This post and photography are courtesy of Nic Abraham.
SCHOOL’S OUT FOR SUMMER…and that means it’s sunscreen season! Even though our skin needs to be protected year round, this is especially true when the weather is warm. Sunscreen, which can also be called sunblock, is especially useful when the sun, our natural Vitamin D, is blazing and when we’re spending extended time under it. Even though everyone likes to get a tan now and then, sunburn is completely different and I’m sure no one wants to experience it. So, sunblock it is…but is it safe?
Some research suggests that conventional sunscreen can be just as dangerous or worse than sun exposure. While many doctors still recommend traditional sunscreen, some environmental groups believe it can be harmful to the body. Ingredients such as Oxybenzone was approved by the FDA in the 80s and was grandfathered-in, as it was already in use. It is also believed that Oxybenzone is easily absorbed into the body and can cause hormonal and reproductive issues. Not to mention, it wreaks havoc on ocean life. Other harmful chemicals include Avobenzone, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Homosalate, Octinoxate, Octisalate, and Octocrylene.
In an effort to keep our families safe, opting for a mineral sunscreen is the best option. Mineral solutions typically include Zinc Oxide and or Titanium Dioxide. Both of these compounds naturally protect against UVA and UVB rays. Mineral sunblock can also contain Essential Oils that naturally protect against the sun.
This sunscreen can be made at home with a few ingredients:
- Coconut Oil and Shea Butter are commonly used in natural lotions and moisturizers, and both have an SPF between 4-6.
- Almond Oil has an SPF similar to Coconut Oil and Shea Butter.
- Two oils with an uncommonly high SPF are Carrot Seed Essential Oils (with protection between 35-40) and Red Raspberry Seed Oils (SPF between 25-50).
- The SPF in Zinc Oxide depends on the amount used but is between 2-20. Titanium Dioxide can also be used.
- Essentials Oils are also a great addition to a homemade sunscreen. The best options are Lavender, Eucalyptus, or Peppermint. Skip the citrus oils as they are photosensitive.
Here’s the recipe Natural Mineral Sunscreen.
- ½ Cup of Almond Oil
- ¼ Cup Of Coconut Oil
- 2 TBSP Zinc Oxide
- 1 TSP of Red Raspberry Seed Oil
- 1 TSP of Carrot Seed Oil
- Optional: ¼ Cup of Beeswax
- Optional: 2 TBSP of Shea Butter
- Optional: Drops of Essential Oils
- Mix all ingredients (except zinc oxide) in a double boiler.
- Heat until melted and well mixed.
- Allow ingredients to cool just a little.
- Mix in zinc oxide and stir well.
- Store in a cool place or refrigerator.
Important things to remember:
- This recipe makes 10 servings.
- The sunscreen is good for six months.
- Must keep refrigerated or in a cool place.
- This sunscreen needs to immediately be reapplied after sweating and swimming.
Already sunburnt? Aloe Vera is great for your skin and is a recommended treatment for sunburn according to the American Academy of Dermatology. This healing remedy can be found in preservative-free soothing gels.
If you’re on the go and need to grab some sunscreen, opt for a natural one. Alba Botanica offers a sensitive mineral sunscreen (SPF 30) that’s water resistant, reef safe and biodegradable. It is also free of gluten, animal testing, artificial colors, synthetic fragrances, Parabens, Phthalates, harmful Sulfates, Oxybenzone, and Octinoxate.