Daily exposure to the sun is essential to your overall health; it’s the overexposure that could cause some issues. Sunshine exposure is the best way for your body to create health protecting vitamin D. To protect against sunburn, use a non-toxic sunscreen like coconut oil or opt for a low-risk, safe sunscreen that doesn’t contain health-compromising ingredients.
Bruce Fife, ND, author of Coconut Cures: Preventing and Treating Common Health Problems with Coconut Oil, explains that coconut oil applied on the skin protects against sunburn and cancer. Unlike sunscreen, unprocessed coconut oil doesn’t completely block the UVB rays that are necessary for vitamin D synthesis. It protects the skin and underlying tissues from damage excessive exposure can cause. Instead of burning or turning red, it produces a light tan, depending on the length of time you spend in the sun.
By adding zinc oxide you can produce more of a full spectrum sunscreen which will offer protection against UVA (the aging rays) as well as UVB. Measuring the exact protection from homemade sunscreen is not precise so safe sun exposure should always be considered.
With zinc oxide care should be taken to source high quality which is specifically formulated for the cosmetic industry, but it must be uncoated and not nano-particle grade. It is best to use a simple dust mask to avoid inhaling any of the zinc oxide dust. This mineral addition to the sunscreen will leave a white hue on the skin as it isn’t absorbed within the skin layers.
The recipe below for a natural homemade coconut oil sunscreen uses a variety of oils and produces more of a body butter. It is safe for the whole family to use (but make sure that children do not ingest it either intentionally or unintentionally.)
The addition of beeswax will give it slight water repellant properties. The essential oils you add will be a matter of personal preference although in general citrus oils in particular should not be used as they are phototoxic meaning they will actually cause burning. Carrot seed essential oil has a natural woody, earthy scent.
This is a rich body butter, so a little goes a long way. You should find all of these ingredients online or at your local health food store.
Homemade Coconut Oil Sunscreen Recipe by Jessica Espinoza at Delicious Obsessions
-1/4 cup coconut oil
-1/4 cup shea butter
1/8 cup sesame or jojoba oil
-2 tbsp. beeswax granules
-1-2 tbsp. zinc oxide powder (optional)
-1 tsp. red raspberry seed oil 20-30 drops
-Essential oils of your choice (lavender, rosemary, vanilla, and/or peppermint are nice)
1. Using a double boiler (or a small pan over very low heat), melt your coconut oil, sesame or jojoba oil, beeswax, and shea butter together. The beeswax will be the last to melt.
2. When the beeswax is melted, remove the mixture from the heat and let cool to room temperature. If you’re using zinc oxide, whisk it in at this point, being careful not to create a lot of dust. If there are some lumps, that’s OK. They will break up when you whip the body butter in step 4.
3. Move the mixture to the fridge for 15-30 minutes. You want it to start to set up, but still be soft enough to whip.
4. Take the mixture out of the fridge and using a stand mixer or hand mixer, start to whip it. Drizzle in the red raspberry seed oil, and any essential oils of your choice, and continue whipping until the mixture is light and fluffy.
5. Use as you would any regular sunscreen. Application rates will depend on your activity and exposure to water. Store in a glass container in the fridge between uses.