4 tips for staying sunburn-free without chemicals


This post is sponsored by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, experts in children’s health and wellness. All thoughts are my own.

With three little red-heads and a little blondie (brunette? who knows), we know all about sunburns and how to prevent them. Especially since I had WAY too many sunburns in my youth and adulthood. I don’t want them going through the same pain that I did! It’s important to remember tips and tricks on how to keep your kids safe from sun exposure as well as heat, and insect bites.

4 tips for staying sunburn-free without the chemicals

Our skin is our biggest organ, so it’s very important to protect it. Not only do sunburns hurt a lot and result in peeling, but they can also result in skin damage, free radicals and even cancer. So, yeah, important!

It might seem like a no-brainer, but I think that people forget of the obvious ways to prevent sunburns. Did you know that all skin types and colors can get a sunburn? Yes, all of them!

1. Sun-protecting clothing (rashguards, clothes and swimsuits)

I’m glad the girls love these, because they are genius. They are shirts and bathing suit bottoms, or one piece outfits that have sun protection built right in. Whatever parts on their body that is covered with the rashguard, doesn’t have to be covered with sunscreen. With four little people, less surface area is better. Plus, it decreases the chances of us missing a spot!

rash guards

When I can find a long-sleeved one in their size, I jump on it, but short-sleeves are good, too. Then, all they need to get is their faces, ears, head, hands and legs! Rashguards come in all sizes, even up to adult!

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2. Sunblock or sunscreen

Yes, you can actually purchase chemical-free, organic sunscreen. I have a preference for sunblocks aka mineral sunscreens which contain zinc oxide or titanium oxide as the active ingredient. These actually sit on top of the skin. If you don’t have a sunblock available, using a chemical sunscreen that works by absorbing the sun’s rays and usually do not leave any visible film after applying is better than not using anything at all. Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta has The Scoop on Sunscreen in their Parent Resources for Wellness and Preventive Care.

Bare Belly Organics

Since this is a physical barrier from the sun and not a chemical one, you need to see it. Not as much as this (she thinks it’s funny to be like this and honestly, if she will wear it, go for it!), but you should see a slight color change to our skin when applied properly. See also: Don’t try to rub it all the way in (we learned the hard way if you do rub it in, it’s not as effective).

This is how it should look.

Bare Belly Organics

Grab a face stick and/or body stick for ease of application! But, don’t be surprised if your kids are like mine and like to dig into the tubs and apply it to their legs and faces!

When considering a sunscreen, make sure it covers both UVA and UVB, also called broad spectrum and that is has an SPF of at least 30. Don’t forget to reapply early and often because it will wear off and wear down.

3. Wear a Hat and Sunglasses

Another one that people often forget. Not only do hats protect your face and sometimes the back of your neck, but they protect your scalp! My grandfather has had several pieces of skin on his head removed from skin cancer. It’s hard to put sunscreen on your scalp, so use a hat!

Also, don’t forget those shades and protect your eyeballs! Did you know that you can get a sunburn on your eyes? This is something we struggle with with our kids. I have to fight them to wear their sunglasses. Make sure that they actually block UV rays, too. Sometimes the super cheap kids ones don’t which mean they are not effective!

Bare Belly Organics

4. Find the shade

Now, this doesn’t mean go outside and sit uncovered on a shady day. Nope, you can still get sunburned on an overcast day! Trust me, I’ve had the burns to prove it. Those UVA/UVB rays that can burn your skin aren’t visible to the eyes.

No, I’m talking about physical shade like from an umbrella, awning or building cover. All the shade=non of the burn.

shade, glasses, hat

Even though I was parked in the shade, I did have a couple jaunts out into the sun, so I made sure to have my hat, sunglasses (no eyeball sunburn for me) and sunscreen on. I just need to pick up a rashguard for myself! And, don’t forget to consider that the sun can reflect off of an umbrella from a water’s surface. So, if you are going to be outside, make sure you have sunscreen on!

When you and/or your children are going to be outside, make sure you are drinking water. If you are thirsty, it’s almost too late. Stay hydrated drink water before and after you are planning on being outside. Make sure you have a plan for a place to cool off and get out of the sun, too.

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is a not only a great resource for urgent and emergency care, but they are also experts in children’s overall healthcare and wellness.

Do you have any tips for staying sunburn free without applying chemicals to your body? Let me know if I’m missing something. With all these fair-skinned girls, sun protection is a must! 

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    1. Crazy how much they help. They also make me squint less, too. I’m the worst at squinting!

  1. I have found it’s super important to reassess your sun protection ever hour or so. The sun moves and the shade moves too.

    1. This is so very true. And, also, your hydration. I know so many people forget to drink water and get dehydrated.

    1. I used to be super paranoid, like put it on for a 5 minute trip to the park. But, I have since laxed a bit for stuff like that because I know how important vitamin D is!

  2. I’ve had a lot of sunburns in my life too. My youngest has a rashguard; love it! Maybe I should check into getting them for all of us; I didn’t realize they came in bigger sizes too. And that sunscreen…. you can hardly even tell it’s there. The less chemicals, the better.

    1. I need to get one for myself. I love my girls having them. Less sunscreen to apply and spots to miss. But, it’s nice having a sunscreen I’m not worried about putting on them.

    1. This is the first one I’ve tried tried out (I think) because it was actually tested!

  3. great tips. I do need to protect myself more. The kids we protect very well, but me, not so much.

    1. I think this applies to so many things for myself..not just sunscreen. We make sure we are protecting them and doing all of the right things that we put ourselves on the back burner.

  4. I just got sunburned last week! I love rashguards and so glad that they have them for adults now. I am still on search for a good hat – any recs? I also like to use SPF/UPF protection clothing. Thanks for these tips!

    1. We really have been pleased with it!

      On the hats, I’m bad, I usually just wear free baseball hats, but they don’t protect the neck very well. I really like these sunhats with SPF built it and they come in fun colors!

  5. I need to remember to protect my own skin more. I’m so focused on slathering sunblock on the kids that I have a tendency to skimp on my own application. Though I’m darker skinned and rarely burn, I still want to keep skin cancer away!

    1. Yes, it’s important that we take care of ourselves, too! I need to get a rashguard for myself.

  6. I am so excited to wear my rash guard in Orlando. I have some great sunscreeen for Logan. Something tells me her skin is going to get beautifully sunkissed…lucky girl!

    1. I need to get one for myself!

      And, yes, Logan is going to have perfectly sunkissed skin!

  7. Thanks for sharing this! Bryn and I have really sensitive skin and I’ve been looking for a sunscreen that doesn’t irritate it.

    1. Sure thing! We all have sensitive skin here. N was always complaining about sunscreen burning. Now, she doesn’t and it makes life sooo much easier!

  8. I am with you on that – being a redhead and all 🙂
    I have learned to look for a sunBLOCK not a sunSCREEN

  9. I’m very much into finding chemical free ways to protect my skin. I really like using coconut oil as a sunblock but I have to reapply it constantly since it has such a low SPF value.

    Kindness is the best accessory,

  10. Oh these are all really great tips! In the past…we always have sunscreened Carter. We have a pool and he is in the water so much! I have been reading so much about the sunscreens and chemicals ….that I really wanted to find other ways! These are all wonderful and I cant wait to try some of the chemical free ones!

  11. I buy rashguards for me and my daughter. I also buy UPF coverups for myself. I have several from UV Skinz like their water jacket and resort wraps. The material is like a swimsuit and even though it’s long-sleeved, they are not hot to wear. There are several other brands like Coolibar that carry similar clothing. The protection from a white tee is much lower than one would think, so sunscreen is sometimes important to wear even under our clothing. And don’t forget the tops of your feet in sandals!

  12. Great tips. I’ve been looking for organic ways to prevent sunburns. Thanks for sharing.

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