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Best Natural Sunscreen Recipes
Learn how to make your own natural sunscreen for face and body easily and in just a few minutes! It’s effective, cheap and completely safe!
Read on to find out why sunscreens are necessary, which sunscreens are better then others, why you should prefer natural sunscreens over chemical ones and which are the best homemade natural sunscreen recipes for face, body and hair!
Is Sunscreen Really Necessary?
Sunscreen – also commonly known as sun screen, sunblock, suntan lotion, sunburn cream, sun cream or block out – is the principal means of preventing premature aging and skin cancer. Sunscreens are widely available products that are considered necessary all year round and become indispensable during the summer months. They prevent the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation – UVA and UVB – from reaching the skin and damaging it.
Excessive exposure to the sun is known to be associated with increased risks of various skin cancers, cataracts and other eye diseases, as well as accelerated skin ageing (photoaging). It may also adversely affect people’s ability to resist infectious diseases and compromise the effectiveness of vaccination programs.
On the other hand, solar radiation doesn’t have only a negative impact on the skin, it also has some positive effects. Artificial or solar UV-radiation is required for the cutaneous synthesis of vitamin D, that covers approximately 90% of the vitamin D-requirements of the human body. Therefore, lack of UV-exposure is associated with an increased risk to develop vitamin D-deficiency.
Several human skin diseases, like psoriasis, vitiligo, atopic dermatitis and localized scleroderma, can be treated with solar radiation (heliotherapy) or artificial UV radiation (phototherapy). UV exposure can suppress the clinical symptoms of multiple sclerosis independently of vitamin D synthesis. Furthermore, UV generates nitric oxide (NO), which may reduce blood pressure and generally improve cardiovascular health. UVA-induced NO may also have antimicrobial effects and furthermore, act as a neurotransmitter. Finally, UV exposure may improve mood through the release of endorphins.
The Dangers of Chemical Sunscreens
Although sunscreens are necessary, there is some evidence that sunscreen use can contribute to negative health outcomes. The most common sunscreens on the market contain potentially dangerous ingredients that can pose a risk to human health, like hormone disruptions, skin allergies and even cancer.
According to research from the EWG: Our review…shows that some sunscreen ingredients absorb into the blood, and some have toxic effects. Some release skin-damaging free radicals in sunlight, some act like estrogen and disrupt hormones, and several can cause allergic reactions and skin irritation. The FDA has not established rigorous safety standards for sunscreen ingredients.
4 different studies conducted in the 1990’s indicated a higher risk of malignant melanoma among individuals who used the most sunscreen!
The Natural Solution
Our approach to sunscreen use should be somewhere in the middle: no reckless use of sunscreen products but moderate use of medium protection natural sunscreens which will protect the skin from the sun’s negative effects while at the same time allowing for some of the sun rays to come in contact with our skin, so that we can reap their beneficial effects. Besides sunscreen, we should also use sun protection apparel like hats, sun glasses, clothing.
You can use a chemical-free natural sunscreen to protect your skin from dangerous UV rays. By making your own all-natural sunscreen, you control exactly what goes in! Homemade sunscreens are safe, easy and cost effective.
The following natural sunscreen recipes use oils that filter the harmful sunrays and offer satisfying sun protection. Nevertheless, if you are extremely sensitive to sun radiation, probably due the extended use of high protection sunscreen products, you will have to gradually return to normal UV radiation sensitivity levels and, by the middle of summer, to start using natural sunscreens. For example, if you started using a SPF 30 sunscreen, then after 7-15 days you should switch to a 20 SPF sunscreen, then to a 12 SPF sunscreen and finally start using sunscreens with natural sun protection filters.
Why You Should Use Natural Sunscreens
Research has found that some natural oils contain sunscreen filters that protect the skin from the damaging UV radiation and sunburns. At the same time, their emollient properties protect the skin against the drying effects of exposure to wind and sun.
SPF may fluctuate in vegetable oils depending on geographical area the plant is grown in, the season it’s harvested, and fluctuations of plant biochemistry between batches. The SPF values found for nonvolatile oils were in between 2 and 50, and for volatile oils in between 1 and 7.
SPF values for nonvolatile oils
- Red Raspberry Seed Oil SPF 28 – 50 (depending on the oil’s quality). 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 SPF 30 – 40. It should not be applied neat to the skin. However, even when diluted down to 2% in a carrier oil, it still has a high SPF rating.
- Wheat Germ Oil SPF 20. In a study published in “Pharmacognosy Magazine” in 2009, a sunscreen comprised of wheatgerm and vitamin E had a natural SPF rating of 20.
- Non-GMO Soybean Oil SPF 10
- Avocado Oil SPF 4 – 10 (can get as high as 15)
- Olive Oil SPF 8
- Coconut Oil SPF 8
- Macadamia Oil SPF 6
- Shea Butter SPF 3 – 6
- Almond Oil SPF 5
- Castor Oil SPF 5
- Mustard Oil SPF 3
- Chaulmoogra oil SPF 3
- Sesame Seed Oil SPF 2-4
- Hemp Seed Oil SPF 6
- Jojoba Oil SPF 5
SPF values for volatile oils (essential oils)
These oils are too harsh to be applied directly to the skin, so you must dilute them first before using as a sunscreen — just a few drops of essential oil added to another vegetable oil will increase the overall SPF rating of your natural sunscreen.
- Peppermint Oil SPF 7
- Tulsi Oil SPF 7
- Lavender Oil SPF 6
- Orange Oil SPF 4
- Eucalyptus Oil SPF 3
- Tea Tree Oil SPF 2
- Rose Oil SPF 1
You can use these oils to create your own natural sunscreen or just use one of the following natural sunscreen recipes. Just know that when you combine ingredients with different SPF factors, it may be hard to predict the end result. Also, keep in mind that most plant oils protect only against UVB rays. Use caution or mix with the zinc oxide sunscreen formula described below.
Best Natural Sunscreen Recipe (for Face and Body)
This sunscreen lotion is one of the best natural sunscreens you can use. It combines almost all of the properties that are necessary for complete and balanced skin sun protection.
Red raspberry seed oil and coconut oil protect from UV radiation.
Olive oil prevents skin dehydration and lightly darkens the skin, while protecting it at the same time.
Rich in vitamin E, wheat germ oil nourishes the skin and offers protection from UV radiation.
Sesame oil and sunflower oil protect the skin from UV radiation.
Calendula oil prevents and heals skin burns.
Clover extract reduces skin’s sensitivity to UVB rays and acts as a protecting agent.
Aloe Vera gel soothes the skin in cases of sun exposure, prevents sun burn and decreases pigmentation and dark spots. Studies have found that pure Aloe Vera gel has an SPF of 20.
Zinc oxide physically works to provide 28 times the skin’s natural protections against harmful UVA & UVB rays and has a great soothing effect.
Natural sunscreen ingredients:
- 2 tbsp red raspberry seed oil
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp wheat germ oil
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- 2tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp calendula oil
- 2 tbsp clover oil or clover extract
- 3 tbsp natural aloe vera gel
- 2 tbsp pure zinc oxide
How to make natural sunscreen:
Heat the oils in a double boiler until melted. Remove from heat and place them into a bowl (that you don’t use for food). Very carefully add in the zinc oxide, taking care not to breathe any in. Mix slowly and thoroughly, then add 2 tablespoons of fresh Aloe Vera gel and whisk the ingredients until well combined.
Generally, homemade sunscreens have a lower SPF than what you would probably buy in the store. The recipe above will yield a sunscreen with amedium-high SPF.
Moisturizer with Sunscreen
If you want your favorite moisturizing cream to have sunblock properties, all you need to do is to add to it one tablespoon of the above sunscreen lotion or, if you make your own moisturizing cream, to replace the regular oils you use with this sunscreen lotion.
During the first week of using the moisturizer with sunscreen, you should avoid sun exposure for more than 20-30 minutes per day. Start with 10 minutes in the first 2-3 days then gradually increase the time to 20-30 minutes.
How to Apply Your Natural Sunscreen
If you want to use both sunscreen and moisturizing cream, you have two choices: either apply the moisturizing cream combined with natural sunscreen, as described above or, if you are using them as two separate products, first apply the moisturizing cream (preferably a lightweight, liquid formula) and after 5 minutes proceed with applying the sunscreen. The last cream to apply on your skin should always be the sunscreen.
If you want to apply a light makeup on top of the sunscreen, it is likely that you will remove part of the sunscreen layer you just applied on your face. To avoid that, try to apply the makeup with gentle patting movements, without rubbing.
Sunscreen powders should be applied with extreme care in order to offer the right sunscreen protection. Use a powder brush (not a sponge) and apply a very light dusting of powder over your moisturized face and over makeup (don’t forget your neck and chest!).
Be sure to take all the same precautions against sun exposure, whether you’re using a store bought formula or one that’s homemade. This includes applying sunscreen at least 20 minutes before heading outside, seeking shade when possible, avoiding the sun’s peak hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and reapplying the product after you sweat or swim.
Always use an after sun lotion, which will rehydrate the skin and assist the skin repair process.
More Homemade Natural Sunscreen Recipes with Natural Oils
Natural Sunscreen for Face
- 5 tbsp organic jojoba oil
- 3 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tbsp organic, unrefined shea butter
- 1 tbsp beeswax
- 7 tbsp strong Indian tea
- 1 tbsp pure zinc oxide
Warm up the sesame oil and the coconut oil in a double boiler until they melt completely. Remove from heat and add in the zinc oxide and the cold Indian tea. Mix well and store in a bottle.
Natural Sunscreen for Body
- 2 tbsp beeswax
- 6 tbsp tahini (sesame paste)
- 5 tbsp coconut oil
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp pure zinc oxide
- 3 drops of peppermint essential oil or lavender essential oil (whichever you prefer)
Warm up the beeswax, the tahini, the coconut oil and the olive oil in a double until melted and combined. Remove from heat and add in the zinc oxide and the essential oil. Whisk thoroughly and then carefully pour into container of your choice.
Natural Sunscreen for Hair
- 20 grams of fresh rosemary leaves
- 7 bay laurel leaves
- 1 tsp flax seed
- 50 ml wheat germ oil
- 50 ml wheat olive oil
- 50 ml wheat sesame oil
Place all the ingredients in a large glass bowl, mix them and leave them in direct sunlight for a week. After the time is up, remove the herbs from the oil with the help of a strainer. Place the oil in a portable container of your choice.
This natural sunscreen oil can also be used overnight as a deep conditioning treatment for dry and damaged hair.
Sources for this article include:
“Oils of Nature”, Anthony J. O’Lenick, Jr. David C. Steinberg Kenneth Klein Carter LaVay, Allured Business Media, 2007
Kaur CD, Saraf S. In vitro sun protection factor determination of herbal oils used in cosmetics. Phcog Res [serial online] 2010 [cited 2014 Aug 5];2:22-5. Available from: http://www.phcogres.com/text.asp?2010/2/1/22/60586