Friday, June 17, 2011

Sunblock and Bugspray

So for any parents out there with little ones, you probably were born after 1975 and have had it drilled into your head from birth that sunscreen and bug spray are needed every time you head outdoors to enjoy the summer sun. Yet how effective are these products for protecting you? Could they actually be doing more harm than good? Here are more natural alternatives to both!

Bug spray:
Now as far as bug spray goes most people know to stay away from DEET because it is a neurotoxin. When sprayed on your skin it gets into your blood stream and into your nervous system where it wreaks havoc. But many don't realize that just because a bug spray has less or even no DEET in it doesn't mean it doesn't have other chemicals in it. It is better to try and find herbal or all natural bug repellents. Citronella candles and tiki torch oil can keep bugs away from your whole yard, without having to spray anything on yourself. Citronella oil is a plant derived essential oil and is a wonderful all natural repellent, though it is known to cause skin irritation if put directly on you so it's best you just light that candle and enjoy the outdoors. If you need to spray something directly on yourself though, like before a hike through the woods here are some all natural options for you. Lemon oil, eucalyptus oil, geranium oil, soybean oil, fennel, thyme,  clove oil, vitamin B1, garlic, and celery extract all are known natural bug repellents. Lavender oil is also a natural flea repellent (but that is a whole different problem). I don't usually buy premade natural bug sprays because we usually either make our own or use citronella candles. However I did a little googling and here are some of the top recommended brands of all natural repellents.
1.Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent:
The pros of this repellant are, no DEET, long-lasting protection, it won't damage plastics or synthetics, and it uses only plant-based ingredients. The cons are a strong odor and children under 3 can't use it.

2. BiteBlocker Organic Xtreme Insect Spray:
The pros of this repellent are, it is safe for all ages, uses only plant-based ingredients, it won't damage plastics or synthetics, and it doesn't need to be washed off immediately after use. The cons are, limited protection, not available as a lotion and not everyone likes the smell.

Recently the EWG or the Environmental Working Group did a massive study on just what sunscreen was really doing to us and more importantly to our children. The study concluded that there is a significant amount of data showing that skin cancer is actually increased when using some sunscreens. This is due to the sunscreen not protecting against UVA rays, blocking vitamin D, and even containing carcinogens themselves in the ingredient list.
Here is a list of some sunscreens that made the EWG's Hall of Shame. These are only the top worst offenders. However the EWG says that 84% of all sunscreens on the market failed the requirements for safety. If you use these you should probably consider throwing them away, or at least buying a safer kind after it is used up.
Hawaiian Tropic Baby Stick Sunscreen SPF 50
Baby Blanket SunBlankie Towelette SPF 45+
Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection SPF 55
Coppertone Water Babies Sunscreen Lotion SPF 70+
Banana Boat Sport Performance Active Max Protect, SPF 110
Elizabeth Arden – Eight Hour Cream Sun Defense for Face, SPF 50
Rite Aid Kids Sunscreen Spray Lotion SPF 45
Anthony Logistics for Men Sun Stick SPF 15
iS SPF 20 Powder Sunscreen &; Peter Thomas Roth Instant Mineral SPF 30 & colorescience Suncanny Face Colore SPF 20

Here are some though that not only passed but are recommended as safest:

So there you have a guide to a safer healthier summer! 

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