When I was little, summer was just about the best thing that existed in life. I loved Christmas and my birthday, but there was something incredibly special about summer. We had a great backyard with a pool, clubhouse, trampoline, a small stream and concrete patio ready for all the sidewalk chalk. Since we were home schooled, our mom always gave my brother and I the option to hunker down the last few weeks of April so that we could finish with classes by early May. Since we were at home, the last day of school automatically turned into the first day of summer, and the afternoon would find us cannonballing into the pool even though the Connecticut weather hadn’t quite warmed the water enough. The chills and purple lips couldn’t stop us though and we would continue to run around the yard until we were hot enough to tolerate just one more jump into the water.
From May-September I lived outside. I would pack all my favorite toys into bags and lug them outside where I would set up house. By early June my skin was tan as leather and my hair golden blonde from the sunlight. Summer after summer I ran my brown skin around the yard again and again savoring every ray of light.
As I grew up, I grew to admire my tan. My Cuban skin was special and different than most of my friends and I loved seeing how dark I would get in just a few days of running around. This perpetuated to my teenage years when being tan year round became part of my beauty ritual. Tanning beds were inexpenssive and a quick way to add a touch of glow during the long New England winters. So tan I did- again and again. In the process, I had no idea what I could be doing to my skin. I just knew that the golden hue I was carrying around with me reminded me of those carefree, barefoot summer days.
As I started to switch over to natural products a couple of years ago, I did a lot of research on the importance of caring for my skin. It’s the largest organ our body possesses and probably the most ignored. I know that it was for me. I had gone through life claiming, “I’m Cuban- I don’t burn!” and while that was the truth (I only ever suffered a couple of burns throughout my entire life), what I didn’t realize was the impact of the sun on my skin whether or not I was burning. It’s the exposure in general that you have to be careful with and I had no idea.
Since then, my grandmother had a few small bouts of skin cancer which made me want to become even better at taking care of myself while out in the summer sun. Now that baby Gray is here, I’ve become even more sensitive to the sun and how it can affect our bodies. It’s not just about getting the perfect glow anymore. It’s about caring for myself so that I can stay healthy and care for my babe and of course, keeping his little body safe while out on family adventures.
Which brings me to this point: just like you have to be careful when out in the sun, you have to be cautious when picking your sunscreen. I couldn’t believe all of the chemicals that most show on the back of the label- most of which I can’t even pronounce. When picking natural products for my home and family, I typically follow the basic principle of if I can’t pronounce it or know where it comes from, I shouldn’t be using it. I did a bit more research into some of the ingredients in sunscreen and found that a lot of them are known to cause a myriad of issues with the body including cancer. I began to wonder why I would trade one form of cancer for another.
This year, I wanted to make a change. I did a lot of searching and found a company that makes a sunscreen that’s completely non-toxic and is perfectly safe for our skin as well as baby Gray’s. I love being able to trust the products that I’m nourishing my skin with and more importantly, I love knowing that what I’m putting on my baby is for his benefit in the short and long term!
So while you’re getting ready for summer, remember to take care of that skin of yours! It’s not only a complete organ in your body, it’s also a permeable barrier that will feed whatever you’re spreading on it into your body. So be mindful of what you put on it! If you’re feeling lost and on the hunt for some safe summer products, check out Follain’s site. Every product they sell is non-toxic and can be trusted on your skin. We picked a sunscreen for baby, but they have a whole page dedicated to caring for your summer skin!
Happy summer, everyone!
Until next time!
*Disclosure: I have partnered with Follain on this post. For more information, visit my disclaimer page.