Browsers may block some cookies by default. Click accept to allow advertising partners to use cookies and serve more relevant ads. Visit our privacy policy page for more information.
Source: petrenkod/istock

5 Ways To Protect Your Family From The Sun Without Harsh Chemicals

By Maria Cook

Summer is just around the corner, so it's important to keep kids (and ourselves!) protected from the sun. In fact, as we all know, it's important to take care of our skin no matter the season or how much time you spend outside directly. Even if you aren't spending the day at the beach, you can still get quite the sunburn or other skin damage, making it reasonable for parents to want to their slather their kids in sunscreen. 

However, many traditional brands of sunscreen contain harsh chemicals which research has linked to endocrine-disruption, and fragrances which can cause skin irritation. Luckily, other options do exist. Here are five healthy ways to stay protected from the sun. And remember: Always consult your doctor when it comes to your health to determine what is best for you and your family.

1. Make your own sunscreen at home

Parabens, retionol, fragrances and oxybenzone are just some of the ingredients in traditional sunscreens that can make parents wary. It's enough to make you wish that you could just make a better lotion yourself. Well, you can! The internet is full of recipes for all-natural sunscreens. Most call for ingredients that are easy to find and inexpensive.

One popular recipe calls for just five ingredients. And don't be intimidated by the recipe's inclusion of zinc-oxide. It is a natural ingredient used to treat everything from burns to hemorrhoids, and can also protect against UV damage from the sun. It can be found online and in certain drug stores for a reasonable price. If you'd like your DIY sunscreen to smell more like a traditional lotion, just add citrus or essential oils to make it smell naturally great. Adding aloe can also create a cool, comforting feel. 

2. Invest in sun-protective clothing

As the days grow hotter, we typically wear less and less clothing to regulate heat. But that may be counterproductive. Few things protect us from harmful UV rays better than clothing. And wearing more in the spring and summer doesn't have to mean sweating bullets.

Wear long-sleeved shirts made from light, breathable organic cotton. Consider wearing longer shorts, such as board shorts, rather than high-cut ones. Long skirts and lightweight maxi dresses can offer cool sun protection for moms and daughters. For the water, consider long-sleeved swim shirts and waterproof board shorts for boys and men. Long-sleeved bathing suits (sometimes called "surf suits") can be found in girl's and women's sizes. Paired with women's board shorts or swim shorts, it's possible to look cute and stay protected!

We're always thinking about our skin's exposure to the sun, but remember--UV rays are harmful to our eyes as well! Too much sun can cause vision problems in children, and can speed up the development of cataracts in adults. Sunglasses are essential for every member of the family. If you or your kids wear prescription eyeglasses, it may be worth investing in prescription sunglasses or transitional lenses for use during spring and summer.