There are few things that I enjoy as much as feeling the sun on my skin! I’m the happiest when it’s hot and sunny and could easily be living in eternal summer.
Besides being a huge mood booster, the sun is a great source of vitamin D which is essential for our health.
According to Dr. Mercola there are about 30,000 genes in our body and vitamin D affects nearly 3,000 of them. Sufficient vitamin D levels not only maintain optimal health, but also protect us against many diseases.
Dr. Mercola also explains there why sun exposure is the best way to get your vitamin D intake.
Of course safe sunlight awareness is essential, such as:
· Limiting sun exposure to the early morning and late afternoon when the sun isn’t at its strongest yet.
· Building up sun exposure gradually to give your skin the chance to get used to it.
· Being mindful about your skin type and adjusting your sun exposure accordingly.
· Protecting sensitive body parts by using safe sunscreen and wearing a hat.
· Drinking enough water to stay hydrated.
· Using the right type of sunscreen.
Most of us are familiar with these guidelines, but when it comes to sunscreen there is still a lot of contradicting information.
The problem is that many conventional sunscreens contain toxic ingredients. They don’t only block the UV rays, but can actually put your health in danger. This is because they use chemical filters such as oxybenzone and avobenzone that get absorbed into your system where they disrupt your hormones. They can cause all sorts of scary stuff including increasing your risk of developing skin cancer.
If you want to learn more about sunscreen, head over to Dr. Mercola’s sunscreen article. He’s amazing at explaining scientific stuff in a very understandable way and provides links to the research behind it.
In this blog post I will explain how to make a sunscreen that protects you without the use of questionable toxic ingredients.
The focus is on non-nano zinc oxide, which is a safe ingredient that blocks UVA and UVB light, carrot seed oil and coconut oil, which both offer natural SPF protection.
I discovered that I can use coconut oil for sun protection years ago sort of randomly. I was living in the Middle East then and one day we went to the beach with friends. It wasn’t even summer yet, but the sun can be really strong there even in spring time.
I had some coconut oil with me and applied a bit on my shoulders and back, but didn’t really take the time to spread it out evenly or ask someone to do it for me.
Later that day my back was tanned with in the middle a few long white traces of my fingers, there where I had applied the coconut oil.
It looked very strange and even slightly scary as if some little monster tried to grab me, but I learnt that day how coconut oil rocks at blocking out the sun.
Coconut oil by itself only offers light protection though, that’s why this homemade coconut oil zinc oxide sunscreen also contains other ingredients such as carrot seed oil.
It’s easy to make and pleasant to use.
Non-nano zinc oxide is a powdered mineral that blocks sun rays. It doesn’t get absorbed, but sits on top of your skin. It’s a safe ingredients that has been used in sunscreen for many years.
Why do you need non-nano zinc oxide and what does it even mean? A nano particle is so small that it is absorbed and ends up in your bloodstream. Some sunscreen brands use regular zinc oxide, since it’s thinner and doesn’t leave a white layer. But this means it penetrates into your skin and you don’t want that!
So make sure to always use or buy products with non-nano zinc oxide. Very important.
A few things to take into consideration if you’re deciding whether a homemade sunscreen is for you:
→ Generally with homemade sunscreen products the SPF will be an estimate, depending on how much you use of everything.
If you want to know exactly how much sun protection you’re getting, I advice you to buy some of the organic, natural sunscreen brands out there.
→ If you burn easily or plan to be in the sun for extended periods, you might also want to consider using a store-bought natural sunscreen.
I can only say what works for myself as someone who doesn’t burn easily and who is very mindful about my sun exposure.
I always build it up slowly and avoid the hottest times of the day.
My skin is very used to the sun, as I lived in tropical climates for over 12 years.
Keep in mind that every skin type is different. This homemade coconut oil zinc oxide sunscreen is suitable for light to moderate sun exposure for skin that is used to the sun or skin with a naturally darker complexion.
A bit about the SPF amounts in this sunscreen recipe:
Coconut oil has an SPF of minimum 4.
Carrot seed oil has an SPF of minimum 35.
Shea butter has an SPF of minimum 4.
Non-nano zinc oxide has an SPF of minimum 2 and up to 20, depending on how much you use.
I don’t know the exact SPF amounts as there are different sources claiming different numbers.
Some say that coconut oil has an SPF of 10.
I’m rather keeping the numbers low and give you the minimum.
Personally, I use what works for me. I’m less interested in numbers, more in actual results, where health and safety come first.
A very pleasant ingredient in this sunscreen recipe is vitamin E; a powerful antioxidant that protects against UV damage while moisturizing the skin.
There are other ingredients you can use as well such as raspberry seed oil which has an SPF of up between 25-50 according to The Wellness Mama. She has her own sunscreen recipe and instructions that you can check out here.
Her sunscreen includes beeswax, if you want a vegan option, you can easily replace it with candelilla wax.
1 cup organic virgin coconut oil
1 cup raw shea butter
20 drops carrot seed oil
1 tbsp vitamin E oil
1 tbsp non-nano zinc oxide
Melt the shea butter and coconut oil au bain marie in a bowl placed in a pan with shimmering water on low heat.
The shea butter needs more time, so start with melting it first and then add the coconut oil.
Once they’re both fully melted, remove the bowl from the heat and let it cool off.
Mix in the zinc oxide.
Important: make sure not to inhale any of it. You might want to cover your nose and mouth or wear a mask.
Also be careful not to get any into your eyes.
Once everything is mixed well, pour into a glass jar or container of choice.
This recipe is a light formula and turns liquid when it’s hot. If you want to make it thicker, you can add some candelilla wax to it.
I personally like a liquid consistency – just make sure you store it in a container that doesn’t leak!
Store your homemade coconut oil zinc oxide sunscreen in a cool, dry place or in the fridge.
Note: Keep in mind that this sunscreen is not waterproof and needs to be applied regularly, especially when you go swimming or sweat a lot.
Read more about my experience with toxin-free living here.