Many sunscreen products contain potentially harmful ingredients, including oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate. Why not avoid the chemicals and ingredients and make your own?
The Benefit of Non-nano Zinc Oxide
Sunscreens typically block UVB rays but not UVA rays. The UVA rays are responsible for the majority of skin problems due to overexposure. For this reason, a sunscreen with a mineral such as zinc oxide is recommended as it offers UVA protection. Be sure to choose non-nano zinc oxide to avoid health complications that can arise from manipulation of materials at the microscopic level. You’ll know if the zinc oxide is non-nano if it remains white on the skin. Nano zinc oxide becomes translucent when applied. (See Nanoparticles in Baby Formula.)
Sources of Non-Nano Zinc Oxide
It’s also important to note that a higher SPF (sun protection factor) does not guarantee added protection. Sunscreens with an SPF of 15 block up to 93 percent of incoming UVB rays. SPF 30 blocks 97 percent and SPF 50 blocks 98 percent. Keep in mind that SPF does not take into account UVA rays.
(If you prefer to purchase your sunscreen, check out EWG’s 2016 Sunscreen Guide.)
Natural Sunscreen Recipe
The following natural sunscreen recipe uses coconut oil and olive oil. A 2010 study found them to have the highest SPF value. Castor oil and almond oil scored well also. (See In Vitro Sun Protection Factor Determination of Herbal Oils Used in Cosmetics.) *Note: I do not know the exact SPF of this recipe, but with non-nano zinc oxide it should be quite good.
Also, the study found peppermint essential oil and tulsi essential oil to have the highest SPF for volatile oils. Lavender essential oil came in close behind.
- 2.5 oz. coconut oil
- 1.5 oz. olive oil
- .5 oz. beeswax
- 4 oz. filtered water
- 2 tablespoons zinc oxide
- 1/2 teaspoon natural preservative (I prefer Leucidal Liquid Radish Root)
- 6 drops peppermint essential oil (optional: lavender essential oil or tulsi essential oil)
Melt the oils and beeswax in a double boiler over medium heat. Remove from heat, add water, and mix with a stick blender until creamy. Add zinc oxide and stir.
Pour into glass jar(s). I use Miron violet glass as a preserving agent. (Learn more about Miron violet glass.)
Clean utensils immediately. Apply as needed.
For added benefit, mix in 1-2 capsules of astaxanthin. Astaxanthin is produced by microalgae and provides a natural sunscreen when eaten by fish such as pink salmon and shrimp.
While direct sun exposure without sunscreen can do wonders for your health, it’s always wise to limit your sun exposure, wear protective clothing, and stick with natural sunscreens. While I am careful about my direct sun exposure, I no longer wear sunglasses, to ensure plenty of access to natural light. (See Health Benefits of Natural Light.)
Prefer to buy this natural sunscreen? You’ll find it at Just So Natural Products!