Summer has arrived and it’s time for showing more skin – and taking better care of it too. Summer weather and activities can really take a toll on our bodies but how do we safely care for ourselves during this hot weather? This guide will show you the do’s and don’ts of nontoxic care for skin, hair and body to stay beautiful, youthful and safe!
Obviously, protection from the sun is a key issue, but remember that a little sun exposure is good to keep your Vitamin D in balance. However, sunscreens are the best form of protection and you must use them safely and properly. How can you keep your skin, the body’s largest organ, safe from the hot summer sun?
- Don’t use any kind of spray-on sun lotion as these are all toxic.
- Don’t use expired sunscreen. It may not be as effective as it ages.
- Don’t buy products that contain these toxic ingredients: oxybenzone, octinoxate, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, titanium dioxidem zinc oxide, avobenzone or mexoryl SX.
- Don’t pay more for sunscreen with a high SPF. A high SPF does not necessarily mean more protection, and the longer you are out in the sun even with sunscreen, the more you will burn.
- Don’t forget to reapply sunscreen frequently.
- Do 15 minutes a day outdoors without sunscreen, if your skin is healthy, for your recommended dose of Vitamin D.
- Do wear a hat and sunglasses, and cover up whenever you are not in the water.
- Do check EWG’s 2014 Sunscreen Guide for recommendations on safe sunscreen and moisturizer.
- Do choose safe ingredients over high SPF numbers.
- Do reapply sunblock frequently.
- Do use the gel from an aloe vera plant or Boiron Calendula Gel or Cream to relieve sunburn.
If you are treating your lawn organically, you’ll hopefully be seeing an increase in pollinators! The bad news? Bees are pollinators. We don’t want to hurt the bee population but we’d like to encourage them not to interrupt our summer barbeque. In addition, fleas, ticks and other parasites flourish in the summer months, and can easily be tracked into the home, especially if you have pets. Here are some notoxic steps you can take to keep safe from summer bugs.
- Don’t use commercial repellant for your family or pet, or in your home or yard.
- Don’t track mud and dirt into the house.
- Don’t entertain in areas where ticks and fleas thrive, like under your deck.
- Do use a safer brand of repellant, like Dr. Mercola’s Bug Spray.
- Do use a safer product for insect bite relief, like Boiron’s Ledum Palustre. (Ask your doctor if pregnant or nursing).
- If you have a wasp problem, do set up a fake wasp nest to keep wasps away.
- Do use a pest natural solution, like these listed at The Prairie Homestead. Author Jill says, “I’ve noticed that different bugs respond differently to fly spray recipes, so if you find that one isn’t working for you, give another one a try.”
From sun exposure to harsh indoor air conditioning, your skin can really take a beating and you may find yourself with heat rashes, flaky skin patches and more. We tend to shave and wax more in the summer, too, and that can put your face, armpit and leg skin through more damage.
- Don’t abandon your skin care routine when on vacation.
- Don’t overwash your skin, especially if you are spending time swimming.
- Don’t store your reusable razor in a damp, wet area or bacteria will build up and can enter your pores.
- Don’t go to a mainstream salon for waxing, as contamination, double dipping and overheated wax can be dangerous.
- Do moisturize safely, with brands like Earth Mama/Angel Baby Organics.
- Do use moisturizer with SPF for your face.
- Do store your razor in a dry area and change your blade out frequently.
- Do use a safe, organic or DIY product for waxing.
- Do hydrate with water even more than usual to prevent dehydration and keep your skin healthy.
Excessive exposure to sun, chlorine, salt water and sand will also take a toll on your hair and scalp. And though we are all usually good at protecting our skin from the sun, the scalp is even more vulnerable to its dangerous rays. These tips will help protect you.
- Don’t overwash or overcolor your hair, if you can avoid it.
- Don’t rely on products with UV-protection, which often contain avobenzone but can break down in sunlight. It’s questionable how much UV protection they offer.
- Don’t forget to protect your scalp. Skin cancers that do occur there can be some of the deadliest.
- Do wash thoroughly after swimming to remove chlorine, salt water, bacteria and other chemicals.
- Do use a safe leave-in conditioner regularly, like Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Hair Conditioner & Style Crème.
- Do use a safe conditioning and shampoo product, such as Dr. Bronner’s Organic Hair Rinse and Crèmes.
- Wear a hat as much as you can in the sun or stay in the shade.
It’s also that time of year when we bare our feet and women tend to get more manicures – with matching pedicures. This is a very toxic area, so heed these tips.
- Don’t go to a budget-friendly salon, as they can use unsafe procedures, toxic chemicals and may not be as sanity as they could.
- Don’t have your nails clipped but rather have them filed, unless you have a problem like a hangnail.
- Don’t let the manicurist cut your cuticles or push them back with tools.
- Don’t use toxic nail polishes or removers.
- Avoid toxic gel manicures.
- Do visit organic salons, but first, ask what makes them organic.
- Do your own mani-pedi yourself with safe products.
- Do keep in mind that nail polish and nail polish remover is never completely toxin-free.
- Do use a 5-free nail polish, such as eco-friendly, water-based Scotch Naturals.
- Do use nontoxic nail polish remover, such as Priti NYC Soy Nail Polish Remover
- Do use cuticle cream to rid excess cuticles, such as Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream.
Swim season means a focus on reliable feminine care products, and choosing nontoxic products will keep your body safe from harmful chemicals. Summer is also time for high heat, that means that lady parts can experience extra sweat.
- Don’t use products, especially tampons, that are bleached with chlorine dioxide, which releases carcinogens.
- Don’t use products made with latex (a known allergen), cotton (very high in pesticides), GMOs or glysophate.
- Don’t use any products that neutralize odor or contain fragrance as this is done with toxic chemicals.
- Do use a menstrual cup or tampons from a trusted natural brand like Natracare, Lunapads, Sckoon Menstrual Cup or Maxim Hygiene Products.
- Make sure your cup is a proper fit.
- When using a cup, do drain it frequently and before swimming.
- Do use safe feminine cleansing products, such as Healthy HooHoo or a natural DIY solution.
Summer is a time for extra sweat, so you may want extra protection. Major brand deodorants, which remove odor, and antiperspirants, which eliminate sweat, are toxic and may contribute to breast cancer.
- Don’t buy commercial brands that are loaded with toxins.
- Don’t buy antiperspirants. Sweat is a natural, normal process and deterring is harmful for your body.
- Do not use products with chemicals such as aluminum, parabens, formaldehyde, TEA/DEA, propylene glycol, FD&C dyes, or any fragrances.
- Do an armpit cleanse when switching to a natural product. Read Mamavation’s article on the dangers of deodorants, “Armpit Cleanse: How To Reduce Your Breast Cancer Risk.”
- Do use an organic deodorant such as Primal Pit Paste or a DIY solution that works for you.
These are some basic tips to keep you and your family safe from toxins while protecting the environment as you enjoy the lazy days of summer.