Natural Homemade Sunscreen (ALL natural)

Contributor: Woman China Woman China
Well, it's me Woman again.

Yesterday (my yesterday, your two days ago or something like that, ruddy time zones), I posted about making your own lip chap. It was then I realised that I should have included some information about some of the oils mentioned (like coconut and shea butter), actually have a natural SPF.

And since over here in Inner Mongolia we are starting our summer early this year (got a tan yesterday BOYAH!!!!), something should be posted about some natural ways to protect our skin rather than using a store bought chemically loaded sun screen.

So. Here it goes...
I just simply copied and pasted this whole section from this website link

Natural Sunscreen
By Jennifer of Hybrid Rasta Mama

There is a lot of debate about sunscreen, its effectiveness, and more recently, it’s potential to actually increase our chances of developing skin cancer. Yes, that’s right. Studies are showing that sunscreens are not all they are cracked up to be. I could get into this topic here, but instead, I would like to direct your attention to a wonderful article which succinctly outlines why sunscreen may indeed cause cancer. You can find it here link. You can also read a little further to learn why sunlight actually prevents cancer by clicking here link. And to further enlighten you, here is one more article which outlines the pros and cons of sunscreen and sun exposure link.

An important factor in preventing skin damage of any kind from too much sun exposure is understanding your skin type and your resulting SPF needs. Here is a quick breakdown:

Type 1 skin burns and freckles but never tans. If you’re red haired with blue or gray eyes, you may fit into this category and should use a sunscreen with the highest SPF rating.
Type 2 eventually develops a tan but always burns after 20 to 30 minutes in the sun. Type 2s are light blondes with blue or green eyes and should stick to a high SPF (45) sunscreen.
Skin cancer occurrence drops drastically at Type 3. People with this skin usually have dark blond or light brown hair and blue, green or brown eyes. They can develop a dark tan but will burn moderately, so should begin with a high SPF (30) sunscreen and gradually work down.
Type 4 is naturally dark complected, has brown hair and eyes and always tans dark brown. Still, they can burn minimally and should start tanning with an SPF of 15 and work down.
With Middle Eastern or Latin American ancestry, Type 5 hardly ever burns but should use a slight sunscreen of SPF 4.
Type 6, with black hair and dark skin, usually never burns but should play it safe with a sunscreen of SPF 4.

Here is an expert from a report in the Canada Medical Association Journal by Dr. Ralph Douglas Wilkinson entitled, “The Xerotic Nephrologist.” This is some pretty interesting information regarding proper care of the skin before sun exposure:

"Homo erectus existed for over a million years using the cool-water,no-soap system. The earth’s general fauna still use this system,which removes sweat without disturbing the waxy barrier. Housing and clothing have afforded us much protection, and our lipid layer has become somewhat expendable. Human sebum has a tendency to oxidize to a brownish hue, muchlike earwax. It is the “ring around the collar.” Sebum has a sunblock action estimated to be about SPF 6–8. Its removal may lead to cleaner collars, but it leaves the skin at higherrisk for sun damage.The sun can cause skin damage on bald spots, which are sebumpoor. The incidence of skin cancer on the head and face is high in North America. So is the use of soap and shampoo. Are they causally related? Sun damage in the child may be more severe than in the adult. Is this due in part to the absence of sebumin the preadolescent?My advice: wash with cool water, minimize or eliminate the use of soap, and wear a hat! - Ralph Douglas Wilkinson

So after reading the links and information above you are pretty convinced that sunscreen and sunblocks are not the way to go. Other than gradual sun exposure and protective clothing, what can you do to protect delicate skin on those days where you will be out in the sun a lot? There are a lot of natural, healthier sunscreen and sunblock products that are not as chemically laden as other. For a comprehensive review of natural sunscreens, read this great post.

There is also another alternative and quite frankly the most natural one of all. Natural oils in their purest form. Certain natural oils offer SPF protection from the sun that is better than protection found in any commercially produced sunscreen. Combine one or more of these oils and you have created a divine concoction of safe sun protection that anyone in your family can confidently use. Here is a list of the natural oils that can be used as sunscreens:

Red Raspberry Seed Oil - Red Raspberry seeds contain high levels of omega 3 and omega 6 essential fatty acids in addition to antioxidants and natural vitamin E. According to Anthony J. O’Lenick, author of “Oils of Nature,” red raspberry seed oil has a natural SPF between 28 and 50 and may also contain clinically significant anti-inflammatory properties.

Carrot Seed Oil - Carrot seed oil is an essential oil with significant antioxidant, antiseptic, antifungal and fragrant properties with high levels of vitamin A. When applied topically to the skin in the form of a diluted carrier oil, carrot seed oil also provides natural sun protection. According to a study published in “Pharmacognosy Magazine” in 2009, products containing carrot seed oil have a natural SPF of 38 and 40.

Wheatgerm Oil - Wheatgerm is one of the best sources of natural vitamin E and is also a good source of vitamin K, B vitamins and choline. When applied to the skin, wheatgerm oil helps to moisturize tissues and acts as an antioxidant to prevent free radical damage. In a study published in “Pharmacognosy Magazine” in 2009, a sunscreen comprised of wheatgerm and vitamin E had a natural SPF rating of 20.

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Contributor: GingerAnn GingerAnn
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Contributor: Woman China Woman China
And the post continues....

Soybean Oil - Soybeans are a nutritious and cost-effective addition to sunscreen.ripe soybeans image by Carbonbrain from Fotolia.comSoybeans originally come from China and are a rich source of essential fatty acids, protein, lecithin, iron and calcium in the diet. When used topically on the skin, soybean oil is a cost-effective moisturizer compared to other oils and has a natural SPF of 10.

Macadamia Oil - Macadamia nuts provide vitamins, minerals and antioxidant fatty acids.Macadamia Nuts and Shell image by MrGreenBug from Fotolia.comMacadamia nuts are native to Australia though most of the world’s supply comes from Hawaii. Good sources of magnesium, iron, phosphorous, potassium and vitamin E, the oil from Macadamia nuts also contains a natural plant chemical called cinnamic acid which provides a variable SPF level of 6.

Jojoba Oil - Jojoba is a desert shrub effective for treating eczema, psoriasis and dry skin.desert plants image by Carol Tomalty from The oil of jojoba is effective as a moisturizer for dry skin and contains a natural plant chemical called myristic acid which provides some limited sun protection. Jojoba oil has a low SPF of 4.

Other Oils - A variety of vegetable oils such as olive and sesame contain low SPF protection. Other natural plant oils with low SPF levels include sea buckthorn oil, sesame seed oil, shea butter, coconut oil, olive oil and hemp seed oil. In addition, green tea extract provides antioxidant polyphenols with low to moderate SPF protection. These oils and extracts are all great additions to any homemade, natural sunscreen.

If you are not convinced of your own ability to properly prepare a homemade sunscreen from natural oils, I suggest that you look into one of my favorite products: Purple Prairie Sun Stuff. Their line of sun protectants is made from the above mentioned natural oils without any other additives. It is as natural as it gets and the price is awesome!

And now back to me... Woman...

Because these were not listed in the article and since many people are using more natural and homemade oils for skin care:

Shea Butter: Solid at cooler temperatures, it melts when comes into contact with the body and absorbs quickly without leaving greasy feeling. There are antioxidants, vitamins A and E and contains a natural SPF 6-8 factors.

Coconut Oil – Coconut oil has an amazing ability to heal the skin and block the damaging effects of UV radiation from the sun with a natural SPF factor of 4- 10 (studies have proven 4 but some claim as high as 10).

So when making your body butters, lip care products don't forget to add in some of these oils to protect your skin from the sun naturally!!!

Dr. Mercola: link

Mind Body Green: link

NCBI: link
Contributor: bog bog
Wow! I've never heard of this before! Are these oils very oily? I can't imagine covering my whole body in cooking oil if I'm out in the sun. Not for the face, either, right? Wouldn't it clog pores in people susceptible to acne? I hate the smell of chemical sunscreen and would love a natural alternative!
Contributor: Woman China Woman China
I find the hardest part of using natural oils on my face and body is learning just how much is right for me.

I love taking my coconut oil and whipping it with the beater till it is fluffy, and I also add in some shea butter as well. I use it as my daily lotion body and face with no negative effects and actually find my skin is less oily and has less break outs, my skin tone is much more even and more youthful looking.

Some people on the other hand, find that continual use of coconut oil dries out their skin and causes some acne to form.

Your skin naturally produces oil that most people strip away with soap and replace with lotion. The natural oil our skin produces has an SPF factor of 6-8 which we simply wash off with with harsh chemicals. I've uber oily skin and have had acne problems for years (various types of acne) and found that using oils to clean my face and deep clean and then used instead of a lotion actually makes my skin more manageable. And gets rid of the black stuff in my pores around my nose. Using oils as a natural sun screen in my opinion only makes more sense to aid in my skin care health. (check out the oil cleaning method link for more info on using oils to solve many skin issues).

Once I have my base tan up and running (the first few days of baking in the sun I will use sun screen), I will begin to lather up in coconut oil only as I find my skin responds better to it. For me, I find that using the coconut oil as a mild sun protector, my skin drinks it up and my skin stay more hydrated without leaving a oily film on my skin like commercial tanning oils.

I work with oils regularly and find that some are more "heavy" than others. I've not used all the oils that were mentioned in the article, but the regular ones I have used are olive oil, coconut oil and shea butter. I do find that the coconut oil is my personal favourite when playing in the sun as it is a lighter oil and adsorbs the quickest, shea butter is a little more difficult to use as it is a harder oil to spread over skin unless mixed with a softer oil but is quick absorbing and doesn't leave any sticky mess, and olive oil is my last pick for sun play. Simply because you have to rub more to work it into your skin (however; put it on your ends to reduce sun damaged split ends!!!!).

What I plan to do personally if I ever get my hands on some of the more exotic oils mentioned (raspberry seed oil and carrot seed oil) is make a lotion bar with coconut oil, cocoa butter (it's a seriously hard and brittle with a high melting point keeps the bar in one shape longer), shea butter and some raspberry seed oil and some lavender essential oil for my personal sun protection. But I doubt I'll ever be able those two oils here... but I wish my wishes were horses!

Most people I know who have used natural oils as sun screen and as lotions are extremely happy with the results; younger looking skin, brighter skin, even complexion, less trouble spots etc... there are some people who find that they just cannot break free from store bought items and all it is... is giving it a go and see what happens!
Contributor: GONE! GONE!
This is really interesting, thanks for sharing! I think I should try some of this stuff since regular chemical-filled sunscreen doesn't seem to work well on me anyway.
Contributor: js250 js250
Thanks for the info and post!!! I am going to start using a couple of these ideas--the chemical sunscreens are too much for my skin and makes it impossibly oily....Hugs, you are a genius!!!
Contributor: bog bog
Originally posted by Woman China
I find the hardest part of using natural oils on my face and body is learning just how much is right for me.

I love taking my coconut oil and whipping it with the beater till it is fluffy, and I also add in some shea butter as well. I use it ...
Thanks for the info! I definitely find my hair is more manageable and looks better when washed less frequently. I will try coconut oil on my skin. I use it for cooking all the time, so I always have some in the house!
Contributor: Chilipepper Chilipepper
I'm a little confused on what needs to be done. As a Type 1 (and okay with never being able to tan) what about use of oils as pure sunblock with no desire to eventually tan? Is it just slathering red raspberry and carrot seed oils on exposed skin a few times a day? (Although carrot seed oil needs a carrier oil ... perhaps jojoba ... )

I'd really like to go this route, but want to do it the right way.
Contributor: Woman China Woman China
The majority of natural sun screens start working upon application (I've never come across which oils/minerals exactly begin work immediately, I am looking though). Zinc oxide is the only one that is certain to begin working immediately, there is a plethora of information found on this.

This is the best I can do right now to answer your question:

If you live in a climate that is cool during the winter, you probably do not get much exposure to sunlight for a good part of the year. If you’ve been indoors for six months and immediately go out in your swimsuit on a sunny day, your skin will be very sensitive to the sun even if you put coconut oil on. You need to “season” your skin before spending too much time in the sun at the beginning of summer. The way you season your skin is to rub a thin layer of coconut oil over all your uncovered skin, go in to the sun for 15-30 minutes, just long enough for your skin to become faintly pink, but no longer. Repeat this process in the next day or two, staying out five or 10 minutes longer. Repeat again staying out a little longer each time. After about two weeks or so, your skin will be seasoned enough to stay outdoors for hours with a single coating of coconut oil.

Reference Sobhana, T., et al. Ultraviolet transmission through a few edible oils in the context of changing solar insolation. J Ind Geophys Union 2004;8:267-271.

I cannot find any other sciencey information to back up an answer to your question, but from my own personal experience.

I have darker skin all the year long, and I rarely if ever get burned, so this might not help you too much. I apply coconut oil to my skin, about every hour or so, and after toweling off from swimming. My sister and her kids have very fair skin, and she doesn't worship the sun like I do, but she applies coconut oil every hour or so, and never lays out in the sun, always sticking to the shade. She does get a tan (but then again, we usually vacation together in the tropics) doing this. However; for the first few days of the vacation, I use link this on my face, neck and upper chest. My sister and kids use this product as well for the first few days of sun exposure to get our skin accustomed safely to the sun.

If you have type one skin, you can actually "eat" to help avoid sun burns:
-lots of healthy saturated fats
-lots of foods rich in omega-3s (fish, etc)
-lots of leafy greens
-2+ tablespoons of tomato paste daily

Hopefully this will help, and I will continue to look and poke around for an answer to your question. I am looking at testing out and making a natural sun screen body butter/ lotion bar that would be approx SPF 20+ and applied following regular old fashioned store bought sun screen. But I've not used it yet, so do not feel comfortable sharing it till it has been tested out.
Contributor: Chilipepper Chilipepper
Thanks, Woman, especially for the diet recommendation. And I hope your lotion bar experiment works out.
Contributor: Woman China Woman China
Thanks Chilli! I will have to wait for a day to go out to the desert to check out if it works or not or just wait till I go far south again.

We get sun up here in Inner Mongolia, but never really enough to cause any sort of burn or proper tan which makes me sad.
Contributor: HoneyBear69 HoneyBear69
that's neat
Contributor: spiced spiced
Wow! Thanks for this. I get a lot of sun and can't stand chemical sunscreens. I will have to try this.
Contributor: FieryRed FieryRed
This is some fantastic information, thank you! I'm a redhead, probably a type 1.5 or 2. I'll look into getting some carrot seed oil, and will come back to report on my results!
Contributor: Woman China Woman China

Me, Woman, again bringing you some more information.

I was talking to a dermatologist the other day who basically said that although he strongly supports the DIY homemade skin care, no one is really all that certain about DIY sun care protection.

So, I thought I should come over here and post you all some articles as to why DIY sun care for skin care might not be a good idea. And although they have some interesting points in the articles, I still question using commercial sun block. But fair is fair after all, and I felt I should post the opposite side of the argument.

Allure: link

Discover Fit & Health: link

Huffington Post: link

And now... from one of my favourite more natural health guru: Doctor Mercola on sun exposure and why we need it: link . Yes, I included this article because I find it interesting and valuable to this sun exposure thread.

Bottom line when it comes down to it... do what feels safest for you to do. Our skin is the largest organ we have and we need to protect it and being in the sun helps us to protect it. But is commercial sun screen the only questionable safe item we have to protect it? The only answer is, it is up to you.

Some links to some recipes if you are interested, I plan of testing out both at some point this summer:

link (I love this website!!!)

If you've any questions, please feel free to drop them here.
Contributor: SourAppleMartini SourAppleMartini
Very interesting, but for me it is hard to believe that any oil can offer a stable sun protection. I wish it was true though, because I am allergic to most commercial sunscreens.
Contributor: Aishiteru Aishiteru
Awesome tips. I look forward to trying some of them.
Contributor: FieryRed FieryRed
Originally posted by SourAppleMartini
Very interesting, but for me it is hard to believe that any oil can offer a stable sun protection. I wish it was true though, because I am allergic to most commercial sunscreens.
Well, I'll let you know within a month or so! I burn very easily, so I'll be a good test subject.
Contributor: Woman China Woman China
YAY!!! Please let us know how the sunscreen bars work!!!

I whipped up a few "lotion" bars and have been using them. The oils I use have a natural SPF factor, but since I've naturally darker skin, I don't know for sure how they work.
Contributor: rosythorn rosythorn
Can someone test this? I m still afraid to lather on some soybean oil and go to the beach. Since everyone uses mineral oil here to cook their skin.
Contributor: FieryRed FieryRed
Getting ready to order that "Purple Prairie Sun Stuff"--it has great reviews on the site, and is based on zinc oxide but apparently doesn't show on skin once rubbed in. Great products on their site, and sample sizes too!