun and bug products.
I am told that for the time being at least, the sun is here to stay. And since its essential to our existence, I am fine with that. What I am not fine with is sun damage.
It turns out that the best way to prevent this is just to stay out of the sun (or staying in the shade). But I like being outdoors, and I’m assuming you do too, so that means the sun is pretty much unavoidable. Thankfully, we live in 2021 where there are plenty of options that will protect you.
Summer Skin Protection
Put on your clothes! Coverage is the name of the game here. Look for clothes that say they are UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) protected. The higher the UPF rating, the more protection you get. Plus, UPF accounts for both UVA and UVB rays in their rating. Translation: more skin protection. Usually, these fabrics are super lightweight and come in lots of options from hats, short or long-sleeved shirts, shorts, pants, and even socks. Even your eyes get sun damaged too so don’t forget to keep that hat on your head and those sunglasses on your face.
I like to keep things au natural. This means that I avoid unwanted chemicals when I can. Some heavier-hitting chemicals to avoid are Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, and Retinyl Palmitate. I am not into hormonal disruptions, allergic reactions, or these things lingering in my bloodstream. A lot of these sunscreens don’t offer adequate skin protection but gives us a sense of security if we just use them. This applies to sprays as well. Once again, look for a sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. UVB sunscreens are known for preventing sunburns but UVA’s have long-lasting effects as well. Since your skin is the first line of immune defense, keep it strong, to keep you strong. Sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide are preferable. Reasons we like them? They are minerals, are not absorbed like chemicals are into your skin, and they are Earth-friendly!!
The scent of products will make or break it for me. That’s another criteria that weighs heavily when choosing sunscreen. Some favorites include Alba Botanical Kid’s, California Baby, and Blue Lizard Baby. There is no research behind this but I am convinced that baby and kid’s sunscreens are better, so that’s all I use. I am sure the adult versions are just as cool though. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is great to use for an extra check as they provide awesome insight into different brands.
Does anyone else have a love/hate relationship with bugs? I really want to like them. I do. In fact, I am a huge lover of bees…and lightning bugs. I am super into insects’ value to nature but good gosh, I just want them to leave me alone. I’m not interested in them or the potential for different diseases. Yet, go try and find good insect repellent options and we’re back to different chemicals that impact both the environment and us.
Place a big red “X” next to ingredients like Imidacloprid, Pyrethrin, Permethrin, Phenothrin or Tetramethrin. These chemicals seem to affect different parts of the ecosystem and we are all about balance here. DEET is another one that really gets a bad reputation. Mostly because we aren’t sure of how exactly it works, and that throws a red flag. Combination sunscreen and bug sprays also have not been shown to be great. I prefer options with Picaridin, which is a repellent. If you are unsure about products, once again turning to our dear friends at the EWG for their expertise can also help in your decision. My personal favorites are from Sawyer Products. The general takeaway is to avoid options that kill insects and stay with choices that simply repel them.
Regardless if you hunt, camp, fish, or simply barbecue, don’t forget the sun and bug protection.
How do you safeguard against sun damage and pesky insects?
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