I’ve been very interested this past year in making more natural, non-toxic products for my family. With my family – and personal – history of skin cancer, protecting my skin and my kids’ skin from the harmful effects of the sun is of great importance to me.
While I believe that wearing sunscreen is an important part of protecting skin from burns, I also believe that a lot of the sunscreen out there is not exactly good for our skin. In fact, some people argue that some sunscreens increase the chance of skin cancer.
I’m not a doctor, and I don’t claim to be an expert in the subject of sunscreen or skin safety. Before using new products on your skin, it’s always safest to check with your doctor first and test a small amount before wide-spread use.
What is the SPF? Determining the SPF of a homemade sunscreen can be tricky. Carrot seed oil has a natural SPF of 35-40 and zinc oxide has a natural SPF of up to 20. The other ingredients, like the shea butter and coconut oil, have low (under 10) SPF value as well. This sunscreen is not going to have a super high SPF, but it will do a great job as long as you follow a few simple smart sun practices. My best advice is to apply regularly to keep your skin protected, especially after sweating or swimming.
How to Avoid a Sunburn
Here are a few best practices for safe sun exposure, regardless of the sunscreen you’re wearing.
- Stick to the shade – If you’re going to be spending a long time outdoors, find a place in the shade to relax.
- Wear a hat and sunglasses – A simple wide-brimmed hat (or even a baseball cap) will give your face and neck the best protection you could ask for.
- Apply sunscreen regularly, but expecially after sweating or being in the water, where the sunscreen could wear off.
- Limit your time in the sun – Being outside is wonderful! I encourage lots of outdoor time for our family, but of course I don’t want the kids (or me) coming back home with a sunburn. Limit sun time by heading indoors for a little while, finding some shade, or covering up with clothes.
- Don’t avoid the sun (and the outdoors) altogether! Getting *some* rays (and Vitamin D) is a good thing.
Note: I did a lot of research on different sites, but this homemade sunscreen recipe was modified from this post on Wellnessmama.
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup shea butter
- 2 tablespoons almond oil
- 1 teaspoon Vitamin E oil
- 2 tablespoons. beeswax
- 2 tablespoons zinc oxide powder
- 1 teaspoon carrot seed oil
- 15-20 drops of essential oils of your choice (I used vanilla and peppermint) - optional **Note: avoid citrus essential oils, as they increase sensitvity to sun.
- Melt coconut oil, shea butter, almond oil, Vitamin E oil, and beeswax in a double boiler (I use a Pyrex measuring cup inside a shallow pan of water). Note: the beeswax will be the last to melt.
- When the mixture is melted, remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
- Carefully add zinc oxide powder, taking care to cover your nose and mouth so you don't inhale the dust. Mix thoroughly.
- Cool the mixture in the fridge for 15-30 minutes, until it starts to set up.
- Using a hand mixer, beat the mixture. Add carrot seed oil and any essential oils, if you're using themContinue beating til light and fluffy.
- Store in a dark glass container in the fridge between use.
Check out some of the pictures of the sunscreen-making process, from setting out the ingredients to melting the lotion base to whipping up the final product:
I felt much better about putting this sunscreen on my face before heading out for a day at the beach recently, and I’m happy to say that it did its job to protect me from getting a sunburn. In fact, my face was just fine, but I got a sunburn on my legs, where I’d used a 50 SPF spray. The sunscreen has a very different scent, which might take a little getting used to…especially if you equate sunscreen with pina colada scents…
Have you ever tried making your own sunscreen? I love mine!
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