Summer is almost here and we’ll soon be enjoying the benefits that the season brings, including sunny days spent outdoors with friends and family. All that time outside can do damage to your skin, so before the season begins, take note of these earth-friendly summer essentials that will keep your skin protected.
Cover Up Naturally
Make sure to add protective clothing to your summer essentials list. The best way to keep your skin healthy is to minimize exposure to the sun’s harmful rays. Avoid going out when UV rays are at their strongest — between 10 am and 4 pm — and stay in the shade as much as possible. Don’t forget to add eye protection to your summer essentials list!
- Straw. Tula brand, a Fair Trade company, offers a wide variety of straw hats made of palm, a sustainable fiber. For a more luxurious (and pricier) take on straw, check out luxury milliner Ninakuru’s gorgeous line of panama hats, all hand-woven by a women’s fair trade cooperative.
- Cloth. Tilley brand hats are made with responsibly sourced and upcycled materials. Choose from a wide selection, including the T3 Wanderer Hat, which is water repellent and rated UPF 50+.
- Bandana. United By Blue’s 100% cotton bandanas come in assorted styles and colors. With every bandana sold, United By Blue donates to help clean up trash from the world’s oceans.
- Women’s UV top. Patagonia sets the standard for a sustainable fashion brand. Its Capilene Cool hoody top, with 50+ UPF sun protection, is made with 100% recycled polyester and Fair Trade Certified.
- UV Clothing and Swimwear. Coolibar offers a wide range of UV swimwear, clothing, and accessories. Their LumaLeo clothing line offers 50+ UPF sun protection using organic cotton and sustainable bamboo. Other brands worth browsing include Sun50, Eclipse, and Athleta, for their sustainably-made clothing that provides sun protection.
- Arms. Sun50’s UPF 50 Sun Sleeves, made from environmentally-friendly recycled or biodegradable fabrics, are guaranteed to stay in place even at your most active. Choose from plain colors or bold, geometric styles.
- Hands. Eclipse brand uses 87% recycled polyester in its Sun Gloves, which provide excellent sun protection. The company pledges to plant a tree with every order.
Don’t Forget Eye Protection
- Sustainable Earth-Wise sunglasses by Toms are made from 100% biodegradable plant-based materials and come in a fabric pouch derived from recycled plastic bottles. They offer 100% UVA/UVB protection.
- Plant-based, biodegradable sunglasses by Pala, a Certified B Corporation, are stylish and sustainable! The company uses recycled materials and minimal packaging.
My dermatologist sister says we should wear sunscreen every day, rain or shine, so don’t forget to include sunscreen in your summer essentials beach bag, regardless of the weather forecast. Make sure to use sunscreen products that are both safe for you and the planet.
For an explanation of why eco-friendly sunscreens are important and what to look for in sunscreen products, see Green That Life’s post on Eco-Friendly Sunscreens. It also includes recommended sunscreen products, including lotions for face and body, sunscreen sticks, and lip balm.
Toxic-Free Insect Repellent
Before you reach for chemical sprays and lotions, first try natural remedies — for yourself and on your property — to repel unwanted pests, such as mosquitoes and ticks.
The first line of defense is proper clothing, with long sleeves and pants tucked into socks, particularly if you plan to be outdoors for any length of time. If you live or are traveling in an area that has a high risk of insect-borne diseases, stronger repellents may be required, but in most cases, it’s possible to keep pesky pests at bay without using toxic chemicals that harm both people and the environment.
Natural Relief for Irritated and Itchy Skin
Bug Bites and Stings
Most bug bites or stings are benign and more of an irritation than a medical issue. For the run-of-the-mill bite or sting, you can try natural home remedies, including ice packs, a paste made from oatmeal or baking soda, toothpaste, equal parts vinegar and water, honey, or even fresh-cut onion.
For natural products, add these to your summer essentials first aid kit:
- Aloe Vera from Varuza is an effective soothing gel for bites, stings, and rashes. It’s made from organic aloe vera powder and completely natural.
- Essential Oils. Insect Bite Relief Soothing Balm from Murphy’s Naturals is 100% natural and contains essential oils, including peppermint, lavender, and tea tree. It comes in convenient pocket size for instant relief on the go.
- Lemon Balm Salve from Teliaoils contains soothing natural ingredients, including lemon balm, echinacea, aloe vera butter, honey, and calendula extract beeswax essential oils.
- Arnica Bites and Stings Cream from Orange Naturals is made from 100% natural ingredients, including arnica gel to help soothe itching, pain, and swelling.
Natural Sunburn Relief
See Green That Life’s post on Natural Remedies for Sunburn, which includes homemade sunburn remedies, aloe vera products, and other over-the-counter sunburn pain relief products.
Natural Skin Fragrance
Add natural skin fragrance to your summer essentials list!
- Deodorant. Purelygreat aluminum-free deodorant products are all-natural, vegan, and cruelty-free. Choose from scented or unscented cream deodorant or a stick option. Another eco-friendly deodorant is Attitude, which is available in 5 fragrances, unscented, or for sensitive skin. Product packaging is biodegradable.
- Body Spray. Paul Penders Calming & Soothing Mist is a fragrant way to soothe skin after a day in the sun. It contains organic Roman Chamomile Extract that provides a soothing and calming effect for all skin types, especially sensitive skin. Another good option is all-natural Aubrey Organics Rosewater Mist with fragrant, refreshing hydration for face, hair, and body.
- Scented Body Cream. Henry Rose body cream isn’t just a decadent, moisturizing cream, it’s also all-natural and verified by EWG and Cradle-to-Cradle.
Summer Essentials: Staying Hydrated, Inside and Out!
After a day in the sun, make sure to moisturize your body.
- After-Sun Body Balm from Badger conditions and soothes parched skin with pure, organic essential oils.
- Body Oil from Prodigal Sun oil blend contains organic chamomile, carrot seed, lavender essential oils, cold-pressed sesame seed oil, coconut, rosehip seed, and Sea Buckthorn.
- After-Sun Lotion from Earthley is a natural and soothing moisturizer for sunburns and dry skin.
- Deep Hydration. You can’t go wrong with Aquaphor in your summer essentials beach bag. It can be used to moisturize cracked feet and hands, as well as irritated skin. I use it every day as a lip balm.
- For Eyes. Paul Penders Essential Eye Gel will keep the area around your eyes moisturized using all-natural ingredients, including organic plantago.
- Don’t Forget to Hydrate Your Body! As you head out for the day, don’t forget to bring your reusable bottle or cup (and straw)!