With the extremely toxic nature of most commercially available sunscreens the options are either buying something that ticks all the boxes, at a premium, or making your own which is not only economical but effective and likely healing at the same time given the ingredients used. My sunscreen recipe is really lovely on the skin and turned my child around from hating having sunscreen put on to loving it.
Conventional sunscreen is simply loaded with toxic elements, the EWG has said:
“Laboratory studies of several sunscreen chemicals indicate that they may mimic hormones and disrupt the hormone system (Krause 2012, Schlumpf 2001, 2004, 2008). Some research on animals suggests that oxybenzone and other sunscreen chemicals can be toxic to reproductive systems or interfere with normal development. (See Table 1) Another sunscreen chemical, 4-methylbenzidyl camphor, used in Europe and under petition for use in the United States is also a hormone disruptor.
Experts caution that the unintentional exposure to and toxicity of active ingredients erodes the benefits of sunscreens (Krause 2012, Schlumpf 2010). But most conclude that more sensitive tests are needed to determine whether sunscreen chemicals ingredients pose risks to sunscreen users (Draelos 2010, Gilbert 2013). Generally, chemical sunscreens deserve special scrutiny because most are known to permeate the skin to some degree.
Two European studies have detected sunscreen chemicals in mothers’ milk, indicating that the developing fetus and newborns may be exposed to these substances (Schlumpf 2008, Schlumpf 2010). A 2010 study by Margaret Schlumpf of the University of Zurich found at least one sunscreen chemical in 85 percent of milk samples.”
Of course we need protection against burning from the sun, so what is the nature. It is really interesting to know that there are many natural foods and ingredients created by nature that have a natural SPF rating. I gathered this information from a study where The aim of this study was to evaluate ultraviolet (UV) absorption ability of volatile and nonvolatile herbal oils used in sunscreens or cosmetics and express the same in terms of sun protection factor (SPF) values, Pharmacognosy Res. 2010 Jan-Feb; 2(1): 22–25. doi: 10.4103/0974-8490.60586
The SPF for non-volatile oils:
- red raspberry seed 28-50
- carrot seed around 38-40
- wheatgerm and tamanu around 20
- olive and coconut around 8
- castor, macadamia and hemp around 6
- almond around 5
- jojoba around 4
- mustard and chaulmoogra around 3
- sesame around 2
The SPF for volatile oils:
- peppermint and tulsi around 7
- lavender around 6
- orange around 4
- eucalyptus around 3
- tea tree around 2
- rose around 1
The following natural sunscreen is made with a range of ingredients that all carry a natural SPF rating. Please be aware that it does not have a recognised SPF, I can only give you my own personal experience. Not only has it proved to be a very effective sunscreen it is easy to apply, perfect for sensitive skin and in fact extremely nourishing for skin. We are all individual and as such everything works differently on each of us which must be taken into consideration.
Natural Homemade Sunscreen Ingredients (Organic):
- 1/4 cup olive or almond oil (easily sourced at health food stores)
- 1/4 cup coconut oil (health food stores)
- 1/4 cup shea butter (find here)
- 1/4 cup red raspberry seed oil (find here)
- 1/4 cup beeswax (farmers markets are usually a good source)
- tbsp zinc oxide (keep this out if you want just a gorgeous skin cream) find here
- 2 tsp rose-hip oil (find here)
- Optional: Essential Oils, Vanilla Extract or other natural extracts to suit your preference, I often use sandalwood for insect repellant power
Combine ingredients beeswax, coconut oil, shea butter and olive oil in a jar, any kind of jar is fine, you may want to have one dedicated to making sunscreen or face cream so you don’t have to be too fastidious about cleaning it when the mixture sets. Place the jar in a small pot half filled with water and heat gently until these ingredients melt, give it a stir to help it along. When the mixture is fully melted remove it from the heat and add the zinc oxide, stir to combine and cool slightly. I like to do this step so that the remaining ingredients are not exposed to too high heat which can denature their incredible antioxidants. I usually fill the pot with cool tap water to help this process along, be careful the jar is not too hot or it will crack. When just warm you can add the remaining oils and blend with a stick blender until thick and creamy. Pour into smaller dispensing jars or bar moulds and allow to cool and set completely. It will be a great texture at room temperature but can be stored in the fridge for greater preservation. It can go into a tube if you can be fussed with that process but will not suit a pump container.
I like to apply this lotion after we have had our unprotected time in the sun. It is suitable for use in the water but will need reapplying and common sense. I don’t know the exact SPF (I am guessing over 20 at least but I will have it tested at some stage) but in conjunction with the principles highlighted in the summary, we are well protected and we have fair, Irish descent skin that keeps Dermatologists drooling!
Some commercially available sunscreens I recommend include:
- Little Innoscents
- UV Naturals
These are not always easy to find, check them out online here.
There are many compelling reasons to get sun exposure for the best of physical and mental health. Clearly what we have been doing has not been working so in conjunction with a great diet (particularly focusing on the foods in the previous “sun” article), non-toxic sunscreen, exposing our skin to the vital rays of the sun at appropriate times (not between 9.30am-5pn in Australia in summer) and staying out of the sun in the peak of the day we can restore great health for our kids and protect them against lifestyle diseases such as cancer and auto-immune disease.