I grew up with the "slip, slop, slap" slogan emblazoned on my mind. Summer was a blend of pool days and balmy nights, bubble-o-bills and Sunday afternoon barbecues. We always had a big pump bottle of sunscreen in the laundry and we'd cover ourselves in it on those 30+ degree days. Then my brother and I would run barefoot across the asphalt to the neighbour's pool and swim till we were wrinkly and exhausted.
Che and Poet have both inherited my milky white skin and I'm absolutely vigilant when it comes to sun protection. We only go to the beach in the morning or late afternoon, they always wear a hat and I prefer to dress them in light long-sleeved clothing than lather them in sunscreen. I've also been reading a little about the importance of good fats in your diet; how they can help build up natural sun protection in the skin. Coconut oil is getting a good wrap for an alternative to sunscreen but I'm not completely convinced just yet. And of course, we must be mindful of the importance and beauty of the sun and Vitamin D - absolutely essential for health and well-being Most health professionals recommend 20 minutes in the morning sun each day without protection.
I always carry a bottle of sunscreen in my bag so I've been looking into the best natural products available. Here's my favourites, tried and tested (and perfect for those with sensitive skin*):
Soleo Organics : touted as the most natural sunscreen in the world, Soleo Organics is made in Australia from organic and all natural ingredients according to Naturopathic principles. There's absolutely no nasties in this lotion; it's active ingredient is 22.3% zinc oxide combined with a lovely combination of beeswax, macadamia nut oil and roman chamomile (to name a few). Soleo is completely water resistant, 30+ spf and contains organic botanical extracts to moisturise the skin. $26.60 for 80g
Invisible Zinc - Junior Clip-on : I'm pretty sure a beach-going muma designed this bottle. Perfect for attaching to your keys, bag or pram, this sunscreen offers the UV protection of Zinc Oxide without any chemical UV actives or parabens. It's low irritant and feels good on your skin - 30+ spf. $19.95 for 60g
Wotnot : 100% good for you, this broad spectrum protection is one of many fabulous products from this Australian brand (I love their facial wipes). Wonderfully natural, imbued with the scent and holistic properties of organic beeswax and aloe, Wotnot is smooth and gentle on the skin and perfect for little ones. However, it's not waterproof so you do need to reapply after swimming - 30+ spf. $25.95 for 135g
If you're looking for light summery clothing for children I highly recommend Hazyjane's vintage pants, kurta tops, dresses and hats from Haveli Design and linen and cotton goodness from Kokonor.
*of course, if you do experience skin irritation from sunscreen, you should stop using it immediately. Most sunscreens aren't suitable for babies under 6 months of age - always check the bottle for recommendations.
summer : a seasonal series