In a previous post, we highlighted the ongoing controversy surrounding sunshine versus sunscreen and talked about the known dangers on both sides.
There is no denying the fact that the sun’s UV rays are extremely powerful and can cause damage to our cells and DNA.
Many people have responded to this risk by liberally applying sunscreen before spending any time outdoors. The problem is that skin cancers are still on the rise and people are experiencing everything from hormone disruption to painful allergic reactions thanks to the many harmful chemicals found in our modern day sunscreens.
With conflicting research on either side of the equation, the smartest approach is to practice sun safety by reducing long hours in the sun during the most intense period of the day and using the least toxic sun protection measures like umbrellas, large brimmed hats, and lightweight clothing.
Unfortunately, avoiding the sun altogether also has some serious consequences because it can result in Vitamin D deficiency, which is a huge risk factor for cancer development.
It seems that the best approach is a little bit of sunshine on bare skin (without sunscreen) to ensure we are absorbing our Vitamin D, and practicing sun safety the rest of the time.
Obviously there are going to be trips to the beach, outdoor hikes, trips to the park, and sunny vacations that will mean we have to rely on sunscreen. For these times, the best choice is to opt for a safe, non-toxic mineral based sunscreen.
Many of these natural options are extremely pricey and still contain some questionable ingredients, so why not try making your own batch that is both safe and easy to use?
This is a great option for young children, people who burn easily, and those who take medications which increase their sensitivity to the sun.
This recipe contains a number of ingredients that naturally have SPF protection.
Please note, this is a homemade recipe and hasn’t undergone any sort of testing to determine the exact combined SPF, so we can only make guesses about the final SPF value.
Natural Sunscreen SPF Values
Here are the ingredients used and their estimated SPF values:
- Zinc Oxide – SPF 2-20 depending on amount used
- Almond Oil – SPF 5
- Coconut Oil – SPF 4-6
- Peppermint Essential Oil – SPF 7
- Lavender Essential Oil – SPF 6
- Lemongrass Essential Oil – SPF 6
- Shea Butter – SPF 4-6
- Other possible essential oils: Arborvitae, helichrysum, myrrh, and eucalyptus
DIY Natural Sunscreen
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- 1/2 cup almond oil
- ¼ cup or 2 sticks of beeswax
- 2 Tablespoons Zinc Oxide (Non-nano version that won’t be absorbed into the skin)
- 10-20 drops of essential oils of choice
- Optional: up to 1 teaspoon Vitamin E oil
- Optional: 2 tablespoons Shea Butter
- Combine all ingredients except zinc oxide in a small mason jar.
- Loosely cover the jar with a lid or piece of paper towel.
- Please the jar in a medium saucepan filled with a couple inches of water.
- Heat the saucepan and jar on the stove over medium heat.
- As the water heats, gently stir the ingredients as they begin to melt.
- Once all ingredients have completely melted, remove the jar from the saucepan.
- Slowly add the zinc oxide, stirring well to make sure it is fully incorporated.
- You can leave the sunscreen in the jar or pour into another container.
- This sunscreen will keep best if refrigerated and should be used within six months.
- Use as you would regular sunscreen. This recipe can be used on the face as well.
- For best results, remove from the fridge 30 minutes prior to use to allow the ingredients to soften.
Not into DIY sunscreen? Here is a list of my top recommended natural sunscreens you can buy:
Top 10 Pre-Made Natural Sunscreens
- Thinksport SPF 50+ Safe Sunscreen Cream for Kids
- Kiss My Face Kids Mineral SPF 30 Natural Organic Sunscreen
- Badger SPF 30 Active Mineral Sunscreen Cream for Face and Body
- Tom’s of Maine Baby Sunscreen Fragrance Free
- Sunology Kid’s & Baby Safe Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50 Broad Spectrum Lotion
- Babyganics Mineral-Based Baby Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50
- Bare Republic Mineral SPF 50 Baby Sunscreen Lotion
- Nurture My Body All-Natural SPF 32 Mineral Sunscreen, Fragrance Free
- ATTITUDE 100% Mineral, Non-Nano Zinc Oxide Sunscreen for Baby & Kids
- Goddess Garden Organics SPF 30 Everyday Natural Mineral Sunscreen Lotion for Sensitive Skin
Which are you most excited to try? A safe and non-toxic DIY, or one of the pre-made natural sunscreens?