We all know that sunscreen is a must have on beach vacations and reading books by the pool. But when else do you really put sunscreen on? Before you go shopping with your girlfriends? Before you go to the movies on a date? We don’t typically associate wearing sunscreen with everyday activities, but research is showing that we should!
Wearing sunscreen daily should be a routine regardless of the pigmentation of your skin. While individuals with light complexions are more likely to get skin cancer in general, individuals with darker complexions are still at risk for skin cancer, especially melanomas which are sometimes difficult to see on darker complexions.
Dermatologists at the Skin Cancer Foundation have estimated that 90% of visible aging skin doesn’t come from how old you are but rather how many hours your skin spends in the sun. This means that wearing sunscreen daily can result in more years of youthful skin!
Plant based sunscreens are becoming more and more readily available. Using a plant based sunscreen is beneficial not only to our skin but also for our oceans. Research has shown that compounds and chemicals found in traditional sunscreens are causing corals to decay and die. It has also shown that over 5,000 metric tons of sunscreen wash off swimmers each year. This “swimmer pollutions” is resulting in negative effects on our already fragile coral reefs.
A recent trend in skincare is homemade natural sunscreens. There has been some skepticism about the effectiveness of homemade sunscreen but it stems from stories of individuals not taking the time to research what oils need to be put into the sunscreen to produce a safe and effective product. The conclusion of homemade sunscreens is to educate yourself before using it regularly. It is vitally important to understand how to use oils because if used improperly they can result in burns.
Katie, a contributor to a blog called Wellness Mama developed a natural sunscreen recipe which we’ll share below:
Homemade Sunscreen Ingredients
½ cup almond or olive oil (can infuse with herbs if desired)
¼ cup coconut oil (natural SPF 4)
¼ cup beeswax
2 tablespoons Zinc Oxide (This will not 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 (SPF 4-5) - optional
Optional: Essential oils, vanilla extract, or other natural extracts to suit your preference (Avoid citrus oils as they increase sun sensitivity
Homemade Sunscreen Instructions
- Combine ingredients except Zinc Oxide in a pint sized or larger glass jar. I have a mason jar that I keep for just making lotions or 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 lit 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 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. It will not pump well in a lotion pump!
- Stir a few times as it cools to make sure zinc oxide is incorporated.
- Store at room temperature.
Additional notes: This sunscreen is not waterproof and will need to be reapplied after sweating or swimming. Make sure not to inhale the Zinc Oxide - use a mask if necessary! 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.
In addition to creating your own homemade natural sunscreen, there are several well-reviewed natural sunscreens on the market. Whichever route you choose to pursue, make sure you do your research to protect your skin year-round!