I was a sun worshipper as a child. In those days applying sunscreen in the UK was an indication of paranoia. Even holidaying in scorching hot mainland Europe, it was perfectly acceptable to go out in the midday sun with a low factor sunscreen. Towards the end of the holiday, it was practically obligatory to wear something resembling cooking oil to max that tan.
In my 20s something horrible started happening to me on holiday. After a couple of days in the sun I’d get this really angry rash, known as prickly heat. My legs suffered the worst with these small red spots, which stung and prickled intensely, making me jump and twitch. The only way to relieve the discomfort was a warm bath and I’d have to stay indoors until the rash went away.
For 20 years I continued to suffer from this condition, which I now know is called Miliaria.
And now I know why I used to get it, and how to prevent it ever happening again.
It’s all about what’s in your sunscreen!
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At this stage I will admit I was being deliberately controversial in the title of this post to get your attention. Of course you should wear a sunscreen – but a particular type of sunscreen.
We smother ourselves in the stuff these days, quite rightly. I used to go for a high factor at a low price, buying from the high street and always looking for a special offer. BIG mistake.
The majority of sun protection products sold by retailers contain mineral oil (not to be confused with minerals – which are good for us!). Mineral oil is the stuff the crude oil industry can’t use, so oil companies sell it by the barrel load to cosmetics companies. It’s cheap, thick and it makes the products go a long way.
It’s not harmful, but here’s the rub. The molecules in mineral oil are too large to be absorbed by our skin, so they sit on the skin and form a barrier. This makes it an effective sunscreen – but it prevents our sweat from getting out. It is the build up of sweat (sorry!) and the blockage of the sweat ducts that causes Miliaria.
The cause of my prickly heat was the very thing that was meant to be protecting me from sun damage.
You need to choose a sunscreen without mineral oil. Check your labels for ingredients like liquid paraffin, pariffinum liquidum or liquid petroleum. These are all other names for mineral oil. Whether it’s on the label of your sun protection bottle or any other of your personal care products, it is preventing toxins from escaping and stopping nutrients being absorbed through your skin.
You will already know I’m an Arbonne fan and even have my own Arbonne website where I can help you buy these products, so it will come as no surprise to you that their vegan, botanical products contain no mineral oil. In fact, in Switzerland where the products are formulated, mineral oil is illegal.
Arbonne’s sun care products need to be applied more regularly, but they absorb quickly, smell great and you will not get prickly heat. Plus there is a range for kids to give you peace of mind that you’re giving them the best care while they’re having fun in the sun.
I haven’t had miliaria since I started using a sunscreen without mineral oil. Prickly heat doesn’t have to ruin your summer. I am living proof.
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