What’s the issue with sunscreen?
As we all know, over exposure to UVA rays can cause us to develop skin cancer, encourage early ageing, and cause unsightly blemishes. However, more and more studies are beginning to reveal disturbing results showing that many sunscreens contain toxic chemicals that can actually promote skin cancer growth!
The Huffington Post reported that, “Almost half of the 500 most popular sunscreen products may actually increase the speed at which malignant cells develop and spread skin cancer because they contain vitamin A or its derivatives”.
We felt this was something worth investigating, and resolving, by looking at natural alternatives.
It wasn’t just the question of skin cancer that raised a red flag when looking into the negative effects of sunscreens, it is evident that many contain Oxybenzone. This chemical is not recommended for use on children as it is known to disrupt the formation of hormones in the body.
If you add to this that Vitamin D, or, the Sunshine Vitamin as it has become known as, is essential to the body’s hormone development (plus has extensive health attributes when you have sufficient intake) and that wearing high factor sun creams prevents the absorption of said vitamin preventing your body from taking the essential benefits from the sun’s rays.
Certain chemicals used in sunscreens are able to actually get into your body via the cream…this means that you are actually taking these chemicals into your bloodstream without even knowing it. Imagine the risks to a child’s health! The worst part is that this is currently not a regulated issue!
You can start to see a pattern forming as to why certain commercial sunscreens may be detrimental to our health.
What can we do?
Take Cover: Being outside on a sunny day doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be in full sunlight and exposing yourself to some nasty sunburn; wear a hat, a loose cotton long-sleeved shirt, sit under a tree or an umbrella. Simple.
Try a Natural Sunscreen: When you feel like you’ve absorbed enough vitamin D for the day (around ten minutes directly on to your skin) and it’s not easy to find some shade, we suggest opting for a natural remedy…
Are natural or home remedies a safe option?
It has been argued that a homemade sunscreen is dangerous because (unless you have a lab in your basement) you can’t be sure of the level of sun protection factor in your cream. It’s not going to be as accurate as a commercial cream and so it is reported that you are at risk.
However, if you are responsible in the sun, understand your own skin tone and moderate your exposure, we think you have enough common sense to figure it out!
Natural Ingredients containing SPF: It is marvellous to know that Mother Nature literally gave us all we need to survive on this beautiful planet of ours, so why we insist on rubbing unnatural mixtures of chemical compounds all over our bodies just because some big brand tells us we are worth it, I will never know! These easily sourced ingredients all contain their very own sun protection factor…Carrot Seed Oil: SPF 35, Red Raspberry Seed Oil: SPF 25-50, Zinc oxide: SPF 2-20, Coconut Oil: SPF 5, Shea Butter: SPF 5. (All SPF are an approximation).
How do I make my own?
We have scoured many recipes and come up with a list of our favourites based on – ingredients being easily sourced, uncomplicated methods, a good level of SPF, cost, environmental impact, fragrance and texture, and most importantly, a reliable source.
Please note that you must purchase a good quality Zinc Oxide (non-nano, uncoated and not micronised, specifically), this means that there will not be tiny chemical particles entering your body when you apply the cream. The non-nano type will assist in creating a thicker more butter-like cream which blends into your skin beautifully.
Supplies / Ingredients
- Bain Marie- place a glass bowl over a simmering pot of shallow water.
- Kitchen Scale – digital.
- Face Mask (or hold your shirt over your mouth…you do not want to breathe in the zinc oxide, so make sure little ones aren’t around when you make this)
- Containers for your cream
- 90g Coconut Oil– Organic, unrefined & virgin is best
- 65g Carrier Oil– e.g. apricot oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, or any other liquid carrier oil.
- 28.5g Beeswax
- 27.5g Shea Butter – Organic, unrefined.
- 40g Zinc Oxide – Non-nano, uncoated
- 1/2tsp Vitamin E – make sure you know from where it is sourced (& non-GMO), especially if you have allergies.
- Place your glass bowl on your scale, press tare.
- Add all ingredients (one-by-one, pressing tare in between) EXCEPT the zinc oxide, which you add at the end.
- Place glass bowl over pot of shallow, slightly simmering H2O. Melt ingredients completely (stir with a whisk to help it along).
- Carefully remove from stove and wipe down condensation on bowl (you do not want drips getting into your product).
- Place bowl on scale, hit tare.
- Add zinc oxide, slowly (as the zinc settles the amount will increase on your scale) until you get to 40g.
- Whisk, whisk, whisk (and whisk some more!) and then carefully pour into container of your choice.
- This will take a few minutes to set.
- 10 drops lavender
- 1 tbsp pomegranate oil
- 3/4 Cup coconut oil
- 2 tbsp Zinc Oxide
- 2 tbsp shea butter
- Glass Jar
- Combine all ingredients, except zinc oxide, in a jar.
- Place a saucepan with 2 inches of water on stove over medium/low heat.
- Place jar in saucepan and stir contents until ingredients start to melt.
- Once all ingredients are combined, add in zinc oxide and stir well. Store in a cool place.
- ½ cup almond or olive oil (can infuse with herbs first if desired)
- ¼ cup coconut oil (natural SPF 4)
- ¼ cup beeswax
- 2 Tablespoons Zinc Oxide (This is a non-nano version that won’t be absorbed into the skin. Be careful not to inhale the powder).
- Up to 1 teaspoon Red Raspberry Seed Oil– optional
- Up to 1 teaspoon Carrot Seed Oil– optional
- 2 tablespoons Shea Butter (natural SPF 4-5)- optional
- Optional: Essential Oils, Vanilla Extract or other natural extracts to suit your preference (do not use citrus essential oils as they increase sun sensitivity)
- Combine ingredients (except zinc oxide) in a pint-sized or larger glass jar. I have a mason jar that I keep just for making lotions and lotion bars, or you can even reuse a glass jar from pickles, olives, or other foods.
- Fill a medium saucepan with a couple inches of water and place over medium heat.
- Put a lid on the jar loosely and place in the pan with the water.
- As the water heats, the ingredients in the jar will start to melt. Shake or stir occasionally to incorporate. When all ingredients are completely melted, add the zinc oxide, stir in well and pour into whatever jar or tin you will use for storage.
- Small mason jars (pint-size) are great for this.
- Stir a few times as it cools to make sure zinc oxide is incorporated.
- Store at room temperature
This sunscreen is not waterproof and will need to be reapplied after sweating or swimming.
- Add more beeswax to make thicker sunscreen, less to make smooth sunscreen
- I recommend coconut or vanilla extract or lavender essential oils for fragrance
- Store in a cool, dry place or in the fridge
- I prefer to store in a small canning jar and apply like a body butter. It will be thicker, especially if you use coconut oil in the recipe.
- Remove the Zinc Oxide and this makes an excellent lotion recipe!
An Even Faster Way To Make Sunscreen
- Get a bottle of your favourite lotion (that does not contain citrus oils)
- Add a couple tablespoons of non-nano Zinc Oxide
- Mix well
Can I not just buy a good, natural sunscreen?
Here is a list of favourite brands, all being organic, non-toxic, and natural of course:
Step your game up with your own Skincare creations!
Here at The School of Natural Health Sciences we have a dedicated diploma correspondence course on Holistic Skincare Products which covers it all. From equipment and food additives to labeling and legislation. Not only will you have a fresh skill set and brand new career path, but you’ll take away tricks of the trade and top quality insider knowledge thanks to the course writer, Joy Picot, who has over 20 years experience in the field.
- Study from the comfort of your own home
- Choose to self-study or be tutored
- Say goodbye to deadlines and stress
- Forget heavy textbooks and costly commutes
- Benefit from our special pack deals
- Become a practitioner who makes a difference!
- View our full A-Z list of Holistic Therapy Courses