Avoid toxic chemicals during your fun in the sun this summer! This DIY natural sunscreen recipe is easy to make, and works great. It’s waterproof and safe for babies and marine life.
Homemade waterproof sunscreen
It’s true – you can avoid sunburn and toxic chemicals, at the same time! This DIY natural sunscreen recipe uses only the safest, most natural ingredients.
Babies can safely use this sunscreen. There’s no risk of them being exposed to toxic chemicals this way. For very young babies, shade and clothing are the best form of protection.
But as they get older and want to join the fun, sunscreen is helpful for those times when they’ll be in the sun longer than usual. I’ve used this sunscreen with my babies and it works really well.
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Why make homemade sunscreen?
There are definitely a lot of choices when it comes to sunscreens at the local drugstore! Why are they often not a good choice? Commercial conventional sunscreens contain a lot of ingredients that are not safe or good for our health. Let’s look at some problems with conventional sunscreen ingredients:
- Nano zinc oxide is zinc oxide with particles small enough that they can go deep into the layers of skin. That’s not safe, and it leaves the top layers of skin unprotected.
- Non biodegradable chemicals lurk in commercial sunscreens. These chemicals are carcinogenic and are hormone disruptors. Remember how our skin rapidly absorbs whatever we put on it? We definitely won’t want these chemicals being absorbed into our bloodstream!
- Conventional sunscreens carry these chemicals deep into the body. Once the chemicals are deep within the skin’s layers, they can react with UV light and cause skin damage. In fact, commercial sunscreens can actually raise skin cancer risk (source).
There are starting to be some good, natural sunscreen choices you can buy. But, I still read the label. Even sunscreens that are commercially available and labelled as “natural” often contain ingredients that are not the best.
Did you know that the chemicals in conventional sunscreens are also harmful to marine life? That’s right, the choices we make about what to put on our bodies have far reaching effects. It’s good to keep that in mind. This organic sunscreen is perfectly safe for marine life, and the rest of the earth.
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DIY natural sunscreen recipe directions
- 2 oz. virgin coconut oil
- 2 oz. olive oil (or carrot seed or argan oil, or a blend)
- 2 oz. cocoa butter
- 2 oz. beeswax
- 2 oz. non nano zinc oxide
- Weigh and combine all ingredients in a heat safe glass pitcher.
- Create a double boiler by placing pitcher on a cloth inside a pan of water.
- Heat water to a simmer.
- Melt all ingredients completely, stirring well to combine.
- Remove pitcher carefully from hot water.
- Allow sunscreen to cool slowly, stirring periodically.
- Once sunscreen has started to thicken but is still pourable, pour into glass container or silicone squeeze tube.
- Allow to come to room temperature.
Like any DIY skincare product, you are in completely control over everything! The recipe I’m sharing here uses olive oil for the liquid oil component.
But, you can substitute the olive oil for another liquid, skin friendly oil. Some really great options are argan oil or carrot seed oil. These particular oils add additional SPF and antioxidant protection than the olive oil does.
One of my shop customers came up with another great variation. Instead of the coconut oil, she asked if I could substitute tallow balm. This worked beautifully!
As I’ve talked about before, grass fed tallow contains so many antioxidants and skin nutrients. It’s definitely a great addition to this DIY natural sunscreen recipe. Get my tallow sunscreen recipe here.
Does homemade sunscreen work?
This one does! We have used it for years, and it has always worked perfectly for us. My organic sunscreen recipe works by using a variety of safe, natural ingredients to protect skin.
What is the best homemade sunscreen? This recipe uses non nano zinc oxide. This type of zinc oxide has particles that are too big to sink deeply into skin, and that’s good! It creates a physical barrier that protects both the top layer and deeper layers of skin from the sun’s damage.
I also like to use a variety of nourishing, skin friendly oils and butters to protect the skin. This is a homemade sunscreen with coconut oil, cocoa butter, and olive oil (or argan and carrot seed oil).
These oils and butters naturally have SPF protection on their own, and are stable fats that don’t go rancid easily. And, the cocoa butter gives it a wonderful chocolate scent!
Beeswax is added to make the sunscreen waterproof. It really works well during swimming! We’ve personally used it many times while we swim, and it has never let us down.
Is homemade sunscreen safe?
There is some information out there about homemade sunscreens being dangerous. The reasons given are that you can’t measure the SPF of homemade sunscreens without a laboratory, and that the risk of burning is higher.
What do I think about this? Obviously homemade sunscreens aren’t tested in a laboratory. But, homemade sunscreens also don’t contain the cancer causing and hormone disrupting chemicals that conventional sunscreens do.
It is also true that homemade sunscreens might not have the same broad spectrum SPF as conventional sunscreens. But I think there is still a very smart way to avoid sunburn and avoid toxic chemicals in conventional sunscreens. They key is using the right tools at the right time, in the right way. Balance!
According to the Environmental Working Group, sunscreens should be used more as a last resort. Avoiding the most intense, midday sun and using clothing and shade to avoid sunburn is best (source).
Here’s what we’ve decided: We definitely aren’t going to use conventional sunscreens. We don’t want the toxic chemicals they contain!
Also, I do agree that we shouldn’t consider or use homemade sunscreens exactly the way people use conventional ones. We’ve chosen to go the route of smart sun exposure, a healthy, antioxidant rich diet, and some homemade sunscreen when needed. This combo has worked very well for us for years, and has never left us with a sunburn.
I recommend doing your own research, and talking to your doctor or dermatologist to decide what is best for you and your family.
Things to know about making and using this natural sunscreen recipe
All of the ingredients in this DIY natural sunscreen recipe are by weight. It’s a simple recipe, and very easy to remember! There are equal parts by weight of each ingredient.
For a storage container, you can either use a glass jar, or a silicone squeeze tube. I’ve used both and they both work great. The jar is good for making larger quantities at a time. Squeeze tubes are great for tossing into a bag to bring along to the beach or pool. They’re also perfect for travel.
It can be hard to say what exactly the SPF is of DIY sunscreens, and I definitely can’t claim to know the exact SPF of this recipe. In the research I did on the individual ingredients and amounts, I found that this DIY natural sunscreen recipe should have an SPF of over 30.
This DIY natural sunscreen recipe should stay on during swimming and other water activities for at least two hours. After that, if you’re still going to be in the sun, it’s a good idea to reapply it.
If you’re new to mineral based sunscreens, you might be surprised how little of this sunscreen you need. The commercial, liquid sunscreens require a lot more product, but a little of this organic sunscreen goes a long way. If you use the right amount, it will easily rub in without turning you white.
Safe sun exposure
We do need exposure to the sun in order to make vitamin D, and for many other reasons (source). However, there is a smart way to go about it.
As part of an immune boosting, healthy habit, we make a point of trying to get some sunlight on our skin every day. We try to work up a tan gradually, so that our skin gets used to the sun without any burning.
Once we’ve gotten enough sun for the day, we either head for the shade or use clothing to cover up, as the Environmental Working Group recommends.
We really only very rarely use sunscreen, and just use it for those times when we’ll be in the sun longer than usual, such as a special vacation or beach day.
Protect skin from the inside out
How can I protect my skin from sun without sunscreen? Did you know that sun exposure is not the only thing linked to skin cancer? Not having enough vitamin D and eating omega 6 vegetable oils have been linked to developing skin cancer (source).
On the flip side, eating a diet rich in fat soluble vitamins and antioxidants, like the Nourishing Traditions diet, is a great way to keep skin healthy and boost sun tolerance.
We avoid processed foods and vegetable oils, and focus on eating healthy fats, omega 3 rich foods, and a nutrient rich diet in general.
More Summertime DIY organic skincare recipes
What are some of your favorite summertime DIY recipes?
I’d love to hear what you’re making this summer. Share in the comments!
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