As summer approaches, Lake Travis residents begin to make our way to the lakes, pools and beaches. We love our fun in the sun! We know to bring our sunscreen, hats and sunglasses. We are not rookies at this. But recently I found out that sun damage can occur within 15 minutes of sun exposure and my family and I should be wearing sunscreen everyday — not just while out on the lake and not just when the sun is out.
So, sunscreen: Every. Single. Day.
As a mom of two young girls, dealing with the “sunscreen battle” is not on my list of favorite things to do at all, let alone every single day (honestly, it is right up there with cleaning toilets and packing lunches). My girls are so wiggly and often I get “IT’S IN MY EYES!” complaint (it really is never in their eyes).
So, when I found out about my neighbor Carley, a pediatrician, created a line of sun protective clothing for kids I was intrigued. She said the clothes would actually cost me less per exposure and protect my kids better than all the sunscreen I would need to buy. Plus, it would make my life easier. Something that saves me money and time and protects my kids? I had to look into it.
Little Leaves Clothing Company is the name of Carley’s company and they offer sun-protective UPF 50 shirts and pants for kids, all super soft and chemical-free, that block 98% of the sun’s harmful rays (for comparison, a regular shirt has a UPF – or Universal Protection Factor – of 5). Putting a UPF shirt on my kids would be significantly easier than applying and reapplying sunscreen as often as they need it. And we need reapplication often! I had no idea how wrong I had been applying sunscreen until I did a little research.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, to insure you are getting the full protection of sunscreen, you need to apply 1 ounce – about a shot glass full (aren’t you glad you hung on to a few of these from college?) — every 2 hours. So, if you are spending a day outside, a full 8 hours, you should easily use about half of an 8-ounce bottle — PER CHILD. Let that sink in for a minute.
I went to a local drug store the other day to really look at the cost of sunscreen. The prices range from $8.50 – $13.00 for an 8 ounce bottle (it is going to cost you more if you get the “cleaner” zinc oxide sunscreen — which I have to do because my daughter has sensitive skin. For example, Badger Sunscreen is $13 for just a 2.9 oz bottle. Gulp.).
Applied correctly and often, that’s about $4 to $6.50 per kid, per day for the stuff from the drugstore. And $20 or more for the zinc oxide kind. Wowzers. And remember, sunscreen should be applied on cloudy days, too. This could seriously add up to hundreds of dollars. (At this point in my research, I am thinking it is either sunscreen or college, kid.).
In contrast, a shirt from Little Leaves cost about $25 and pants $20. It requires no mess and no reapplying. Cue the sounds of heavenly angels and cash registers! Cha-ching!
I went back to Carley and told her what I found — she was right. Now I wanted to know more about the Little Leaves clothing and why they started the company.
“My husband Carlos, who is a dermatologist, and I searched for casual, comfortable, sun-protective clothing for our son and discovered that most of the sun-protective clothing available was swimwear.” said Carley. “Which was great when we were at the pool, but we needed something for all the other times. We figured we weren’t the only parents wanting sun-protective play clothes, so we decided to do something about it.”
And they are definitely NOT the only parents who want to protect their children from the sun’s harmful rays. I am so appreciative to both Carley and Carlos for not only designing these clothes that my girls now love and want to wear all the time because they are so soft, but also for educating me on all the ins and outs of proper sun protection.
We are just weeks away from a considerable increase in the amount of time we will be spending outdoors — so this information not only saves me time and money, but also it keeps my kids safe. One in five of us will develop skin cancer in our lifetime, so this is a huge life lesson I am thankful for.
So, the details: Little Leaves Clothing is made out of a special blend of bamboo, cotton and spandex to provide the best quality sun protection and lightweight, comfort for children. Bamboo is an extremely soft fabric that is preferred for sensitive or eczema-prone skin. Additionally, bamboo is also:
- Naturally hypoallergenic
- Odor resistent
- More durable than traditional cotton shirts
- Absorbent (moisture wicking) – absorbs 4 times more moisture than cotton
- Ultra light- weight is perfect for everyday wear
- Cooler than traditional fabrics of similar weave, more breathable than 100% cotton
- Environmentally friendly and chemical free – bamboo does not need pesticides or fertilizers to grow
You can find out more about Little Leaves and purchase sun protective playwear on the Little Leaves website.
Katherine Willis says
I’m a Lakeway resident and got turned on to Little Leaves clothing. It is literally my 5 year old’s favorite clothing. Not only is it sun protective, and I can rest easy that he’s not getting any sun damage when he’s at the playground or backyard, it’s also incredibly soft and comfortable!!
My oldest son, 17, had 2 skin cancer scares at the beginning of the year that required multiple out-patient surgeries and pathology tests that lasted a heart-crushing 6 weeks. That was my wake-up call to the importance of sun protection for kids.
Great article, Maureen! And terrific clothing line!
Maureen O'Shay says
Wow, Katherine! I am so sorry you had to go through that with your oldest son! I really have learned so much from Carley and Carlos and am thankful I have a place to tell everyone.
Thanks for the feedback! Love to hear that you like Little Leaves, too!! 🙂