Summer 08: The Healthy Kid Corner

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Treating/preventing sunburns, bug bites and rashes naturally
For those of us who are concerned about the ingredients of kids’ sunscreens and bug repellants, you are not alone and you are in luck!
Sunscreen: We already know we want PABA-free to decrease chance of skin rashes, and at least 15 SPF broad-spectrum sunscreens to cut out the UV-A and UV-B dangerous sunrays. But did you know that you want “chemical-free” suncreens that include zinc-oxide and titanium dioxide as their main ingredients? Zinc Oxide and titanium dioxide stay on top of the skin and don’t wash off easily in water/with sweat. Sunscreens with these ingredients start working immediately after application, blocking the sun’s rays. Chemical-based sunscreens often take up to 30 minutes after application to soak into the skin before they start to work (
Bug Repellants: Beware of DEET products. DEET is a dangerous chemical that is responsible for many unhealthy side effects. Have no fear…there are natural alternatives to DEET, made primarily from plant essential oils, which can protect you in less threatening circumstances. Look for products containing any of the following: lavender, eucalyptus citriodera, litsea cubeba, geranium,
rosemary, peppermint, cedar, and/or tea tree oil. For more information on properties of essential oils, go to and click on “Learn About-Plant Oils” button.
If your child gets a bug bite, cold compresses can help relieve the itching and cut down on the swelling. A dab of Baking-soda toothpaste also has a cooling effect (Parenting, June 2008)
Rashes and Sunburns: ice packs, cold compresses, and an aluminum acetate solution (Burow’s solution) can soothe the itchy red rash of poison ivy/oak or sumac. (Parenting, June 2008)
For sunburns, a couple tried-and-true natural solutions for you to try:
1. Apply undiluted apple cider vinegar to sunburn by cottonball.
2. Apply mayonnaise as a skin cream to sunburn.
3. Apply peanut oil to sunburned area(s).
4. Apply thin slices of cold cucumbers, apples, or potato directly to the skin.
5 Apply cold, plain yogurt then rinse with cool water.