June 14, 2011

Make Your Own Nautral Sunscreen

Of course, you need sunlight to keep yourself healthy.  Most people need around ten minutes a day and your body self-regulates it's vitamin D production, so once you have enough, your body stops making it until you need more.  In most conditions, of course, you won't burn in only ten minutes of exposure.  It's the rest of the time that's the issue.

Simple Solutions For Avoiding Sunburn

- Stay out of the sun between 11-3 o'clock.
- Light, breezy shirts or blouses, longer “knee” shorts, or loose coverlets can go a long ways towards keeping the sun off your skin.
- Wide-brimmed hat is best—one that provides as much shade as possible for your face and neck.
- Sunglasses can shade your eyes from harmful sunlight too.
- Suncreen

Sunscreen Options

The normal sunscreens you see on the store shelf might work really well, but most off-the-shelf sunscreens that aren't natural contain parabens, which are estrogen-mimicking and endocrine-disrupting substances.  Others contain nano-particles of zinc and/or titanium as their active ingredient, which are readily absorbed by your skin and are highly reactive (absorbent) of other substances. Neither of those is a good thing, so the natural alternatives are definitely the way to go.

Of the two above problem ingredients, parabens are by far the worst, so at the very least, a paraben-free sunscreen is preferred.  Those aren't too hard to find, even at big box stores.  In the healthy living section of most stores, however, you'll find much better alternatives.

That section (or a health food store itself) will probably have sunscreens that are labeled “biodegradable.”  They'll likely have “natural” or other descriptions on the label (never “organic,” as that's a word controlled by the FDA).  There are a handful of popular brands of natural sunscreens off-the-shelf.

How to Make Your Own Sunscreen at Home

If you'd like to try making your own, it's actually a lot easier than you think. You need two ingredients:

Zinc oxide (primary ingredient, but do not inhale it! The powder is extremely strong).  
Any lotion (aloe vera gel from a plant is preferred).

Your pharmacy, health food store, or even just the vitamin shelf will have zinc oxide in powdered or undiluted pill form.  Powdered is preferred, but if you get the pills, you can use a mortar and pestle or a blender to crush them to powder.

Mix the powder and lotion until a somewhat jellied paste is formed.  Dilute to taste and spread as you would lotion or sunscreen. Or you can make your own lotion with the zinc oxide in it. (see chart below for % of zinc to add to total lotion amount. And try the recipes below.)

Concentration of
Sunscreen; SPF
(SPF 2-5)
(SPF 6-11)
(SPF 12-19)
Ultra High
(SPF >20)
Zinc Oxide 5 %10 % 15 % 25 %
Zinc Oxide, Micronized 3 % 7.5 % 12 % 20 %

EXAMPLE (for super basic lotion)
1/2 c. olive or avocado oil (or jojoba, almond, etc.)
1/4 c beeswax (try getting at a farmer's market or health store)
1/4 c coconut oil
2 T zinc oxid
few drops essential oils  (optional: frankincense for inflammation and bug repellant qualities or lavender for overall properties and nice smell)

1. Slowly heat olive and coconut oils on low heat as you do not want the oil to boil at any point.
2. Grate beeswax and add to the oil (keep on a low heat until it gently melts the wax).
3. Once the wax has completely melted, remove the mixture from the heat and immediately drop in two tablespoonfuls of the zinc oxide (and essential oils if desired).
4. Pour the mixture into an airtight container. Should last the whole year.

Original recipe from wellnessmama.com

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