It's has been absolutely amazing weather the past few days and is just my cup of tea, I could live happily like this all year! I have always been a sun lover, I’m optimistic anyway, but annoyingly more so in this weather. The suns breaths life into everything and everyone. Women in beautiful flowing dresses, kid’s squeals and giggles as they play and splash in water, bees humming, birds twittering and that hazy flow of bugs and seeds along the grass lines, I just love it. I sit, close my eyes and breath in the summer, I saver these days, these days get me through the winter, cold is not my friend and my optimism can falter at times when I'm chilled to the bone!
I was never brought up on sun block, so it was never really on my mind to buy any, I grew up in Shropshire, my garden was the fields as far as the eye could see, I would wonder for hours with my Brother, playing in the pond catching frogs and bottling up bugs, I was raised on fresh air and being told "go be bored outside" boredom always disappeared on the way out of the door, we never had to put sunblock on, but I do remember being told the basics about how not to get burned. My Mother was frugal and practical. That has never stopped me as an adult here in the UK and in all the countries I have visited enjoying the sun and paying the price of being burnt! Not too many times though but enough to know it's not nice, I do go red and then brown, I have peeled maybe 2-3 times in my life. Still I love the healthy glow of tanned skin!
When my son was born, I realised in an instant this tiny human was totally dependant on me now, what a scary and wonderful thought, it takes work, hard work to be a parent especially if like me it does not come naturally! He is my greatest achievement and I love him with every inch of my being. I of course want the very best for him, to keep him safe, to protect him from harm, which of course every parent wants that for their child. When he was 4 months old he started to get eczema, it spread so quickly and his poor skin, so red, painful & itchy. I tried what the doctors prescribed, they worked for a minute but thinned the skin, and made it return with a vengeance, there had to be a better way, so Ugly Apples was born, I made all the skincare products we as a family needed and used on a daily basis, some were easier than others. The sunblock was something I had thought about in passing and being told that what’s best, I started looking into how to make it it's not easy to make without harmful chemicals, so I bought the best at the time thinking it was better than nothing, but it made an absolute mess of my boy’s skin, so that again stirred the researcher in me.
All natural oils that I use in my products have a natural SPF in them in anyway, some more than others, but now its UV rays, and anti wrinkle this and anti aging that, its easy to get confused. My simple question when making products is why? So why did I need the sunblock? It was to protect my child’s skin from the harmful rays off the sun which was created by humans via the destruction of the ozone layer.
What do we need the sun for? Well Life as we know it, it is vital, it is needed and we need the vitamin D that the sun naturally provides to help the body absorb calcium and phosphate, these minerals are vital for healthy bones, teeth and muscles. Lack of vitamin D can lead to soft and weak bones which can lead to deformities. Exposer to sun for only 20 minutes a day gives us the vitamin D that the body needs thats not a long time, and can be done outside of the hottest hours of the day.
What causes skin cancer? “cumulative (adjective meaning increasing or increased quantity, degree by force by successive additions) sun exposure causes mainly basal cell (a type of skin cancer) and squamous cell (uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells) skin cancer, while episodes of severe sunburns, usually before the age of 18, can cause melanoma (a type of skin cancer) later in life. Other less common causes are reported X-ray exposure, scars from burns or disease and occupational exposure to certain chemicals.
My objective: To stop my sons skin burning in the sun whilst still being able to enjoy the sun myself in a safe natural and chemical free way and to make it sustainable until he's 18 or leaves home.
I did little experiments with Joe over the years, I watched him, learned from him, and adapted myself to his needs. So when he was a baby I didn’t go out for prolonged periods of time in the sun anyway, it made him sweaty and uncomfortable so I stayed in where he could be made cooler, we would go for walks, but he was always shaded while in his pushchair. As he got older and started to walk I stayed always at home, it was easier to watch him and provide as he needed, so I got a paddling pool but always in the shade, allowed him to be naked and run free (which can be frowned upon in public) he would naturally go sit where it was shaded and would wander inside if he got too hot there was always water available so would just drink when he needed to, this continued the next year, and the next and now he is 6 and never had burnt skin or had sunblock applied. School was an issue he had to have sunblock at school to apply it himself so I put a few oils in a tin and labelled it "Joseph's sun cream" but it just moisturised his skin rather than block the vitamin D it satisfied the school rules and still allowed me my right as his parent to refuse "sunblock".
He has always been a 100 mph child, filled with energy, he's inquisitive, and funny, as he's getting older he is getting lost in play a bit so during the hottest hours I do give a gentle reminder “put a t-shirt on or don’t forget your cap” but generally he still plays in the shade or goes inside, we are quick to tell our children “outside weather is nice” I used to but now I don’t, I allow him to go inside and watch a DVD inevitably 10-20 minutes later he’s replenished cooled off and back to playing outside. Days out are a treat and not a daily or weekly occurrence for us but more on that another time, I pick carefully because being hot, sticky and irritated is a bad day for everyone. Some of Joes favourite days are just the 3 of us hanging out together, we bought him a 10” pool this year with supports, it is our best purchase ever, after school everyday we can be found in that pool, our garden is never out of the sun, but at 4pm onwards, the sun is just perfect, Lee and I enjoy a cold one, talking about the day’s events, while Joe splashes around and shows us his front flips into the pool or riding his bike around in his pants or digging in the sand pit, absolute bliss!
Sunblock has not been part of the evolution process for thousands of years, so why is it now? There are children all over the world in hotter countries than ours that survive daily without the need of sunblock. So what’s so different about us lot? well we don't see the sun much here in the UK so when we do we go nuts trying to cram in as much as we can before it disappears again. I as much as anyone want to be tanned and golden we see it as a sign of health and is on trend, we see the sun as a way to achieve a look not as the necessity to life that it is and we don’t pay it the respect it deserves when it comes to our skin, we don't allow the sun to slowly tan rather to just burn us to a crisp, we take our kids out and about during the hottest part of the day and lather them up in chemicals all the time thinking we are protecting them from the skin cancer that we are being told is caused because of being exposed to the "harmful" suns rays, when actually research shows the sunblock is a contributing factor to that very cancer via the chemicals used to "protect" our skin.
Unfortunately we do live in a world where companies are taking advantage of inaccurate information and selling us a lie for profits by concocting a bottle full of chemicals to "protect" our children when infect they are the cause rather than the solution to an ever growing problem! I see as I travel about, adults with burnt and red skin followed by a pure white child soaked in all the chemicals the supermarkets have to offer, then we wonder why there are so many sick children and skin cancer still on the rise, hopefully now the picture is painted for you, you can see it for the lunacy that it is! We are tricked into thinking we are doing the best for our children when in fact these companies are cashing in whilst handing us a Russian roulette revolver to hold to our child’s head. Our children do not need sunblock, they need educating on how to stay safe in the sun, and we the parents need to lead by example. Lets show the next generation how to live safely and naturally alongside the sun to protect them for life, and not to spend a fortune on products we don't need whilst depriving our children from the vital minerals that the sun naturally gives us, the piper will always get paid one way or another! I will not allow it to be my child!
There are many reports on the internet that expose sunblock and the chemicals used saying this is contributing to the cause of skin cancer I believe this to be true but there are many forums for and against, and if like me you choose to believe your gut rather than some quack on the internet for or against, then I suggest you investigate for yourself, and make up your own mind. You are the Mother/Father/Carer of something very precious, only you can say without judgement from me what’s best for your child, just in the same way I as a Mother without your judgement will do what’s best for my child. I was lead to look into this area through me needing another way to protect my sons skin, during the summer months.
Instead I ditched the sunblock idea and now I teach my son how to live safely & naturally along side the sun.
- Sunblock is not needed
- Vitamin D comes from the sun which we need
- drink plenty of water
- Stay shaded during 11am-3pm the hottest time of the day
- Wear loose, light cotton clothing and a cap
- Go enjoy outside for at least 20 minutes a day
- Listen to your body, it will know when enough is enough!
- Cool off, chill out
My favourite saying ever and this is what I strive to do…… Build a life at home you don’t need a break from, this is so true, our children can experience travel and other countries, places, things, sites and stuff when they are older. They are not missing out on anything right now! Im going to Live for my child now, that’s all he needs, in a blink of eye he will fly the nest!
Being a Mother is my best adventure so far, and I am truly blessed to have the privilege of being one to an amazing little boy.