This time last year we were half way through a 3 month heatwave. Applying sun cream, cooling down in the paddling pool and raiding the freezer for ice lollies was a daily occurrence. Like many people we were using whatever sunscreen was on offer or still in the cupboard from the year before. A lot can change in a year and this summer we’re using Weleda’s Edelweiss sun screen instead. Our eyes have been opened to the chemical nasties to be found in conventional sun creams and the harm these can cause to our health and to marine life. 14,000 tons of sunscreen are thought to wash into the oceans each year; 82,000 chemicals from personal-care products may be tainting the seas according to The National Geographic. Switching to mineral sunscreen helps us to protect the planet and our skin. I no longer hear protests from Euan of ”I don’t want to wear any sun cream. It’s sticky and it stings my eyes” Instead there are murmurs of ”mmmm I smell of lemons” and giggles. Yes giggles, and this is why …
Using Solar Buddies to apply sunscreen
We’ve started using Solar Buddies to apply our sunscreen and it’s brilliant. My boys aged 7 and 3 are able to apply it themselves (with much giggling as they find it a bit ticklish on their face and neck). The Solar Buddies has a roller ball like a deodorant and a spongy outer ring so the amount of cream is not only controlled but glides on to the skin easily. The Solar Buddies was created by Mums Kelli and Laura after discovering their children’s school had a ”no touch” policy when it came to helping children apply sun creams. They solved the problem of sun safety when their children were out of their care with this easy, mess free applicator. If you have a child who doesn’t like the feel of cream on their hands the Solar Buddies is ideal – it dispenses just the right amount and you don’t even have to rub it in (although we do to reduce the white sheen of our Weleda mineral sunscreen). Using less sun screen has two distinct advantages for your wallet – less wastage (we all have stories of over squirting and looking for other parts of the body to wipe it on!) and less chance of it smearing your clothes. Euan’s white school t-shirts were always so stained by the end of the summer term that I had to throw them away. I don’t know why regular sun creams cause such yellowing at the collar or anywhere they’re splashed. So far this term Euan’s white t-shirts are remaining white (with the exception of school dinner splashes!)
our Solar Buddies in action
We recorded a little IGTV clip to show Euan applying his own sunscreen with the Solar Buddies. We did it in one take and have rolled with a few unexpected distractions! But hey, that’s family life for you and exactly why I love discovering products like Solar Buddies, developed by Mums for Mums. (Don’t worry about the fact that Euan unexpectedly licks his hands after – there is nothing in Weleda sunscreen to cause him harm)
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Solar Buddies are available to buy for £8.99 (or less if you buy a duo pack or a quad pack). Some sun protection creams dissolve the adhesive on the sponge ring so read the information here before adding yours. We use Weleda’s Edelweiss mineral sunscreen which doesn’t cause any difficulties for the durability of our applicator. If your sponge does start to show signs of wear Kelli and Laura have that covered too with replacements at £4.99 or £6.99 for two. Solar Buddies are easy to refill, are a fab chunky shape for kids to hold and it’s a great way of encouraging little ones to learn about and apply sun safe practices. 3 year old Luca used to squirm off my lap when I approached him with the sun cream bottle. Now he delights in being able to do it himself!
Why we use Weleda SPF30 sunscreen in our Solar Buddies
Weleda’s Edelweiss Sun Care range is suitable for the whole family and safeguards skin health and the environment. Unlike synthetic sun screens you don’t have to wait 30 minutes before going out in the sun, protection is immediate. This is because mineral sun screens contain non-nano mineral UV filters that create a barrier against the harmful rays of the sun. Inspired by the edelweiss flower and how it protects itself from the extreme sun in the Swiss mountains, all sun care products are 100% certified natural and offer the highest possible protection for the whole family.
Mineral-based sunscreens reflect the sun’s rays like countless small mirrors to protect the skin from sunburn. They contain particles of minerals such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which can be used in different sizes to physically block the sun’s UV rays. When the average size of these mineral particles is between 1 and 100 nanometres (1 nanometre = 1 billionth of a metre), they are referred to as nanoparticles, which are invisible on the skin. Weleda has deliberately refrained from using chemical or nano-sized UV filters and have developed mineral NATRUE-certified sunscreens to offer an alternative. So when mineral-based sunscreen is applied, it leaves a whitish sheen. The higher the sunscreen formulation’s sun protection factor (SPF), the more prominently it whitens the skin. For use with children this effect is not necessarily a drawback: you can immediately spot the areas of the skin that have not yet been covered. Weleda sunscreens are waterproof and offer reliable and high UV protection – even for sensitive skin types and delicate baby skin*. For adult skin the cream works in beautifully over pre-moisturised skin but if you’re wary of a slightly white finish on your face a drop of Weleda’s tinted beauty balm applied over the top will counteract that.
I made an IGTV video recently for my Weleda Gloucester Instagram page where you can see how to combat the whitening effects of mineral sunscreens.
* re. protecting delicate baby skin. SPF 50 sun protection creams are recommended for babies but I personally exercise caution around what ”babies” actually means. The best sun protection for babies under 6 months is avoiding direct sun exposure all together. I appreciate that can feel impossible on some days with siblings to occupy or get to school. I didn’t use any sun screen on my boys until they were over 1 year old because they were under 6 months old in our summer months. Instead I checked the forecast, dressed them in light long sleeved/legged clothing, created shade around them and avoided the hottest parts of the day for playing out where possible.
I think applying sun screen to infants can create a false sense of security that their skin is protected from potential sun damage. This is especially true when choosing a SPF 50 cream thinking it’s the best option and will last all day. Research shows that an SPF 30 cream reapplied is the safer option and that SPF 50 cream only offers a 1% increase in protection from UVB rays over a SPF 30 cream. Don’t we all have memories of applying sun protection cream and still being burnt when we spent longer than we expected to outside and didn’t think to re-apply it? A mineral sun screen like Weleda’s does offer safe and reliable protection for delicate skin because it literally bounces UVB radiation away from the skin (unlike synthetic sun screens that absorb the UV radiation). However I wouldn’t recommend any sun screen for babies under 6 months old, instead focusing on measures to reduce sun exposure.
Disclosure: I came across Solar Buddies on-line and contacted Laura and Kelli about writing a review. They sent me a free Solar Buddies in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to provide positive feedback and all opinions expressed are my own (or Euan’s).