Natural beauty: DIY Non Toxic Sunscreen

August 4, 2015


It’s no longer a secret that among other things, sun exposure = wrinkles and cancer. And no one likes either.

So we’ve been told to avoid the sun at all costs; to lather up in the largest double digit SPF we could get our hands on and enjoy the summer months from the protection of this lotioned-up, protected shell. Fact? Well, as it turns out, it’s not as simple as that. The thing is, skin cancer rates following years of sunscreen PSAs have actually increased dramatically. In fact, every major public health authority has now concluded that sunscreen alone does not reduce the rate of skin cancer. So while sunscreens on the shelves (particularly in the United States) might block the sun, they do so with a slew of hormone disruptors  as well as potentially speeding up the development of skin cancer . So while you think you’re protecting your skin from the deadly sun rays, you’re actually exposing your skin, and body, to a whole mess of other chemicals that are no good–no good at all.

Oh, and what about those sunscreens touting SPF values of 110? It’s basically a scam, and the FDA is even considering prohibiting the sale of suncreens with an SPF of over 50, calling this practice inherently misleading.

It’s such a bummer though; summer is the best season of all, and being outside for the majority of it is the goal.

A great place to start is EWG’s sunscreen 2015 guide, which is beautifully done and easy to use. Kudos to EWG, like always, for having our backs.

I personally experimented with a few of EWG’s top rated, safest sunscreens that seemed to have the best reviews. Sadly, I wasn’t too impressed with any of them. Many are chalky and leave you white as a ghost after application, another few caused me to break out and have scaly, dry skin. Not ideal. But is the only alternative going back to the commercial stuff full of crap?

No way.

Make it yourself

I’ve been making my own skin care with various oils for a few years now and have been incredibly pleased with the results, so my thinking was- why not make my own sunscreen, too?

After a bit of tinkering, I’m happy to report this tweaked and re-tweaked sunscreen recipe is awesome. You can customize the SPF value as you desire, mix it as you wish; and best of all, it leaves no chalkiness and no breakouts. I’ve even started making it for my friends and family in cute little jars.

It’s absolutely easy to make (no more than 5 minutes) and you can order all the ingredients online. I’ve calibrated it to be about 20 SPF, but you can adjust up or down based on your preference.

DIY Non Toxic Sunscreen Recipe

You’ll need:

– 1 cup coconut oil (in case you haven’t heard, all around amazing for skin care with slight amount of natural SPF)

– 4 tablespoons non-nano zinc oxide powder (the packaging will have instructions on calibrating the SPF if you want to go over or under the 20 SPF in this recipe)

1 teaspoon Red Raspberry Seed oil (naturally high in SPF)

1 teaspoon Carrot Seed oil (naturally high in SPF, carotenoids enhance the body’s immune response to UV rays)

1 teaspoon vitamin E oil (our skin could always use more vitamin E)

Essential oil of choice- I like Rose oil but Lavender and Vanilla are other great options

Mix it up

With the exception of zinc oxide powder, mix together all of the ingredients in a glass jar. If the coconut oil is already melted, you can go ahead and stir in the powder right away. If the coconut oil is solid, cover the jar and submerse in hot water to melt the coconut oil, mix in the other oils, then stir in the zinc oxide powder. It mixes pretty easily, but try to stir thoroughly to eliminate small chunks.

Do note: this sunscreen is slightly but not entirely waterproof. So if you plan on swimming or sweating profusely, bring it with you and be sure to re-apply.

And remember, in addition to your all-natural sunscreen, be sure to wear a hat and try to stick to the shade as much as possible especially in the mid-day hours. All things you’ve heard before, but I figure repetition just might make it stick!

Also by Irina: 4 Things I Learned About Coping with Loss and Grief

More in Natural Beauty: DIY Deodorant Recipe

Detoxifying Sea Salt Body Scrub

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Photo: Kasia via Flickr

Irina is a fledgeling sādhaka (spiritual student), a lover of real, fresh-from-the-earth food and a travel junkie. After spending many years criss-crossing the world helping launch craft breweries, she now makes her home in lovely Minneapolis, where she splits her time running a custom travel planning company allé, teaching yoga, making friends with the vendors at the farmers market, and writing about her adventures and mis-adventures. Follow Irina on Instagram @alletravels.


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