Natural Sunscreen Recipe ~ Wellness Mama
Most sunscreens contain toxic ingredients or endocrine disrupting chemicals that in many cases may actually promote skin cancer growth and free radical production in the body. In fact, in the years since sunscreen use began, skin cancer rates have actually risen, and a 2007 document from the FDA stated that: “The FDA is not aware of data demonstrating that sunscreen use alone helps prevent skin cancer” In fact, many reports show that most sunscreens actually raise skin cancer risk.
Even natural commercially available sunscreens often have toxic ingredients! Check out your brand here!
Considering many people these days are actually Vitamin D deficient, I consider lack of sun exposure to be a much bigger problem than too much exposure. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to many types of cancers including the most deadly types of breast cancer. Lack of Vitamin D has also been linked to problems during pregnancy including pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, premature labor and more.
As a society, we’ve literally cut off our nose to spite our face when it comes to sun exposure. To avoid skin cancer, which is not a particularly deadly cancer, especially if caught early, we’ve shunned the sun and the Vitamin D our bodies produce with sun exposure.
On top of that, sun exposure itself is not conclusively linked to skin cancer, and many other factors, such as Omega-6 Vegetable Oil consumption can have a big impact on skin health!
In most cases, my approach to sun exposure is to get adequate daily exposure, without getting close to the point of burning. Since most of us don’t work outside these days, it actually takes effort to get daily sun, rather than to avoid it.
In the event that I’m going to be out in the sun for much longer than my skin is used to, it is often easy enough to just put on a hat or shirt to shield my skin.
If none of these options are available, for instance, on a day at the beach in early summer before I’ve been in the sun much, I will very occasionally use natural sunscreen. I’m yet to use it this year, and hope not to at all, but I wanted to share my recipe so that if you are in the sun for extended periods of time this summer, you have a natural option.
This would also be a more natural alternative for really young children, those taking medication that increases sun burn risk, or those who burn very easily.
Just to clarify, even though this natural sunscreen smells great and is naturally moisturizing, I don’t recommend using it daily since the Vitamin D you get from the sun will be more beneficial in the long run!
Natural Homemade Sunscreen Ingredients:
- 1/4 cup oil (coconut, olive, almond or grapeseed are good-I get mine here)
- 5 tsp Zinc Oxide (available online or in many stores on the diaper aisle, just make sure it is pure zinc oxide- For those concerned about contaminants or nano-particles, this version has larger particles)
- 1 TBSP Beeswax or emulsifying wax (I get mine here)
- 3 TBSP natural aloe vera gel (not the kind with alcohol or propylene glycol- I get mine from Mountain Rose Herbs and my husband also uses it for hair gel)
- 1/2 cup distilled water or brewed green tea (strained)
- 2-3 capsules of Vitamin E oil (optional)
- 10 drops Grapefruit Seed Extract (optional)
- Essential Oils or Coconut Extract for scent (optional) [Note: do not use citrus essential oils since they can actually cause burning]
How To Make Natural Sunscreen:
- Heat Oil and beeswax on double boiler until just melted.
- Remove from heat, and add vitamin E and essential oils.
- Put into bowl that will not be used for food, and add zinc oxide powder, set aside.
- In small pan, heat water or tea and aloe vera until just warm.
- Add the water/aloe mixture slowly while whisking vigorously or use an immersion blender.
- Add any additional essential oils or fragrances (except citrus)
- This sunscreen is not completely waterproof and will need to be reapplied after sweating or swimming
- Make sure not to inhale the Zinc Oxide- use a mask if necessary
- This recipe has an SPF of about 20, though adding more Zinc Oxide will increase the SPF
- Add more beeswax to make thicker sunscreen, less to make smooth sunscreen- adding about 3x the amount of beeswax and removing the water/tea will make a “sunscreen bar” that rubs on like stick deodorant
- I recommend coconut or vanilla extract or lavender essential oils for fragrance
- Store in a cool, dry place or in the fridge
- I prefer to store in a small canning jar and apply like a body butter. It will be thicker, especially if you use coconut oil in the recipe.
- remove the Zinc Oxide and this makes an excellent lotion recipe!
An Even Faster Way To Make Sunscreen:
- Get a bottle of your favorite lotion (that doesn’t contain citrus oils!)
- Add a couple Tablespoons of Zinc Oxide
- Mix well
- Use as Sunscreen
What do you think? Avid sunscreen user or Vitamin D junkie?
Here are a list of ingredients you should look out for. If you see these in so-called natural sunscreens, you should not buy them, because they are not natural at all.
- Menthyl anthranilate