Bring on the Sunshine!

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I grew up in Arizona and was one of Those People who thought a tan was the highest form of beauty. And I mean really, really tan! I admit to using baby oil (can you imagine?) to attract more rays (or that was the current thinking) and, okay, prepare yourself: I used foil-wrapped plates to reflect on my FACE!  I'm surprised there's any skin left! Now I know better and try very hard to keep my skin protected from our harsh sun. I have tried using sunscreen with natural ingredients but recently I started investigating what I could use that was even safer and without chemicals of any kind.

In my research, I found a website that provides information to consumers that rates the hazard levels of different body and bath products. The address is: www.cosmeticsdatabase.com. This website was developed by Environmental Working Group which is an organization dedicated to providing useful resources to consumers to find products that are safe for their families as well as the environment. Their website has a database where you can type in a product you're concerned about and the site will give it a 'Hazard' rating that is 0 (for the least hazardous) to 10 (the worst rating). I would invite you to go to this website and see all the information it provides for yourself. It covers areas like body, hair, dental, babies, etc.

I purchased some sunscreens at our local health food store and found out their ratings. The UV Nature Baby Sunscreen rated a 1, as did California Baby SPF 30. Now, what was interesting is that the California Baby SPF 30 'Unscented' sunscreen rated a 3. It shows how you have to be careful even if you are getting something from the same company.

The best information I got was from our wonderful Makeup Artist, Karen Hall. She clued me in on fact that sesame seed oil blocks up to 30% of UV rays! And when I looked on the cosmetic database website it had a hazard level of 0. I also learned that almond oil, jojoba oil and peanut oil block up to 20% of UV rays. Now, about the sesame seed oil, it said you're supposed to use the organic product and NOT the toasted sesame seed oil. Then you end up smelling like stir-fry! You can actually use plain, ole sesame seed oil or you can use a couple of recipes I've provided to give you more protection and smell good, too!  One is a simple spray and the other is a salve that takes a little more time but worth the effort, I promise! It smells heavenly, feels incredible on your skin and lasts for up to a year in your refrigerator.

Now, even with all that we do to protect our children, and ourselves there is always that possibility that there is going to be sunburn! I try to stay away from using any store bought products made for this purpose because they usually contain lanolin which actually causes increased pain once the cool cream or spray is warmed by the heat of your body There are many homemade remedies out there but a few I use seem to work very well. I had one I used growing up (those foil-wrapped plates can be brutal!) and that was wet tea bags.

Make a pot of boiling water and steep many tea bags to a very strong tea in a large pot. Add ice until the tea is just slightly warm. Put a bath towel (preferably a brown one, as a white one will probably be "dyed" brown) into the pot and keep turning the towel until it has soaked up all of the tea. Have the sunburned person lie on the floor or bed on top of an old towel to catch drips. Place the wet towel over the sunburned area of the body. Leave the towel on for a half hour for a moderate burn and an hour for a strong burn. The slightly warm tea will actually feel very cool on burned skin, and cold water would be almost painfully too cold on the hot skin. The burned person immediately feels relief from the wet, getting cooler and cooler gradually, with the actual temperature of the skin also cooling.

The tannic acid in the tea draws the burn out of the skin and heals it. After just one application, most sunburns are no longer painful and are much less red. However, this treatment will act on the pain but may not prevent peeling.

Aloe vera is a favorite remedy of mine for both burns caused in the kitchen and the sun. I scrape the pulp out of leaf and place it directly on the sunburn. It is very soothing and draws out the pain. If this is done as soon as possible, you'll be amazed at how fast and how effective it is.  I also make a Sunburn Spray that I keep in the refrigerator. The cooling affect from being refrigerated and the ingredients feels so good on the inflamed skin.

So you can see that using a store bought sunscreen is fine as long as you do the research or you can make your own. How easy would it be to grab the bottle of sesame seed oil, slick it on the kids and make Chinese at the same time? We are such great multi-taskers!

Sesame Seed Oil Sunscreen
1 oz  sesame seed oil
1 oz almond oil
1 oz Vitamin E oil
40 drops combined of Rosemary and lavender essential oil

Method
Put all ingredients into a 4oz spray bottle. Shake well before each use. Spray on areas that will be exposed to the sun. If swimming or exercising apply often.

Sublime Sunscreen Salve
3  TBS beeswax, grated
3  TBS shea butter
1  TBS avocado oil (can substitute jojoba oil)
1  TBS coconut oil
1  TBS sesame seed oil (not toasted)
1  TBS canola oil
3  TBS aloe vera liquid
½ tsp  lavender essential oil
½ tsp  borax powder
½ tsp   vitamin e oil
5-6 drops grapefruit seed extract

Method
Take beeswax, shea butter, avocado oil, coconut oil, sesame oil and canola oil and melt together in double boiler on low heat. (Do not boil) Add vitamin e oil and remove from heat.

In the meantime, on low heat in small pan warm aloe vera juice, lavender essential oil and borax powder until powder is mixed well. Add aloe vera mixture to oil/butter mixture, whisking until there is a creamy texture. Stir in grapefruit seed extract.

Put in air-tight container(s) and keep refrigerated for up to one year. If you eliminate grapefruit seed extract, the salve will last one month refrigerated.

Remove from refrigerator 10-15 minutes before using.

Sunburn Mist
4 oz aloe vera juice
12 drops lavender essential oil
4   drops peppermint essential oil
1    spring creosote sprig (optional); pinch off any flowers

Method
Put aloe juice in 4 oz spray bottle. Add essential oils and creosote. Shake well. Label and store in refrigerator up to 3 months. A mist is better than a lotion because burned skin is so sensitive to the touch.