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Sun Smarts Are Better Than Sunscreen

by Tiffany in Beauty

Sun Smarts Are Better Than Sunscreen

According to a report by The Environmental Working Group, only 8% of the beach and sport sunscreens (39 out of 500) offer sufficient protection AND ingredients  safe enough to earn their “green” rating. In my safer sunscreens post I have highlighted some of the ones that received top honors on their list.

It is becoming clearer to more and more people that the sunscreen industry is actually less about protecting our skin and more about marketing. How else can they continue to peddle the insufficient and chemical laden products that they do? Especially when studies have been conducted in recent years that indicate we may be more likely to get cancer from our sunscreen than to avoid it.

My own personal practice in regards to sunscreen for me and my family is to not use it if at all possible and to utilize other protection methods instead. If I need to be out in the sun for an extended period of time I will use some of the safer sunscreens I mentioned above but again.. only if I feel I will not be able to avoid a burn without it. I grew up in sunny Phoenix, Arizona and my brother and I hardly ever burned and rarely did we use sunscreen… so it can be done.

Here are some of the ways:

Sun Hats

Yes,  the easiest way to avoid a burn on face, scalp, neck, and shoulders is a nice hat. Women are lucky in that we can get away with a really wide brim hat and some big sunglasses and be considered fashionable instead of weird. Here are a couple of my favorite hats for moms:

Large Straw Stripe Sun Hat


It is usually best to go for light colored hats that have wide brims. They keep you cool and offer the best protection. Don’t forget the sun hats for the kids too…

Summer Scarf/Wrap

A scarf isn’t just for winter. You get get lightweight cotton or silk scarves for summer to protect your neck and chest. If it is a wrap as well as a scarf then you can wear it across your back or fold it across your front, even put it over your head. If you get hot… do what I often did in Phoenix… dip in a water fountain and then drape it on yourself… it is a built in air conditioner!

Olive N Figs Crinkled Solid Colored 100% Cotton Summer Stole/Scarf/Wrap

A Sun Shade or Umbrella

I find that it is easy to get kids to stay shaded by letting them carry and umbrella. Or maybe my kids just love umbrellas more than most but they are always happy to stroll around with one. My nearly ten year old son carries one in his backpack so he will have it for walking home in the hot sun. Let them pick their own “cool” umbrella or buy a parasol for girls. I like this Gerbera Daisy or Sunflower Umbrella myself! Who wouldn’t want an excuse to carry these around?

How do you protect yourself from the sun without slathering on the sunscreen?

Sun Smarts Are Better Than Sunscreen Pin

  • Thanks for this. Looking at those sun hats I see I terribly need one :)
    What brand is the first one? I should go buy it.

  • Melodie @Breastfeeding Moms Unite!

    When we go to the beach I seek out the shady areas. We swim and play in the sun and rest in the shade.

  • Hey, you are lucky you can avoid getting sunburned, but for someone like me with fair, sensitive skin, it’s almost impossible! Of course, hats and other apparel help tremendously, but perhaps the most important consideration is time of day. The sun at mid-day is brutal, especially in the summer months, so try not to spend extended periods of time in the sun from 11 am – 2 pm when the sun’s rays are the most intense. Be sure to help your children appreciate this as well, so they can develop good “sun sense” from an early age. Skin cancer is the cumulative result of exposure to sun exposure.

  • lovely umbrellas!

  • I love these umbrellas!

  • Ditto what a previous commenter said. I’m extremely fair skinned and so are both my children. We burn. So we use sunscreen. Hats, sunglasses and shade too, but always some kind of sunscreen. We spent 8 hours at the park the other day for various preschool end of year activities. I reapplied sunscreen to the kids frequently, but wasn’t as great about it with myself. Consequently, they are as pale as they were when we left the house and I’m a little pink.

  • Kayris

    Also, the experts say tightly woven hats are better than straw hats to protect the scalp. As a former boater, a floppy hat with a chin strap was most helpful on windy and sunny days.

  • Sandi Schwartz

    Very interesting take on sun protection. The main focus right now is sunscreen, but I like that you explored our other alternatives. I take a look at the news about Vitamin A in children’s sunscreens on my blog at Check it out!

  • Agree with you, wide hats all the way!

  • My face really soaks up the sun so I usually wear a hat too. Although mine are never stylish – baseball caps for me! ~Alicia