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Growing up in Hawaii, I faced a problem as an autistic child- I hated the texture and sensation of sunscreen, but I loved being out in the sun. This meant I got a lot more sun than is healthy, and will probably pay for it in my old age. Now, I am vigilant about sunscreen application, but I learned a few tips and tricks as to how to make sunscreen more autism friendly. They are as follows:

Pick a brand that has a smell you like. I didn’t like the typical cheap sunscreen smell (you know what I am talking about) like Coppertone. I couldn’t even tolerate Neutrogena (Though that was the least objectionable one my mom would buy) Now that I am an adult, I shell out for the more sensory friendly but expensive stuff. My favourite brands are Fallene Total Block and Dermalogica. If these are out of your price range though, another trick I found to make the sunscreens less of a sensory problem is to keep them in the refrigerator, so that they’re cool when they go on the skin. The coolness also seems to reduce any odours associated with sunscreen.

Another one I have found to be helpful is to mix sunscreen with a more sensory-friendly lotion. If you’re tall and somewhat thick like me, two shot glasses worth of sunscreen is enough to cover your entire body, so you can set aside a separate lotion/cream to be exclusively mixed with your sunscreen. There are even some lotions, like Eminence’s Tropical Vanilla Sun Cream which already have the sunscreen mixed in, and it’s a treat for my nose. I’m sure there must be plain unscented lotions for those with chemical sensitivities which could effectively work as well.

I should have worn t-shirts and cover-ups when I was a child. But I had sensory issues with most of the floppy hats and cover-ups, they were made from scratchy material. So now I seek out ones that are comfortable, and I always have a spare fluffy beach towel for when I am just going to the beach. Materials that are thick and water absorbent, but comfortable, work best. For cover-ups, cotton sarongs work quite nicely. 🙂

I had a problem with sunglasses once, as a kid, I found the tips of sunglasses itchy and irritating, because they were too sharp and pointy. Being an enterprising child though, I managed to solve this by holding a candle over a glass bowl in one hand and holding the sunglasses in the other, and dripping the wax over the scratchy ends of the sunglasses until it covered up the itchy ending, and leaving it to dry. Problem solved!

I suppose in light of summer being almost over, this post came too late, but I hope others will find it helpful.

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