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Commercial Sunscreens have many toxic ingredients – Use Coconut Oil or this non-toxic homemade sunscreen recipe below instead.
I learned years ago about the toxic chemicals in sunscreen that ironically cause cancer. Considering your skin absorbs everything you put on it into your system, I don’t like to put anything on my skin that I would not eat. Coconut oil has been used as an effective sunscreen for thousands of years by indigenous, pacific islanders.
It is important to know that the sun produces Vitamin D and it is very healthy to get about 15 to 30 minutes of sun each day at the right times. Outside of that to protect yourself from too much sun, I recommend a healthy diet of natural fats to protect your skin, the natural supplement astaxanthin (see below), and coconut oil as sun screen, 15 – 30 minutes after you have allowed your skin some beneficial rays of the sun to reach your skin. See my article here on health benefits of the sun here. If you prefer to use a natural sunscreen, I have a recipe below that is healthy for your whole family.
Understanding UVA versus UVB Rays
There are two types of UV (ultraviolet) rays from the sun: UVA (bad) and UVB (good). UVA rays are primarily responsible for skin damage from excessive sun exposure that can lead to cancer and skin aging. However, although UVB rays can also cause damage and sunburn, they are necessary for your body to produce its own cancer protection – vitamin D via the skin.
Sunlight is by far the optimal way to produce your vitamin D. Blocking UVB rays may inadvertently be increasing your cancer risk by blocking vitamin D absorption. Plus, sunscreen causes cancer through carcinogenic ingredients.
Sunscreens also offer a false sense of protection, as many on the market do not screen for the UVA rays, but do screen for UVB, which makes no sense at all considering UVB are the rays required for Vitamin D production.
UVB rays are at their peak around noon, and they are more easily filtered in overcast and cloudy weather. UVA rays are not filtered as well, so even when it’s cloudy outside, these rays are still shining through. Also, UVB rays are not as strong early and late in the day, but UVA rays are. Something to keep in mind if you enjoy your outdoor activities early in the morning or in the evening.
Avoid Toxic Sunscreens
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) approximately 75% of commercial sunscreens contain toxic chemicals that are linked to cancer and disrupt hormones.
Store bought sunscreens typically contain:
• Retinyl palmitate, a known skin cancer hazard.
• Oxybenzone, which disrupts hormones leading to cell damage and cancer.
• Zinc and titanium nanoparticles are in colorless sun screen lotions.
• Other common sunscreen ingredients that are suspected or known carcinogens and/or hormone disrupters, include: diethanolamine, triethanolamine (DEA, TEA), padimate-o, octyl dimethyl PABA, benzophenone, homosalate, octyl-methoxycinnamate (octinoxate), salicylates, and parabens.
Those and other chemicals rubbed on your skin are readily absorbed into your bloodstream and can be just as unhealthy and toxic as an oral dose. Many commonly used sunscreen chemicals have strong estrogenic actions that may interfere with normal sexual development and cause reproductive problems. Benzophenone is a powerful free radical generator activated by ultraviolet light and could initiate a reaction that may ultimately lead to melanoma and other skin cancers.
If you don’t want to make it yourself, here is 1 commercial Sunscreen That I like because it works great and is Actually all natural and organic:
Raw Elements Eco Formula 30+ 3 Oz
Choose Coconut Oil for Sunscreen Instead
Bruce Fife, ND, author of “Coconut Cures” 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. “Consuming coconut oil also strengthens the skin and makes it more resilient and less prone to sunburn.” Just make sure the coconut oil is pure and not processed.
I like this one, I use it as a moisturizer, sun screen, cook with it, and eat about one table spoon a day:
Nutiva: Organic Extra-Virgin Coconut Oil (Glass Jar), 23 oz
Astaxanthin – is a supplement that will help to stop radiation from the sun and is the best antixoidant you can get in a supplement. I have been taking it for years now. You can purchase it here –
Mercola, Astaxanthin Antioxidant with ALA – 90 Capsules
See the benefits of Astaxanthin here:
Using a good Vitamin E supplement will diminish your body’s sensitivity to UV light. This one is my favorite and endorsed by nutritionist David Getoff
The Role of a Real Food Diet and Natural Oils as Sunscreen
I have no doubt in my mind that my high consumption of saturated fats like coconut oil and ghee play a huge role in sun protection and the overall health of my skin.
Overconsumption of polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs), like soybean, canola, and other vegetable oils, can leave our entire body, including our skin, unhealthy and at risk for a variety of health problems.
When I started focusing on a whole food diet with plenty of saturated fats, I found that the health of my skin dramatically improved. I also find that I do not burn nearly as easy as I used to, even when I end up being outside longer than I should.
Not only do I use coconut oil as my primary cooking oil, but I have also used coconut oil on my skin for years.
Additionally, according to Anthony J. O’Lenick, author of “Oils of Nature”, raspberry seed oil has a natural SPF of 28-50 and carrot seed oil has a natural SPF of 38-40.
(If you happen to get sunburned see what to do below)
Homemade Non-Toxic Sunscreen:
To boost the sunscreen to more of a full-spectrum sunscreen, you can add zinc oxide. There is no way to really know the true SPF of this sunscreen, so always enjoy your sun time carefully. If you choose to use zinc oxide, there are a few important things to note:
1. Use a high-quality zinc oxide that is specifically for cosmetic applications. (see link below)
2. Make sure it is uncoated and not micronized or classified as a nano-particle (nano-particles can be absorbed into the bloodstream, which can create health problems).
3. It will sit on the skin, so depending on how much you use, it may leave a whitish hue.
4. Use caution when measuring and mixing it, as to not inhale the powder. Some people will use a dust mask to ensure they don’t inhale the powder.
This recipe creates a body butter sunscreen, that a little will go a long way. It is safe for the whole family, though you want to make sure children do not ingest any of it. The beeswax will help it be slightly water-repellent. When not in use, store in the fridge to help extend the shelf-life. Use whatever essential oils you like for scent, but make sure to stay away from phototoxic essential oils, which includes the citrus family (lemon, orange, etc) and a few others. When these essential oils are exposed to the sun, they can cause the skin to burn faster.
Homemade Coconut Oil Sunscreen Recipe
Ingredients (See links below to purchase)
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup shea butter
1/8 cup jojoba oil
2 tbsp. beeswax granules (for water and sweat resistance, and consistency)
1-2 tbsp. zinc oxide powder (optional to make the SPF strong)
1 tsp. red raspberry seed oil (optional for stronger SPF)
20-30 drops carrot seed essential oil (optional)
– A few drops of Essential oils are also options for a pleasant smell (lavender, rosemary, vanilla, and/or peppermint) (Avoid citrus oil since they are phototoxic meaning they intensify the sun and will damage skin – those are Lemon/Lime, orange, Grapefruit, Bergamot, Angelica Root, and Rue)
– If I were making this I would also add a ¼ cup of aloe vera gel, taken directly from the plant. See my video on how to do this here. (But this is not absolutely necessary. It will just add to the SPF and is very healthy for skin.)
Nutiva: Organic Extra-Virgin Coconut Oil (Glass Jar), 23 oz
Shea Butter – 16 oz. – Organic – Unrefined – In HDPE Jar
Desert Essence Organic Jojoba Oil — 4 fl oz
Beeswax Pastilles Pearls – Yellow – 1 Lb.
Zinc Oxide (size nano +20%) (Optional for greater SPF)
Zinc Oxide Powder – 1 lb. in Quality Heat Sealed Resealable Zip Lock Pouch
Red Raspberry Seed Oil (optional for greater SPF)
RED RASPBERRY SEED OIL 100% Pure / Natural / Virgin. Cold Pressed / Undiluted Carrier Oil. For Face, Hair and Body. 1 Fl.oz.- 30 ml. by Botanical Beauty
Carrot Seed Oil (Optional)
Carrot Seed Essential Oil 100% Pure 10 Ml 0.34 Fl. Oz. 365 Drops Therapeutic Grade By Nature’s Kiss
Instructions to make sunscreen:
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, the carrot seed oil, and any essential oils of your choice, and continue whipping until the mixture is light and fluffy.
6. 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.
Once again, if you don’t want to make it yourself I like this brand called Raw Elements because they are actually all natural and organic:
Raw Elements Eco Formula 30+ 3 Oz
For Sun Burns:
For sunburns – In addition to applying aloe (see how to extract pure allow from the leaf here) I like Lavender Ess ential Oil, with a little coconut oil, (2-3 drops of Lavender oil with teaspoon of coconut oil) which has been shown in the research to be effective in soothing both burns and insect bites.
Against mosquitoes and other bugs I use a mixed blend of 11 therapeutic-grade oils including citronella herb, eucalyptus, African Sandalwood, Rose Flower, and more. I can email to you a link
With all the ess ential oil companies now I only buy edible Therapeutic grade E.O.’s from one company because they are the only one FDA approved with nutritional info on the bottle. Due to FDA regulations they request that I do not mention their name directly in my blogs. For links and info email me at email@example.com