We’re in the thick of it now, aren’t we? I don’t know about the cities and towns where you all are living but here on the borderline of the desert we’re pushing 100 F days.
No complaints though. We have a pool we can get to and we have central air so we can’t get overheated, unless we try. (Although, it sure does change our daily routine – Rad running around the second he gets outside and me 7 months pregnant – we both heat up pretty quickly.) These are the days of later walks (we definitely went for a walk at 8:45 p.m. last night but we wanted to get outside. Bedtime, schmedtime.) And, we balance the week by hot afternoons spent indoors one day and a little bit of outside time the next day. How can you not want to soak up the sun? And that’s what led to this post.
Rad hates sunscreen so, so much – perhaps more than any other child I have seen. He wiggles and wines and pretends to cry the second I squeeze some into my palm. I get it. I didn’t want thick, goopy, slick stuff on my skin when I was a kid. And, so, when I do get it slathered on him, I want it to be good. And, I want it to be easy.
I have read that spray sunscreens are not as effective as the lotions. And, if I think about it, that makes sense – you need to have a layer of this stuff on you for it to be effective. With the sprays, it’s a thinner layer. But, oh, I dream of using them – “Rad, close your eyes! Hold your breath! [Spray] Ta-da! We’re done!” But, I am too attracted to the look of the paste literally sitting on top of his skin blocking the sun. It’s the visual I depend on, I guess.
There are physical sunscreens and chemical sunscreens. I have been opting for the physical (you will also read this referred to as mineral) sunscreens (which use either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as their blocker) because they are in line with the natural products that I like to use. And, while these often are disliked by many because of the white film they leave across the skin, I will tell you that these days, I have come across many that absorb nicely enough into my skin that I don’t even notice it.
Before I share my top favorites, I should also note that 30 SPF is the recommended number to get to – and, you can go up to 50 SPF. Essentially, 30 SPF blocks 97% of UVB radiation and 50 SPF blocks 98% of UVB radiation. And, use enough – they say a shot glass or two tablespoons to adequately cover your body and face. (I’m pretty sure I use more than that …) But, if you don’t use enough, the SPF factor wanes – you think you’re using 30 SPF when in fact you haven’t put enough on for it to be effective at a 30 SPF rate. Make sense?
My favorites so far this summer:
ThinkBaby: I had read over so many toddler sunscreen reviews at the beginning of this summer (I was shopping to replace what we had been using) and this brand was tops, time and time again. And, compared to other physical sunscreens for kids (and adults) the price is great. (They can get so expensive.) We purchased our 6-ounce bottle for a little over $19 USD on Amazon. And I love it. It coats our skin but then absorbs nicely. Rad doesn’t freak out as much as he did with our old sunscreen which was quite greasy. I can’t see myself straying too far from this brand this summer.
Badger: I have often depended on the safety but effectiveness of Badger products – totally recommend them. They have a baby and a kids sunscreen (and of course a variety for adults.) The caveat? It’s expensive. Regular price, a 2.9-ounce tube comes in at $15.99 USD. But, shop around for lower prices – you should be able to find that 2.9-ounce tube for as low as $12 USD during some sales and at some shops. (Places online to check out – LuckyVitamin.com, Jet.com and for Canadian readers, Well.ca)
Honest Co.: There have been some publicly declared issues with this sunscreen – I’ll put it out there – but we have enjoyed using it – as in, it has been effective for Radley and I. The company released a new formula this season as well and perhaps that was part of rectifying any previous issues with last year’s formula. I don’t know any details about all of those issues but what I do know is that this sunscreen is pretty greasy. That’s why I started searching for a new brand. But, that isn’t to discount it. It doesn’t leave a white film and if your baby isn’t prone to freaking out about greasy hands, you’re probably all good getting your hands on a tube of this stuff. I find Honest Co. products affordable and effective. And that’s what I am looking for. It’s $13.95 USD for 3 ounces but if you are a customer and you bundle your products, it’s up to 25% less. And, you can find Honest Co. products on plenty of other websites.
Also to note – you know that whole thing about there being an expiry date on sunscreen? I tried to use a bottle from last year and Rad and I both burnt pretty quickly. So, turns out that whole “a year and then toss it thing” is actually a thing. Take a deep breath, forget about the price and toss it.
What I am looking forward to trying:
Um, this little beauty popped up at the grocery store the other day –
and as a sucker for packaging, I think I’ll give it a shot when our ThinkBaby runs out. It comes in baby, kid and adult formulas and there is a really sweet trigger spray bottle that while as I mentioned sprays not being as effective as lotions, one of these spritzers might be worth popping into my diaper bag too.
As a last note on sunscreens, a great resource is always the Environmental Working Group’s annual sunscreen roundup. They do an awesome job and you can link out right from the site to shop the products.
Now, onto bugs. I don’t think I have ever thought about bugs (i.e. mosquitos) ever, except now that I am pregnant in the height of Zika pandemonium (well, since actually the windswept pandemic will arrive after the olympics, I guess we are instead on the cusp of pandemonium…) bugs are all I think about when I am near standing water or trees. I tested out multiple natural bug repellents when I was back in Ontario visiting my parents. (My mom was like, “Do you have your bug repellent?!?” Their yard is more prone to mosquitos and we knew we’d be spending lots of time outdoors.) Here are my winners.
Zoe Organics Insect Repellent – My husband was rummaging for twigs amidst conifers when we were camping last weekend and the mosquitos being disturbed were flying up and around everyone. He lathered on this oil (it squirts out and you massage it onto your skin) and he said, “Since I did that, no mosquitos have come near me.” That’s pretty fantastic. Not to mention, it smells delicious.
Shop around for prices. I scored a good deal in Ontario through an online boutique in Toronto. For US shoppers, this line is now sold at Target, which brings the line’s price down. We’re talking a range between $15 – $20.
Faerhaven Summertime Lotion – This is tricky to find – it’s made near my hometown, in a little hamlet called Harrow. But, if you live in Ontario, seek it out. It is sold at one of my favorite stores in Windsor, Ontario – Shop Eco. It all started when I arrived at my parents’ house sans bug spray – a little glitch with an order I had placed. I went to Shop Eco knowing they would have some natural options and while I was hesitant at first – I really wondered how effective it would be – I am so glad I picked it up. It’s so darn easy to apply – it’s a stick! Like deodorant! And the first early evening I used it, a mosquito landed next to my foot and then flew away. (What?!) So, scoop up a couple of these if you do find them.
Honest Co. Bug Spray: This repellent ($12.95 USD) seems to be similar in formula to the Zoe Organics but it is a spray-on, which is the application most are more accustomed to. We used it last summer and it was great. I still have a bottle kicking around this summer too. I’m obsessed with my above two finds but I will keep this one in a diaper bag or purse too.
I want to note though – if you are pregnant and you know you will be near Zika-compromised mosquitos or near ticks that might be carrying lyme disease, it’s wise to choose an insect repellent with DEET, Picaridin or IR 3535. The Environmental Working Group has a great chart that allows you to choose your current situation (i.e. pregnant mom) and what you might be avoiding (i.e. Zika) then offers suggestions on what to look for.
Ok! Get yourself covered and go have some summertime fun! Beaches! Camping! The Great Outdoors! Oh, my!