THE QUESTION:

Hi Alexandra,

Its that time of year again!  Lots of sunshine and playing outside.  My kids and I are all very sensitive to lotions and sunblocks, so we’re always trying out new products.  What sunscreens do you suggest for us?  Thanks so much!

Best,

Carolyn

THE ANSWER:

Hi Carolyn,

Thanks for your question.  Sunscreen has  been on everyone’s mind now that summer is officially upon us. Hats, shade, and staying out of the sun during its strongest hours are the best ways to avoid the bad rays (and maybe even catch a little vitamin D). But most of us duck out of the shade from time to time–sometimes for hours at a time–and so we need added protection. As far as sunscreen goes, choosing a mineral cream with an SPF above 15 and below 30 that does not contain nanoparticles is your best bet.  Oxybenzone is the main chemical used in sunscreens. The Environmental Working Group calls it a toxic chemical and says it has been linked to allergies, hormone disruption, and cell damage.  To find out more about safer sunscreens, check out the Environmental Working Group’s Sunscreen Guide. (I’ve been wearing Soleo and Badger this summer.)

The other thing to consider when taking care of your skin this summer are the cleansers and scrubs you’re using.  Reading the backs of labels can be confusing and frustrating, so why not make your own?  Its inexpensive, easy, fun (if you like this sort of thing), and, best of all, cheap.  Follow these simple recipes from Planet Home:

Dry Skin Face Mask:

Mix 1/2 cup cooked plain oatmeal with 2 teaspoons honey.  Apply to face, let sit for ten minutes, and rub off.  This mask is both moisturizing and cleansing.

Exfoliating Face Scrub 1:

Combine 4 teaspoons powdered brewer’s yeast, 2 teaspoons plain yogurt, 2 teaspoons almond meal, and 1 teaspoon organic honey and mix well.  Rub gently over face, then rinse with warm water.  Use immediately, do not store in the refrigerator.

Exfoliating Face Scrub 2:

Mix 1 teaspoon baking soda, a dab of mild, plant-based liquid soap, and a few drops of water.  Rub evenly over face and rinse with warm water.

Happy summer!