Stay Sun Savvy: Protect Yourself from Head to Toe this Summer
By: Heather Bien
You’ve waved goodbye to laying out in the sun wearing only SPF 4 and you wouldn’t dare step foot in a tanning bed, but are you doing all you can to stay sun savvy this summer?
We often think we’re staying sun safe by applying sunscreen when we hit the beach or putting on a tinted moisturizer with an SPF 15, but the sun is out every day (even when it’s cloudy!) and there are extra precautions you should take to make sure you’re staying sun savvy from head to toe.
And, health benefits aside, who doesn’t want to do all they can to ward off sun damage and wrinkles? So, as the weather warms up, here are a few must-do’s to add to your sun savvy checklist.
UV rays can burn you through a car or plane window, so don’t forget to put on your SPF before your next road trip or flight. You’ve probably seen the images of truck drivers who’ve spent years on the road––the left side of their face in stark, wrinkled contrast to the right. Those might be the extreme cases, but it’s a good reminder of the damage that can be done just through a window. So, remember to slather on the sunscreen––face, neck, arms, and hands––each time you hit the road or the air.
Use a sunscreen in addition to the SPF in your makeup or moisturizer.
While any protection is better than none, you’ll ideally use an SPF 30+ sunscreen over your moisturizer for maximum protection.
Sunscreen isn’t just for your face!
The beach isn’t the only time you need to apply sunscreen all over. Invest in an everyday sunscreen that protects from both UVA and UVB rays and make it a habit to cover any exposed skin with SPF, including hands, neck, tops of feet, and ears. And, if you’re outside all day, make sure to reapply every 2 hours. Want extra credit? Consider UPF clothing to ward off any rays that would otherwise make it through your clothing (yes, that’s a thing!).
Always check interactions between medications, skincare products, and the sun!
Be cognizant that many anti-aging and anti-acne ingredients are known for photosensitivity, causing the skin to burn quickly and easily. Retinol, benzoyl peroxide, and antibiotics are some common offenders, though you should check any medication you take for possible sun interactions. I’ll never forget the morning I went out to run a few errands still wearing my retinol night cream and neglecting to put on a sunscreen––the burn from just an hour spent in the sun looked as if I’d been sitting on a beach for days with zero protection.
You want your sunscreen to be accessible at all times, but do not leave it in the car.
Particularly in the summer, the rising temperatures can cause active ingredients in sunscreen to degrade, making it less effective.
Remember, hats are chic and functional.
How fabulous do you feel with a wide-brimmed hat while you’re at the beach or strolling through the farmer’s market? Luckily, covering up your face isn’t just a style statement, it’s a sun savvy move. Don’t have a hat? Seek out the shade!
Don’t forget your eyes!
Go for the Jackie O. look and supersize your sunglasses. Not only will this protect your eyes from sun damage, but it will add an extra layer of sun protection for the sensitive and thin skin around your eyes.
So, get outside this summer and bask in the sun’s warm rays. Enjoy the beach, picnic at the park, and soak up every delightful minute of sweet summertime. Just make sure that you’re being sun safe and healthy along the way!
Also, here’s your friendly reminder to schedule an annual skin check with your dermatologist! Plus, keep an eye on your skin with self-checks and look out for any moles or spots that are changing, growing, or irregular.
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What is Organic Cotton?
By: Heather Bien We’re all trying to be better stewards of Mother Earth. From recycling to upcycling and eating conscientiously to dressing mindfully, our choices affect the planet. So choosing organic cotton clothing seems like an easy decision, right? Not so fast! As with all sustainable choices, it’s important to take a moment to learn a bit more about why organic cotton might win over conventional cotton—and what makes these two materials different in the first place. Read on if you’re interested in learning about organic cotton and whether it’s the best choice for you and the environment. Conventional cotton Before we get into debating modern cotton farming techniques, let’s get familiar with the plant we’re talking about: cotton. It’s soft, durable, and probably on your body right now. But what else do you really know about cotton? Here are the basics: Cotton comes from the cotton plant – The cotton plant is a warm-season woody perennial shrub from the genus Gossypium and the family Malvaceae. Cotton fabric is made from the plant’s fibrous seed-hair (which is also called a cotton boll). Cotton is one of the top agricultural crops – Traditional cotton is the most widespread and profitable non-food crop in the world. Although the plant is capable of growing in any warm-weather climate, India and China are now the top producers of cotton globally. Cotton is thirsty – A normal cotton plant requires 10 gallons of water to reach peak potential. That doesn’t sound so bad, but multiplying it outward, that means it takes about 5,000 gallons of water to produce just 2.2 pounds of cotton fabric. Pests think it’s delicious – Not only is cotton thirsty, but it’s prone to pest infestations from bollworms, weevils, aphids, stink bugs, thrips, and spider mites. In order to combat these common pests, conventional cotton is routinely sprayed with a veritable salad-dressing of pesticides, many of which can remain in the soil and water supply for years afterward. Cotton harvesting requires defoliation – In order to quickly and efficiently harvest cotton, many commercial growers use chemical defoliants to strip the leaves from the cotton plant prior to harvesting the bolls. Like pesticides, these chemicals remain in the environment and on the cotton itself. Is organic cotton better? All of those cotton factoids point pretty compellingly to buying and wearing organic cotton fabric. But first, it’s important to understand what sets this organic alternative apart. Why exactly is “organic” cotton anyway? You might associate the word organic with your healthy fruits and veggies, but it’s not always clear what this term means when it comes to cotton. For many years, there was not a standard definition, but today, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) require that any cotton product labeled “organic” meet the following criteria: Made with fibers from USDA-certified organic crops Third-party certified (ie., through the Global Organic Textile Standard) under the National Organic Program standards Has a specific percentage of organic material (depending on the crop) But this definition is a little circular, so we need also to define USDA-certified organic crops. According to the USDA, organic crop standards are defined as follows: Land must have had no prohibited substances applied to it for at least three years before the harvest of an organic crop. Soil fertility and crop nutrients will be managed through tillage and cultivation practices, crop rotations, and cover crops. These can be supplemented with animal and crop waste materials and allowed synthetic materials. Crop pests, weeds, and diseases will be controlled primarily through management practices, including physical, mechanical, and biological controls. When these practices are not sufficient, a biological, botanical, or synthetic substance approved for use on the National List may be used. Operations must use organic seeds and other planting stock when available. The use of genetic engineering, ionizing radiation, and sewage sludge is prohibited. What is organic cotton? In short, it’s cotton that is farmed according to these practices and certified organic by the USDA. Why should you choose organic cotton? With fewer pesticides, fewer synthetic chemicals, and more thoughtful cultivation practices, organic cotton can certainly offer a more environmentally friendly choice when compared to regular cotton. Is organic cotton sustainable? Here are a few other reasons why organic cotton can be a better alternative for you and the earth: It’s better for our water resources – According to an analysis by the Textile Exchange, producing an organic cotton T-shirt requires 1,982 fewer gallons of water compared to a regular cotton T-shirt. Because organic cotton uses less chemicals, its production also releases fewer toxins into our aquatic ecosystems. It’s good for the soil (and our carbon footprint) – According to the Soil Association, the more natural cultivation practices and fewer pesticides used by organic cotton farmers can support healthier soil. That soil, in turn, can absorb more carbon from our atmosphere and help keep the planet healthy. It encourages biodiversity – Multiple studies have shown that organic farming practices can encourage more diversity among the animal species of our planet. Sustainability is sometimes in the eye of the beholder. But when it comes to plant-derived textiles, the ones which help us create a healthier world are always a better alternative. Explore the benefits of bamboo with Boody Whether you choose to purchase conventional or organic cotton clothing, the fact that you are shopping mindfully for yourself is a win for the environment. At Boody, we believe in bringing you quality, comfy, sustainable clothing basics that keep you feeling good about yourself and your personal impact on Mother Earth. From our sleepwear to our loungewear, women’s bamboo shirts to our underwear, sustainable and ethical are our touchstones. Our clothing is made of bamboo viscose, requiring less water than cotton while putting precious oxygen back into the environment. That just feels good, doesn’t it? Explore the bamboo benefits today, with Boody. Sources: Britannica. Cotton. https://www.britannica.com/topic/cotton-fibre-and-plant Cotton. The Story of Cotton - Where Cotton Grows. https://www.cotton.org/pubs/cottoncounts/story/where.cfm World Wildlife Federation. Cotton. https://www.worldwildlife.org/industries/cotton Textile Exchange. Quick Guide to Organic Cotton. https://textileexchange.org/quick-guide-to-organic-cotton Soil Association. What is organic cotton? https://www.soilassociation.org/take-action/organic-living/fashion-textiles/organic-cotton/ USDA. Conservation and Biological Diversity in Organic Production. https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2016/02/29/conservation-and-biological-diversity-organic-production About the Author: Heather Bien is a copywriter and writer based in Washington, DC. She works with retail, ecommerce, and creative brands on their website copy and digital presence, and her freelance writing has appeared on MyDomaine, Apartment Therapy, The Everygirl, and more. When she's not with laptop and coffee in hand, you'll find her planning her next weekend getaway, working on her budding green thumb, or scouting for her next great vintage find.