Neighborhood Nutrition Team — Summer Skin Care Tips: Sunscreen and Dairy-Free Milk

Beth Chiodo, Weavers Way Neighborhood Nutrition Team


As the thick of summer approaches, the Neighborhood Nutrition Team will focus on healthy skincare solutions as well as explore the many dairy alternative offerings. Join us for fun DIY workshops like making your own Deet-free bug spray, how-to essential oils, frozen treats for kids, making your own nut milks, and much more!


  • Tuesday, July 23, 4-6 p.m. - Backyard of Chestnut Hill
  • Tuesday, Aug. 6, 4-6 p.m. - Ambler
  • Tuesday, Aug. 13, 4-6 p.m. - Ambler
  • Tuesday, Aug. 20, 4-6 p.m. - Mt. Airy
  • Friday, Aug. 27, 4-6 p.m. - Backyard of Chestnut Hill



We’ve had some beautiful weather over the past few weeks, and I’ve been taking my little ones out to enjoy every ray of sunshine I can. We’ve been tending to our garden and we just finished our first weekend-long camping trip. We’ve been in the sun a lot, and it reminds me of just how important summer skin care is for myself and for my family.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S., and there is ample evidence that prolonged exposure to the sun raises the risk for melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer. In addition, too much sun is responsible for sunburns, cataracts, premature aging, and wrinkles. In being more responsible for my health and the environment, I’ve come up with a few tips for healthy skincare you can follow all summer long:

  1. Sunscreen is one of the best defenses against sunburn and skin cancer.
  2. Pick a sunscreen that has an SPF of 30 or higher and reapply it frequently. Choose a waterproof option to ensure adequate coverage.
  3. Use a sunscreen that is labeled “Broad Spectrum.” This means it protects the skin from ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, both of which can cause skin cancer.
  4. Be especially careful during the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun’s rays are strongest.
  5. Consider dressing yourself to protect against the sun. Wear lightweight, long-sleeved clothing, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses.

Avoiding the sun might not be the only way to promote healthy skin, especially if you are prone to conditions like acne and other skin irritations. Some studies suggest there is a link between dairy intake and skin health. According to a systematic meta-analysis of 78,529 children, adolescents, and young adults, consuming any dairy such as milk, yogurt, and cheese was associated with an increased incidence of acne in individuals aged 7–30 years. This could be due to hormones used to treat the cows producing the milk, or it could be due to growth hormones naturally present in the milk itself.

Whatever the reason, avoiding dairy products can be one way to combat this. But you don’t have to do without milk, yogurt, and cheese entirely — there are more dairy alternatives on the shelves today than ever before!

Plant-based milk alternatives can be made from various foods including soy, oats, rice, almonds, coconut, quinoa, teff, or seeds such as flax or hemp. Many of these are fortified with calcium and vitamin D so their nutrient profile is similar to that of dairy milk. Also, they may be flavored with vanilla or sweetened with sugar, but an unsweetened variety is almost always available. These milks may be sold in the refrigerated section or available in a shelf-stable version.

The main difference between dairy alternatives and cow’s milk is their protein content. Cow’s milk contains 8 grams of protein in an 8-oz. glass. Soy milk comes close at 7 grams of protein per 8-oz. serving, while other milks contain only about 1-4 grams of protein per 8-oz serving. However, milks such as flax or hemp also contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are helpful in promoting heart health and reducing overall inflammation in the body.

Any of these plant-based milks can be used interchangeably with cow’s milk in recipes, and they are delicious in cereal, oatmeal, or your favorite smoothies. Greens, including collards, kale, swiss chard, etc., are absolutely scrumptious braised in coconut milk.

Summer sun is upon us, and we are called to enjoy the weather provided to us in a way that is responsible for our planet and good for our health. Using sunscreen is a must to prevent deadly skin cancers, while avoiding excessive amounts of sun can prevent a number of health conditions. For individuals suffering from acne, removing dairy might be the next step toward clear skin; thanks to stores such as Weavers Way, there are plentiful and delicious alternatives to dairy at your fingertips. Try one today!

Beth Chiodo is an Ambler-based registered dietitian and certified wellness coach. She works in corporate wellness and also has a private practice ( She does one-on-one nutrition counseling, gives seminars and cooking demonstrations, and helps execute other wellness offerings for the community.