Bug Spray and Sunscreen – Safety First

If you spend time enjoying nature during any season other than the middle of winter, and prefer to avoid painful sunburn as well as repel ticks, mosquitoes (or any other small insect), there are some “natural” ways to accomplish these goals. Reading about experience with a wide variety of sprays, creams, and gels is a complex endeavor for those who choose to avoid toxic products. Labels beyond the “advertisement” pictures disclose lots of information in the form of tiny writing after the words “Caution” and “Warning.” Among the aforementioned, dangers to health and wellness are clearly revealed. Here you are, as if preparing to explore the high seas, suddenly feeling like the protective vest you are about to purchase is filled with holes. What now?

You wonder, “Is there truth to the warnings?” and “How ‘at risk’ am I really?” You ponder the odds, weigh the pros and cons, and then choose the lesser of two evils, realizing that unbiased scientific research has concluded the product you may apply to your skin may protect from tick and mosquito-borne illnesses at the expense of your neurological health. The ingredients that help you avoid sunburn compromise your immune system, and the toxic ingredients that repel insects may negatively impact your brain. Few realize that the very chemicals in sunscreen that “protect” from sunburn also block important rays, preventing your skin from manufacturing immune-system boosting Vitamin D. There are viable, non-toxic alternatives to protect yourself from sun and insects.

Children have sensitive and absorbent skin. You do not want to put toxic lotions, creams, or sprays directly on your youngsters, ever. How can you protect your children from sunburn while at the lake or beach? Look up the value of fruits and vegetables rich in protective factors. (Google: “Lutein and zeaxanthin foods”). Choose only organically grown produce – and be sure it is an honest label (Google: “organic labeling Mercola”). Produce rich in protective factors are brightly colored (red, orange, green, yellow). The color provides protection to the human body. You may also ask your pediatrician about Zinc Oxide cream – the white cream that spreads on clear. Avoid the eyes and mouth. Use a special lip balm with zinc oxide for the lips. Avoid eating it. (“Badger” puts out a product).

To offer protection from insects, you can make your own very effective insect repellant. If you plan to go into a heavily infested woody area, wear the appropriate clothing to protect your body, tuck in pants at the ankles, wear a hat, and if you want to spray a toxic DEET spray on the exterior of the clothing (before the kids put on the pants and shirt) do so away from the children. Then, you may spray the exposed arms and back of neck with a homemade recipe (that may include witch hazel with essential oils from the mint family such as peppermint, beebalm, citronella; as well as lavender, cloves, and other scents. Google: “homemade essential oil bug spray.” Wellness Mama offers ideas). Visit my FB page: Holistic and Integrative Healing for evidence-based data and studies supporting the recommendations aforementioned. Here’s to your best health, wellness, balance, and healing.

DR. NANCY IANKOWITZ is a board-certified family nurse practitioner and Director of Holistic and Integrative Healing LLC. She is also host of “Marcy’s World,” which streams live on the Marcy’s World Facebook page. Email your questions to: DrIankowitz@yahoo.com. For more information, call (917) 716-6802, or visit www.DrIankowitz.com online.