With spring here, and the anticipation of outdoor adventures on the horizon, now’s the perfect time to start talking about natural protection from the sun!
We all know that protecting our skin — the body’s largest organ – from the sun is super important; but sadly, so many of the commercially-prepared sunscreens on the market are laden with harmful chemicals that could actually end up exposing us to the very toxins we are trying to protect ourselves from.
The good news is…there are ways to make your own natural sunscreens at home – not only will this save you money, but it will give you greater peace of mind in knowing exactly what the ingredients are.
Ingredients that Naturally Protect Us from the Sun
- Raspberry Seed Oil. The highest of all natural ingredients, contains an estimated SPF of 30-50.
- Shea Butter. An excellent skin protectant with an SPF of approximately 6-10.
- Carrot Seed Oil. Carrot seed oil is an essential oil and has been estimated to contain SPF levels of 30.
- Wheat Germ Oil. While super nourishing for the skin, it too possesses a natural SPF of 20.
- Sesame oil, Coconut Oil, Hemp oil, Avocado oil, Soybean, and Peanut Oil. All contain SPF levels between 4-1
These are wonderful oils, but none of them are enough to completely protect us from an all day sun exposure experience such as a day at the beach. It is important to add the all-natural mineral, zinc oxide (and possibly titanium oxide) to your recipe. This will give you real power to reflect the sun’s ray, with minimal negative effects.
Customize this recipe based on your budget and what you have available.
-1 ounce oil blend (use any combination of the oils listed above)
-1 ounce beeswax (adds waterproof properties)
-1 ounce butter blend (i.e. Shea butter, mango butter, or cocoa butter)
-1 teaspoon vitamin E oil
-0.36 ounces zinc oxide powder
-30 drops essential oils, optional (Stay away from citrus based oils)
1. Gather ingredients and kitchen tools. Note: Many of the oils listed above can be found in the grocery store or health food store. We love the quality and cosmetic properties of the oils, essential oils, and butters available from Mountain Rose Herbs.
2. In a double boiler, over low heat, melt the oils, beeswax, and butters.
3. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly prior to adding the vitamin E oil, zinc oxide powder, and essential oils. Note: Wear a mask when working with zinc oxide. Although it has not been proven harmful when used topically, inhaling the substance can be dangerous.
4. Stir until zinc oxide is dissolved.
5. Pour into a push-up or roll-up dispenser. This recipe will produce a product similar to a lotion bar or sunscreen stick. Ask your friends for their empty push-up deodorant containers, or purchase them in crafting stores such as Michael’s.
6. Allow to cool and harden on the counter overnight. On days when you will be in the sun for longer periods than usual and especially if you’ll be swimming, be sure to reapply often for the best coverage.
7. Make more than one batch with different SPF factors to keep everyone safe from the sun in all situations.
Choose your SPF Number
Depending on what SPF you would like your sunscreen to be, you will need use different amounts of zinc oxide. Once you decide the SPF a little math is involved. The zinc oxide must be a certain percentage of the weight of your ingredients (before adding the zinc oxide). For this reason, it’s easiest to use a kitchen scale when making your sunscreen. For example, if you have 2.0 ounces of lotion and you’d like to make SPF 10 sunscreen, according to the values below you will need to add 0.2 ounces of zinc oxide to the lotion. Use the zinc oxide recommendations below.
For SPF 2-5: Use 5% zinc oxide
For SPF 6-11: Use 10% zinc oxide
For SPF 12-19: Use 15% zinc oxide
For SPF >20: Use 20% zinc oxide