Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Summertime Safety: Bug Spray & Sunblock for Sensitive Skin

This isn't your typical - "you should use this" post. My Little Miss has hypersensitive skin and breaks out with most chemical base products we've applied to her skin. Even the more sensitive 'baby' versions of sunblock leave her with a rash. So this summer I'm getting whether your child has sensitive skin, you want to save money, or just go green - this post is for you...

First. Mosquito Repellent...

I really hate putting all the chemicals on Little Miss's skin. We go camping a lot - so I have to figure something out. When she was a baby and put everything in her mouth it made me extra nervous that she would ingest all those chemicals. Here are some natural alternatives I've found and will be trying...

In Our Yard
  • Marigolds & Thai Lemon Grass are natural bug deterrents - so I'm going to be planting some to have on our porch and close to our door.
  • A bit of sage or rosemary thrown on the coals during a barbeque will keep the bugs at bay, and smell great!
  • 1/2 oz citronella oil, 1/4 oz lavendar oil, 1/8 oz pennyroyal oil, 1/8 oz tea tree oil, 1/8 oz jojoba oil - mix well. Add 16 oz almond oil and blend thoroughly. Add 16 oz vodka, pour into spray bottle and shake before using.
To Use on Skin
  • Mix one part garlic juice with 5 parts water in a small spray bottle. Shake well before using. Spray lightly on exposed body parts for an effective repellent lasting up to 5 - 6 hours. Strips of cotton cloth can also be dipped in this mixture and hung in areas, such as patios, as a localized deterrent.
  • Thai Lemon Grass - break off a stalk, peel off the outer leaves, bend the stem between your fingers, loosening it, then rub vigorously between your palms until it's a juicy, pulpy mess. Then rub this over all exposed skin.
  • 1/2 oz citronella oil, 1/4 oz lavendar oil, 1/8 oz pennyroyal oil, 1/8 oz tea tree oil, 1/8 oz jojoba oil - mix well. Add 16 oz almond oil and blend thoroughly.
  • The CDC reports studies have found that Lemon Eucalyptus works just a good as DEET in repelling mosquito's - I'll definitely be trying this one out.
And Sunscreen...

The only problem I have with the homemade sunscreens is the inability to tell me how much protection it provides against UVA/UVB rays. But you can use the below recipes as a barrier layer of protection for sensitive skin and then put a thin layer of commercial sunblock on top. We'll be trying it and hopefully Little Miss won't break out into a rash...

Homemade Zinc Oxide Sunscreen

Note: This recipe will leave a white nose “lifeguard style.”

1 Tbs zinc oxide
1 1/2 tsp light sesame oil
1 Tbs rosewater

Mix together the zinc oxide and sesame oil. Heat the mixture gently, using a double boiler, and stir well to mix. Remove from heat and slowly add the rosewater, as you continue stirring. Allow to cool completely, and store in a clean container with a tight lid, in the fridge. Yield: 2 oz. Keeps: Up to 10 days in the fridge.

And one more...
  • 5 oz grapeseed oil (feel free to infuse with herbs like Calendula or Plantain)
  • 1 tablespoon shea butter
  • 1/2 oz beeswax
  • 4 0z lavender hydrosol (or any other hydrosol you like)
  • 2 tbls zinc oxide powder
Mix the oil, shea butter and beeswax in a 2 cup pyrex measuring cup, put in a pot partially filled with water (to act as a double boiler), melt over medium-high heat. Add the zinc powder. Allow to cool until a crust starts to form around the edges. Using a hand blender, begin to slowly pour the hydrosol into the oil. Keep mixing until all the hydrosol is fully incorporated and the cream is smooth. Put into a clean, sterilized jar. Store in the refridgerator.

I scoop some into a tin to take on the go, and refill when needed. I can’t give you the spf factor, but I have used it on myself and all my kids (4 of them ranging from 16 months to 10 years) and after a day at the beach, and 2 hour hikes, no one has gotten any burns or redness. I also like to use it as a barrier cream.

There are other sunblock recipes I found - but most of them require 10-12 expensive ingredients...I don't want to go expensive. I just want something to work!

Do you have any good natural ways to get rid of bugs and avoid sun rays?

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