As scientists learn more about all the commercial products currently available it is becoming clearer that a lot of products on the market are pretty toxic. One of the most toxic products available is commercial sunscreen but thanks to carrier oils like coconut oil you can throw out your old chemically-laden sunscreen and try a natural alternative.
SPF: What It Is and What It Means To You
When looking for sunscreen you always want to look at the SPF which measures the amount of protection against the sun’s rays you will receive, specifically UVB rays. SPF can range from 1-50 and many carrier oils contain a natural SPF and can be used to make a cream or butter that will protect you. Oils with the highest natural SPF are carrot oil and raspberry seed oil with a SPF grade of 38-40 and 28-50 respectively. Oils like jojoba, sesame and coconut have a lower grade of 4-10 so they are not sufficient enough to offer good protection. Adding zinc oxide to one of your carrier oils will produce a full spectrum sunscreen that will protect you from both UVA rays, that can age your skin and UVB rays, which can burn your skin. There is no way to measure exactly how much protection you have from a homemade sunscreen so you have to take into consideration how long you will be exposed to the sun.
Carrier and Essential Oils: What You Should Know
For a natural homemade coconut oil sunscreen you will need a variety of oils. Don’t worry, they are safe to be used by the whole family but like any commercial product you must keep an eye out for children or adults who like to put things in their mouth because they are not meant for ingestion. For an added benefit you can add beeswax which will give your natural sunscreen water repellant properties. The essential oils you choose to add are completely up to you. Just be sure to avoid citrus oils because they are phototoxic which means that when exposed to the sun they will become an irritant and can burn your skin. For an earthy scent you can use carrot seed essential oils and for a more calming scent you can use lavender. Carrier and essential oils can be found online or at a local health food store.
So if you’ve decided to take the step and try a more natural sunscreen make sure you are using quality products. The zinc oxide you use should be high quality, uncoated and formulated specifically for the cosmetic industry. When mixing with your carrier oil wear a dust mask so you won’t inhale any of the zinc oxide dust. Many associate zinc oxide with the white strip many lifeguards have on their nose and that is exactly what it does, it leaves a white hue on skin and isn’t absorbed. Jessica Espinoza of Delicious Obsessions developed a homemade sunscreen recipe, provided below, that will make a big batch. A little goes a very long way so you can expect it to last for a while if stored properly (in a glass container in the fridge) in between uses.
Homemade Coconut Oil Sunscreen Recipe
¼ cup coconut oil
¼ cup shea butter
1/8 cup sesame or jojoba oil
2 tbsp. beeswax granules
1-2 tbsp. zinc oxide powder (optional)
1 tsp. red raspberry seed oil
20-30 drops carrot seed essential oil
Essential oils of your choice (optional: lavender, rosemary, vanilla, and/or peppermint)
Using a double boiler melt your coconut oil, sesame or jojoba oil, beeswax and shea butter together. Beeswax will melt the slowest and when it is melted remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool to room temperature. If you chose to use zinc oxide then whisk it in at this point and be careful not to create a lot of dust. If you see some lumps don’t be alarmed. Place the mixture in the fridge for 15-30 minutes. Take the mixture out and start whipping it with a mixer, you can use a stand or hand mixer. Drizzle in the red raspberry seed, carrot seed oil and any extra essential oils that you chose. Continue whipping until you are left with a light and fluffy body butter. Use it like you would use regular sunscreen.
Summer time is the time to worry about getting to the beach and hanging out poolside don’t ruin it trying to protect yourself from the sun’s rays by just putting toxic sunscreens on your body. Make it more enjoyable by being able to relish in the knowledge that you are protecting your skin with a more natural alternative that can work just as well.