For The Greater Goods (sm)

Organic Sun Protection for Babies & Kids

organic sun protectionNow that summer is almost here and the sun has been making an appearance, I have been getting many questions on what I do for natural or organic sun protection for my kids.  Honestly, I don’t do much.  I stopped using conventional sunscreen on myself and my children a few years back.  Why? Because we have to remember that our skin is the largest organ on our body and what we put onto our precious skin WILL get absorbed into our bloodstream.   So Now I say, “If I can’t eat it, I won’t put it on my skin.” So I’m asking you, “Would you eat your sunscreen?” and the bigger question should be, “Would you feed that sunscreen to your baby or children?”   If you’re using conventional sunscreen, I hope the answer is a big NO!

Most people know by now that our best source of vitamin D comes from the sun and more importantly the UVB rays from the sun, but most people don’t know that vitamin D plays a critical role in our immune function and vitamin D also impacts around 3,000 of our 25,000 genes.  When we put conventional sunscreen on ourselves, our children or our infants it blocks out the UVB where we get most of our vitamin D from.  Also when you use conventional sunscreen not only are you blocking those important UVB rays you are also absorbing a huge load of toxic chemicals into your body, and those chemicals are much more dangerous than actual sun exposure.

What are we supposed to do for natural sun protection? Here are some good tips on what I do in my family and

1. Eat a whole foods, nutrient dense diet:

  • No processed foods
  • No refined sugars (with exceptions of raw honey and pure maple syrup)
  • Eat healthy fats (like coconut oil which has a natural SPF of 4, also ghee, nuts and seeds are good sources of healthy fats)
  • Mineral rich foods (bone broths, and using himalayan or sea salts)
  • Pure spring or filtered water (hydration helps with all kinds of inflammation)
  • Eat lots of vegetables and fruits (Anti-oxidants help to protect our skin from radiation received from the sun. The more anti-oxidant rich foods we eat, the greater the level in our body for natural skin cancer (and many other types of cancer) protection. The highest levels of anti-oxidants are found in the most deeply colored produce)

2. Avoid burning

As I mentioned before, the rays from the sun actually help our body to make Vitamin D, an absolutely crucial nutrient, so we’re not out to avoid the sun. What we really want to avoid is burning, which is an unnatural state for our skin.

  • 20 minutes of unprotected sun exposures a day is pretty optimal for babies
  • Use sun protective clothing on your babies. You may not think about the fact that Ultraviolet rays can get through normal clothing and burn the skin. Clothing with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) of 50+ can offer extra protection and peace of mind, and don’t forget about baby sun hats. They can be worn in the water or anytime there is direct exposure to the sun to protect your baby’s little bald scalp.
  • If you are pale skinned gradually increase sun exposure over time.  Start out with 5 minutes one day and increase a little each day as you get a nice base tan or color.  Usually a nice even tan = good vitamin D production. -20 minutes of unprotected sun exposures a day is pretty optimal for babies

3. Use organic sunscreen

There are organic sunscreens with safe ingredients:  Goddess Garden and Aubrey make good ones.  If you know you are going to be in the sun and want extra protection you can also try one of these great recipes.  My favorite is the top one, but I would try any of these:

Recipes for Organic Sun Protection


What are your favorite tips for natural or organic sun protection?

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I'm a firm believer that you are what you eat and I want to be fresh, local, organic and healthy! I've spent a lifetime experimenting with natural foods, different diets and ways of eating, and have settled on the food philosophy that Michael Pollan expresses so well: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. I'm passionate about organic foods, natural living, cooking healthy meals, and improving my health on a daily basis.

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