I’m often asked what sunscreen I use and what did I use on my children when they were young and in the sun?
Personally, I don’t use any commercial sunscreen unless it’s an emergency and I’m out in the sun without cover and I have none of my own sunscreen or a natural sunscreen near me. The chances of this happening are slim to none.
I’ve always been the natural mother, trying to do the best for my children in food and what I put on their skin and even what fabrics they wore (yes, I made all their clothes and togs with natural cloth). My grandfather was a corn farmer who was most unimpressed with the chemical revolution and I followed suit and tried to stay away from as many chemicals as I could.
I remember being at a party once with my children and one of the mothers commented on the children’s tans. I told her that a tan was immunity from the sun and that my children’s tan was a result of being in the sun before 10am and after 2.30pm in the summer. Her children were white without any tan marks and fully dressed, with sunscreens smeared over their entire bodies every day. She told me as much that I was a child abuser for allowing my children in the sun and not using sunscreens.
We have been bought up with the slogan slip, slop, slap. I’d do the slip and the slap with clothes and hats but I wouldn’t do the slop with commercial sunscreen. I even had to send a letter to the preschool and schools asking them not to put commercial sunscreen on and then taking full responsibility for my children’s skin.
In my book Changing Habits Changing Lives which I wrote in 1998, I talk about the importance of sun, vitamin D and the problems with using sunscreen. So, if you have my book, I’d take a quick read to refresh your memory (Chapter 39, page 215).
A looming problem with sunscreens is the nano technology that is being used in most of the products. People who use a lot of sunscreen could be at risk of having ‘larger than normal’ quantities of zinc in their bloodstream, with new evidence showing zinc particles penetrate the skin and are absorbed into the body.
Geochemist Brian Gulson, of Sydney’s Macquarie University has provided the first conclusive evidence that zinc oxide nanoparticles, which appear in many translucent sunscreens can be absorbed by the body and remain there for extended periods of time. There is no conclusive evidence on what impact zinc nanoparticles have on the body’s cells or immune system. However, long-term exposure to high levels of zinc can cause copper deficiency which slows the body’s vital enzyme processes.
Children and construction workers were most at risk of absorbing high amounts of zinc because of their ‘higher than average’ usage. Almost 400 sunscreen products sold in Australia contain nanoparticles in amounts ranging from 4% to 30%, according to the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
The immunity of the skin is not just based on the tan or the things you put on your skin. It is also important to look at the medications you take as specific medications increase the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight and of course, what you are eating changes health parameters including skin health. A modern diet of refined foods, grains and oils is not conducive to the health of the skin and thus its immunity to skin cancer. So having a diet based on the Changing Habits principles will be a key ingredient for skin health.
It’s not hard to make your own sunscreen. In fact, it can be a lot of fun to make with children and adults (as we found out when we made sunscreen at Changing Habits). This sunscreen should be applied again after swimming, but I can assure you that you won’t mind reapplying it as it feels and smells amazing. This sunscreen is made with food.
Changing Habits Tinted Sunscreen Recipe
Click here to view online or read recipe below:
• 6 TBS or 80gms Changing Habits Coconut Oil (SPF factor 4-6)
• 6 or 15 gms Changing Habits Cacao Melts
• 1 TBS or 25 gms Changing Habits Inca Inchi Oil
• 4 TBS non nano particle zinc oxide (SPF factor 15)
• 6 drops of either lavendar or frankinsence from the twenty8.com range
Warm the coconut oil and cacao melts in a double boiler or use a Thermomix 37C until cacao melts are melted (about 4 minutes).Then, beat in the zinc oxide, Inca Inchi oil and drop in the essential oil.
Place in a glass jar with a lid. In the summer, it will be a liquid and in the winter, it will go solid. This should last up to 6 months if not kept in direct sunlight, or if kept in the fridge, it can be used for 12 months.
This sunscreen has an SPF factor of around 20.
You can also use this wonderful mixture for nappy rash as it acts as a barrier cream.
NB: most zinc oxide has nano particles. If you are looking to purchase some zinc oxide powder without nano particles, it can be purchased from New Directions.
Another prevention for sunburn is to put the gelatinous portion of aloe vera into your smoothie. This internally prevents sunburn or moreover, instantly hydrates the lost moisture after a day in the sun.
Here’s a link to a video where they show how to protect your skin with food and a visual of making homemade sunscreen: