Thursday, June 6, 2013

Summertime! (well. . not really, but it feels like it)

Starting last week, the almost ubiquitous cold and wet of not-quite-New England, has started to give way to actually decent weather!  We had a short 3-day burst of sunny 90-ish weather, that was absolutely gorgeous, and after some rain (really, it must rain more here than anywhere else in the country, it's quite annoying that it can't seem to go a full week without a torrential downpour)  - it came back around to sunny, and mid 70's.  Not beachy, serious outdoorsy weather, but pleasant enough.

Sorry about the weather review, but with my Reynaud's, and living this far north, I have to pay very careful attention to the weather, and it tends to dictate my mood a good bit, with cold and wet ad nauseam making me quite the unhappy little elfling.  So, when it kicked around to the first few days of the year where I could go out without worrying about getting chilled, or if I'm bringing enough extra clothes with me in case there's a 5 degree temperature drop, I ran out and didn't want to come back in until all my solar batteries had been recharged.

Or, in short, I haven't been making anything because it's been too nice outside, and I have needed to be OUT in it until I had my glut of sun and heat.


However, because of my Irish-German heritage, I can't exactly take the sun casually, either.  Tons of high powered sunblock is always required, and a big straw hat for the beach.  And even though I escaped several days of full-on sun and 90 degree weather without a single burn - that doesn't mean you still can't get a touch of sun poisoning.  I, myself, ended up with a bit of a sun rash, that was quickly soothed with a homemade oatmeal, honey and rosewater skin treatment.

So, it's always important to try and protect your skin as much as possible, and then, if you do go overboard, have the right stuff to try and heal as best you can.  And that's our theme for my etsy plugs today.

***  Note from elfling who spent many years in a dermatologists office.  REMEMBER:  THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A HEALTHY TAN!!  All tans that you weren't born with are skin damage, and the idea you can get a "base tan" to protect your from further damage is a myth - and not the fun kind of myth!  Sun damage is cumulative, and even a little tan, or just one burn in your life can increase your chances of skin cancer exponentially, and even if you're not burning, the damage is still building, year after year, under the surface of your skin.  Not to mention that sun damage is the main reason people get wrinkles and dark spots - it's all sun damage. ***

Homemade all-natural sunscreens can be tricky.  I love the idea, but I also realize it's a little bit of a case of buyer-beware.  Because of this, I like Cabin Creek Apothecary 's Sunscreen Stick.  She comes right out and says the the SPF is an untested assumption based on the information she gathered by using a 23% zinc oxide fine powder added to the other ingredients.  Her listing gives excellent information about every ingredient she lists and how it can help protect your skin.  I also like that she uses red raspberry oil, which apparently has a great reputation as an all natural ingredient to help boost "spf" (not that any product not reviewed by the FDA can have a real SPF number, but in this case, think of it more as a loose guide)

And there's one thing a lot of people always forget about - sunscreen for lips.  It's important to keep the delicate thin skin of your lips moisturized and coated to prevent any damage in that area, as well.  Thankfully, this is also one of the most fun areas of sun protection.  Pigments cause a natural barrier to protect lips from sun, and shea butter has a natural "spf" of about 5.  And if you get one with a fun flavor, it's no problem to keep reapplying!  Puritea is a relatively new shop that only has one thing - protective lip balms, 100% organic and vegan.  She has five different flavors, but for the summer, I think Mango would be a great one!  Or, get the set of 3 and mix and match all season long!

It's always better to NOT get a sun burn to begin with - but if you had an oopsie-day, this stuff sounds amazing to try and reverse as much damage as possible.  (Though, I know, all the damage can never be reversed completely, but we do what we can!)  Wash The Day Away caught my attention with this White Willow & Aloe Sunburn Lotion.  It's made with white willow bark (the natural form of asprin), aloe in three forms! (butter, extract, and gel), as well as calendula, comfrey root, vitamin e, arrowroot, lavender and chamomile.   And she makes samples on request, so you can test it out!

So, I hope you guys have a great and safe summer, and enjoy the sun in a way that doesn't leave you sore, cracked, or looking like Snooki, or the infamous "tanning bed woman" from a few months back.

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