Ahhh… Summer! The season we have all been waiting for. It’s finally here and we all can’t wait to get out into the sun and enjoy all the activities that the Okanagan has to offer.
It’s the time of year that people from all around the world come to visit our beautiful city of Kelowna seeking the beautiful landscapes, campgrounds, hiking trails, wineries, and (of course) the heat!
Unfortunately though, as you may have noticed, we’ve had a little extra rain and record amounts of water this year which has sadly erased our beaches and invited all the unwanted pesky mosquitoes to come out and feast. (Worst!) Definitely not the best way to kick-off the summer that’s for sure, but it isn’t going to stop us from spending as much time outside as we can these next few months!
As always, with the summer months comes the +30 degree weather which also means most people are slathering on the sunscreens, and now with the added population of mosquitoes and tics, bug repellent is basically a must!
So unless you plan on staying inside all summer, it would seem appropriate to let all of you know about the best and worst products out there to help protect your skin from the harsh chemicals found in sunscreens and bug repellents!
What You Might Not Know About Sunscreen
It may not be news to you that sunscreens are full of chemicals that can be harmful to our bodies, but you should also be aware of what the chemicals that should be avoided are and why.
It’s crazy to think that a company selling a product to protect your skin from UVA and UVB rays could actually be causing more damage to your skin then the light itself? Well, think again.
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), “sunscreens commonly include ingredients that act as “penetration enhancers” and help the product adhere to skin. As a result, many sunscreen chemicals are absorbed into the body and can be measured in blood, breast milk and urine samples.”
EWG states that most sunscreens typically use at least two of these ingredients: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate. These chemicals have been shown to increase estrogen levels (xenoestrogens), cause skin allergies, promote skin cancer (melanoma), and pose serious inhalation risks. Yikes!
Not only do these chemicals leach into our systems, but most brands of sunscreens (and even lip balms containing SPF) also contain retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A, which actually harms the skin when it comes into contact with the sunlight. A little contradicting don’t you think?
You can find more extensive information about all the risks and answers to any question’s you may have about the ingredients in these types of products on the Environmental Working Group’s website – here’s a synopsis of their Best & Worst List for 2017.
Some of the top products that made the “safest to use” list:
Sunscreens, Beach and Sport:
- All Good Unscented Sunstick 30 SPF
- Badger Sunscreen Cream 30 SPF
- All Terrain AquaSport Sunscreen Lotion 30 SPF
- Andalou Naturals All-in-one Beauty Balm, Sheer Tint (Moisturizer) 30 SPF
- Green Beaver Sunscreen 30 SPF (Not on EWG’s review but Dr. Chambers and I recommend this one as well.)
- Adorable Baby Sunscreen Lotion (SPF 30+)
- All Terrain KidSport Sunscreen Lotion (SPF 30)
- Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Sensitive Skin Lotion Sunscreen (SPF 30)
- Badger Baby Sunscreen Cream (SPF 30)
- Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen, Baby (SPF 30)
Worst Sunscreen products to use in 2017:
- Banana Boat Kids Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 100
- Coppertone Sunscreen Continuous Spray Kids, SPF 70
- Coppertone Sunscreen Lotion Water Babies, SPF 70+
- Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Sunscreen, SPF 60+
- Up & Up Kids Sunscreen Sticks, SPF 55
Dr. Audrey Wolter says her favourite sunscreen product is by Sleepy Hollow and uses it safely along with her young children.
You can find it at Scallywags on Pandosy St. and West Ave in Kelowna.
Are you interested in making your own sunscreen?
Health blogger Wellness Mama has tested and reviewed a great recipe that is completely natural, chemical free and easy to make.
Bug Sprays and Repellents
Just like most sunscreens, bug sprays can also contain toxic chemicals that will leach into your skin. DEET is the most commonly used among bug sprays, and has been shown to cause neurological damage in both kids and adults.
While using store-bought bug spray is convenient, it is also extremely easy to make your own natural bug repellents without any of the unnecessary brain-damaging chemicals!
Looking for a natural tick-repellent? Head to Pandosy Village Vet Hospital for their own chemical-free concoction. Dr. Chambers is a big advocate of this product and say’s she even uses it on her kids when they are going out for hikes!
How to make DIY Bug Spray
Certain essential oils like lavender, citronella and rosemary along with witch hazel acts as a natural bug repellent. Because essential oils don’t mix well with just water, you will want to mix them with things like apple cider vinegar or a bit of vodka first, add the witch hazel and then add it to some water.
–> Pour all the ingredients into a glass spray bottle, and there you have it – simple and DEET + mosquito free!