Here in Australia we are exposed to high intensity sun for hours each day, ranging from 5 hours in Winter to up to 9 hours in Summer. Sunscreen has been commercially available since the late 1920s, however it wasn’t until the 1950s that it began to look like the product we know today. The SPF factor was developed in 1960s with the most common SPF throughout the 70s and 80s a 4 or 8, which explains why tanning was still considered healthy. It wasn’t until the Slip, Slop Slap campaign was launched in 1981 that sunscreen started to become a ‘normal’ part of our lives. The link between UV radiation and skin cancer had been established and there was no going back. With the current survival rate of melanoma not as high as we’d like it, prevention is always better than a cure.
Just because something is commercially available, doesn’t guarantee it is the safest product living up to the highest standards in the world. You have to become a label reader if you want to know exactly what you are putting onto your skin and into your body. Gather together all the half-used sunscreen bottles in your house, car and beach bags now and check them for these ingredients. Also check their expiry dates before another summer begins. Remember it’s your body so it’s your decision what goes onto it.
- Oxybenzone – believed to cause hormone disruption and cell damage that can stimulate cancer.
- Retinyl Palmitate (vitamin A and its derivatives) – this form of vitamin A is only an issue when exposed to sunlight (so it would be fine in a night cream, but not a sunscreen) because it increases the rate of cancer cell development.
- Fragrance – this word is used in ingredient lists everywhere to disguise the ‘secret recipe’ that makes this product unique but it can be masking Parabens, phthalates and many other synthetic components which have the potential to disrupt hormone release and development, resulting in reproductive effects and liver and kidney damage.
Zincs ain’t zincs
All zincs are not made equal. I grew up with zinc and you probably did too. We had the coloured tubes and used to have so much fun in the bathroom before we went to the beach making crazy designs all over our faces. You see zinc every summer on the faces of lifeguards and cricketers – the people that really need their sunscreen to stay on for hours. Zinc oxide is the ingredient that provides the sun protection in sunscreen – all sunscreen has some amount of this – ‘zinc’ just has more of it than regular sunscreens. Most zinc ingredients are cheap and nasty synthetic versions and absorb straight through your skin, into your bloodstream and within 20mins these chemicals can be detected in your urine. Not really what I need my sunscreen to do. The zinc oxide I use in my sunscreen has no nano particles so it cannot be absorbed through the skin, but instead stays on top of the skin and protects me from the sun.
Make your own sunscreen
If you can’t find anything in your house or on the supermarket shelves that you’re happy to put on your skin and that of your kids, it is time to consider making your own sunscreen. I can assure you that it is not as hard as it sounds. In fact it only takes about 10mins and can be done while you’re making breakfast. You can make as much or as little as you need so there is no wastage. Making sunscreen is as simple as sourcing the best raw ingredients and adding any pure essential oils you’d like to make the sunscreen smell the way you want it to, adding all of these into the top of a double boiler set-up, waiting for it to melt, combining your zinc oxide with it and then putting it into the desired container once it cools.
But can a homemade sunscreen really work? Of course it can – and it only contains the essential ingredients. I am a red head and my son is also a red head. We’ve been using this recipe for over a year now and love it! If we go in the water, we always reapply it afterwards because it doesn’t contain the nasty chemicals that keep commercial sunscreen on your skin through water play. I am happy that I am not only protecting my family from the sun, but also their body from any toxic chemicals by avoiding commercial sunscreens.
Your own Sunscreen is the cream you want to be using on yourself and your children to protect from the sun. It absorbs UVA and UVB rays while ensuring that no chemicals enter the bloodstream. I frequently receive the comment that people can’t believe how nice it feels on their skin- and then they realise that it is also protecting them from the sun – double win! With the perfect combination of natural raw ingredients and essential oils, this Sunscreen will quickly become an essential part of your outdoor kit. You might also want to consider making a natural Insect Repellant while you’re at it.
Easy sunscreen applicators
Solar buddies are the best applicators I have found for homemade sunscreen (or any sunscreen for that matter). You can always just keep your sunscreen in a recycled glass jar, but it’s difficult to get out and messy to apply. Two clever mums were having these same dilemmas back in 2011 but they were compounded by the fact that their kids’ daycare had a no-touch policy so the educators were unable to help the children apply their sunscreen so they set about inventing something that would allow their children to easily and effectively apply their own sunscreen – and Solar Buddies was launched in 2015! It is now sold worldwide including here in Australia.
Solar Buddies are award winning, refillable, recyclable, mess free, easy applicator that has a sponge and roller-ball partnership which means no more messy hands as the sponge does all the work. Just simply unscrew, fill, close, shake and glide! It is great for kids, athletes, surfers, disabled, elderly, tradies and everyone in between. Solar Buddies Australia applicators mean you’ll never have to get sunscreen on your hands ever again!!
I have been using these applicators for a few months now and the whole family loves them. They are easy to fill with my homemade sunscreen and they are so easy for the kids to use themselves (so of course I had to buy two). The applicator easily fits into my handbag, the beach bag and the car so I’m never without it.
No More Messy Hands!
Essentials Only has partnered with Solar Buddies Australia to offer you a special discount in their store. Simply enter the code “Essentials15” when you are checking out to receive 15% discount on your entire cart.