While the summer is a great time to soak up the sun and relax at the pool, the rising temperatures also mean greater risk of sunburn. Making sure to cover up and use sunscreen is not only helpful in preventing painful burns, but also helps to protect against potentially harmful skin diseases, such as cancer. But what do you do when the sunscreen that you use causes damage as well?
Depending on the sunscreen of choice, the amounts of SPF, Vitamin A, and other active ingredients, such as oxybenzone, have become extremely controversial. For example, research put forth from the FDA shows that too much vitamin A in sunscreens can contribute to cancerous tumor growth. Several brands, such as Banana Boat, Coppertone, Pamana, and Neutrogena, have received backlash from the public when it was discovered that there was inaccurate marketing used to promote the SPF contents of their sunscreens. The question that should follow this information is: Are there natural alternatives to sunscreens that will give good coverage without contributing to health issues? The short answer is: Yes.
The most basic prevention from the sun’s ultraviolet rays is clothing. Sunglasses to protect your eyes, hats to shade your face, and swim shirts are all great for a first line of defence. As for sunscreens, whether or not it is “natural” will depend on what you are looking for. Some people might want a mineral based sunscreen, which typically includes zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, while excluding oxybenzone. Some of the top brand names to look for when shopping for are: Attitude, Sunology, Poofy, Badger, and Aveeno. To test the health risks for the sunscreen you are using, more information can be found here.
Another alternative is creating your own sunscreen at home so that you know exactly what is going on your skin and its effects. Most homemade recipes include coconut oil, shea butter, olive oil, beeswax, nana zinc oxide, and various essential oils for scent or health benefits. Some recipes for coconut oil sunscreen and simple homemade sunscreen are provided below as example recipes to follow.
Whether you choose to make your own sunscreen or not, remember that keeping your skin healthy is important and no one enjoys being burned. So while you have fun this summer, remember to protect yourself from the sun and enjoy the benefits.
Read more about sunblock on our blog on Rising Vitamin D Deficiencies here.
Natural Sunscreen Recipe
The individual ingredients are considered low SPF and generally quoted at these levels:
- Almond oil: SPF around 5
- Coconut oil: SPF 4-6
- Zinc oxide or titanium dioxide: SPF 2-20 depending on how much is used
- Red raspberry seed oil: SPF 25-50
- Carrot seed oil: SPF 35-40
- Shea butter: SPF 4-6
The final version will have a varied sun protective ability depending on the amount of each ingredient used. For a simple version, even just coconut oil and shea butter with some zinc oxide or a little raspberry seed and carrot seed oil will work for moderate exposure.
As always check with your doctor or dermatologist before using any new products.
Recipe from Wellness Mama
Coconut Oil Sunscreen Recipe
- ½ Cup Virgin Coconut Oil
- 2 Tablespoons Non Nana Zinc Oxide
- 1 Tablespoon Red Raspberry Seed Oil
- Optional: 10 Drops Essential Oils (I used Carrot Seed & Lavender)
1. Whip coconut oil up in a mixer or food processor.
2. Carefully add the zinc oxide (you don’t want to inhale it!), red raspberry seed oil and essential oils.
3. Once the oils and zinc oxide are mixed well pour them into a small container.
Recipe from Coconut Mama