Summer is here! One thing everyone (at least in Minnesota) needs during the summer is sunblock and bug spray. This is a great and quite easy place to "go natural". Here is what we use and recommend to others. Do your research and find out what you think is best for your budget and your family.
When we moved to Colorado six weeks before Ruthie was born I knew we would need some sunblock -- we were not used to the high altitude intensity of the sun and with a new baby coming I wanted something that would be safe to use on her. Since Tony has a negative skin reaction to chemical sunscreens, I started doing research on mineral sunblocks and found Mexitan -- all natural AND affordable. I ordered two bottles and started to use it. This was in 2007 and we are still using it! Unlike chemical sunscreens, mineral sunblocks don't "lose potency", so as long as the lotion is still good (smells and looks OK) the sunblock will still work.
Check out all the research Katie over at Kitchen Stewardship has done on natural sunblocks for tons of information and reviews.
NOTE: Now I know that Zinc Oxide is the only safe sunblock to use on babies under six months old...so my choice for the littlest family members is shade and a hat for the summer sun!
Now onto the bug spray...here in Minnesota the mosquitoes can be just awful! I know that DEET is terrible for everyone and we shouldn't use it...but it works so well! There are some DEET-free replants on the market but I haven't looked into their safety much -- they still stink and I still want to wash them off as soon as possible, so I don't feel great using them either. What I have decided to use is essential oils on the tags of our clothing or in a diffuser oil and rubbed onto our skin. This has worked pretty well as long as the bugs "aren't too bad". I figure, if the bugs are so bad that it doesn't work, we shouldn't be outside anyway! We have used peppermint and lemongrass. Citronella is also a good choice. We actually have used peppermint and lemongrass on our dog's collar and it has helped prevent ticks...I just need to remember to re-apply it each week!
Summer is here, so there is your challenge for this week -- a bonus challenge for summer fun!