Are you looking for a natural sunscreen solution? Then get in the line with the other half of 1,000 sunscreen users surveyed in 2016 by the Consumer Reports National Center.
Unfortunately, it seems like there is not a single full-package product on the market, due to the effectiveness of SPF protection ranging from 16 to 70% less than advertised. The truth is that the term “natural” is often used as a false pretense for gaining more customers. But what does natural really mean in skin care products?
Natural Sunscreen Ingredients vs Chemicals
The product labeled “natural” actually refers to mineral sunscreens that contain only titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, or both as active ingredients. Those minerals are in charge of deflecting harmful UV rays.
On the other hand, chemical sunscreens contain active ingredients that absorb the sunlight and neutralize it in the skin tissues. These include:
- Octyl Salicylate
Although the two active ingredients in mineral sunscreens are described as natural, the sunscreen product has been refined and processed, meaning that they have already lost part of their natural value. Not to mention that all sunscreens are not made equally, which raises additional concerns, especially after a 2017 report from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that 75% of them don’t actually work.
What is more alarming is that the higher the SPF, the more toxic the sunscreen product can be. Chemical sunscreens increase the risk of cancer due to carcinogenic agents, including:
What are Natural Sunscreens?
Do natural sunscreens even exist? We have to ask this question after opening our eyes to the issues with sunscreen protection, and the answer is a moderate “yes”. The products containing one or two of the mentioned minerals have good overall ratings, although the SPF range varies from the one specified on the label.
However, it is quite difficult to find a sunscreen without any chemicals. Some lotions for super sensitive skin do perform better than the rest. Still, if you want to be absolutely sure you are protected and want to know what type of ingredients you are applying to your skin, then consider rolling up your sleeves and making your own UV defense.
Homemade Sunscreen Tips
If you are looking for an all-natural, organic, and completely safe sun blocker, then arm yourself with knowledge. Before you start mixing the formula, you need to learn which skin nourishing ingredients to use.
According to the Official Publication of The International Association of Aesthetics, zinc oxide is the main ingredient in many skin care products, acne treatments, and vitamin supplements. Why? Because zinc has multiple health and skin benefits, including fighting off cancer.
For centuries, zinc was used as a natural healing agent. While zinc can be found in nature, zinc oxide is artificially produced, but it still doesn’t lose its powerful properties. In fact, acquiring zinc oxide for your homemade sunscreen recipe means taking care of your skin by:
- Reducing the risk of skin inflammation
- Providing a broad range of sun protection that prevents burns
- Keeping the skin safe from cancer
- Retaining moisture even for dry skin
- Preventing bacterial infections
- Slowing down the signs of aging
- Treating pigment disorders
- Protecting the skin from acne breakouts
- Improving collagen synthesis
That said, here are several of the most common ingredients used for a homemade sunscreen:
- Carrot Oil. An antioxidant powerhouse for considerable SPF protection against solar radiation.
- Sunflower Oil. Another antioxidant with beta-carotene compound and Vitamin E, ideal for preserving and healing the skin.
- Coconut Oil. A moisturizing, antiviral, anti-aging, and skin soothing guardian. Also, coconut oil helps straighten the skin tissue and is quickly absorbed into the skin.
- Raspberry Seed Oil. High in minerals and antioxidants, this is one of the strongest sun-deflecting ingredients because it can protect the skin from both UVB and UVA radiation.
- Aloe Vera. The “Plant of Immortality” moisturizes while treating the skin from acne, aging, and sunburns.
- Shea Butter. This healing and moisturizing ingredient provides an excellent SPF protection, so it’s not surprising that you can frequently find shea butter in sunscreens and other cosmetics.
Homemade Natural Sunscreen Recipes
For this recipe, you will have to use a scale to find a proper measurement – after all, you are making a sunscreen that is designed specifically for your skin. So, make sure to follow the instructions listed below.
To decide on the required amount of zinc oxide, ask yourself how much SPF your skin requires. Before placing the zinc oxide in with other ingredients, you have to make sure that you choose the right amount based on what your goals are and what the weight of the other ingredients is. For example, for a low SPF of 2-5, use only 5% of zinc oxide, whereas for 6-10 you should apply 10%, for a bit over 15%, and for a SPF of 20 use around 20%.
- 1 oz. coconut oil
- 1 oz. sunflower oil
- 30 drops of essential oils (optional)
- 1 oz. vitamin E oil
- zinc oxide powder (wear a protective face mask when measuring zinc oxide and mixing it with other ingredients)
Place all of the ingredients, except zinc oxide, Vitamin E, and essential oils, into a double boiler. Heat until it melts and then let it cool a little. Important note – use the mask to cover your mouth and nose to avoid inhaling zinc oxide particles. Afterwards, add the zinc oxide, Vitamin E and essential oils to the other ingredients and stir until you see that they are nicely blended.
Place the content into a dark jar and leave it in a cold and dark space. You can apply the cream every few hours to exposed skin and watch out for the expiration date – each of the homemade sunscreens lasts for about 6 months.
Coconut Oil Homemade Sunscreen
Coconut oil has a natural 4-5 SPF, but it’s not enough to keep you safe from the sun radiation throughout the whole day. Thus, coconut oil goes best with raspberry seed oil and other essential oils such as lavender or carrot seed oil.
- ½ cup virgin coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon raspberry seed oil
- 10 drops of essential oil (optional)
- 2 tablespoon zinc oxide (wear a face mask!)
Process the coconut oil in a food processor or within a mixer. Then carefully add the zinc oxide (don’t breathe in the particles!) and other ingredients. Once the zinc and oils are well-mixed together, pour the sunscreen in a small container.
Aloe Vera Natural Sunscreen
Aloe Vera is a skin refreshment and a healing agent that will keep you safe from harmful sun rays. In order to increase the protection and skin nurturing capabilities of this natural recipe, it is recommended to add beeswax to the mixture.
- 1 tablespoon Aloe Vera Gel
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon beeswax
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon cocoa butter (or shea butter)
- 5-10 drops of essential oils (optional)
Place all the ingredients in a glass bowl on top of the pan of boiling water and melt them. After letting it cool for a couple of minutes, you can add the essential oils of your choice. Then you can put the sunscreen into a glass container and store it in a fridge.
Homemade Waterproof Sunscreen
You want your homemade sunscreen to last longer and stay on the skin when you’re in the water? Then try this DIY waterproof recipe.
- ½ cup coconut oil
- ¼ cup beeswax
- 2 tablespoons shea butter
- ¼ cup almond oil
- 1 tablespoon Vitamin E
- 30 drops essential oils (optional)
- 2 tablespoons zinc oxide (face mask required!)
Combine all ingredients (zinc oxide excluded) and put them in a double boiler. Let them melt on low heat, but don’t let it become too hot to handle. Pour the content into a glass jar and carefully add the zinc oxide. Once the container is sealed with a lid, wrap a towel around the jar and shake it. Then place your sunscreen in a cold and dark area and use it only once it has cooled down.
Natural Alternatives for Sunscreens
If the DIY approach is not your thing, you can always stay UV safe with natural alternatives for sunscreen. Natural sunscreen replacements come in many forms, but you can rely on each and every option:
- Clothes. Clothing is the best sunblock there is. Materials will absorb or reflect sun rays and guarantee sunburn safety.
- Healthy Food. Eating fruits, nuts, and vegetables during summer gives your skin a natural glow and assures that your skin burns less often than usual.
- Essential Oils. Wheat germ oil, sesame oil, coconut oil, carrot and raspberry seed oils, as well as other seed and nut oils efficiently block at least 20% of ultraviolet light.
Take care of your skin if you want to avoid wrinkles and health issues inflicted by hazardous sunscreens. Regain control over your risky lifestyle choices by taking matters into your own hands and creating an all-natural, 100% organic sunscreen.
After all, no one can protect your skin better than you can. And remember, if you chose to buy natural, purchase only the products containing the safe ingredients mentioned above, but if you decide to prepare it on your own, make sure you use a mask when working with zinc oxide.