Now that summer is here, many people are using sunscreen-based creams or simply applying sunscreen to protect their skin. Sunscreen is an important protector against harmful UV rays. Unfortunately, few people actually look at what is in their sunscreen and research which ingredients are toxic.
Your skin is your largest organ – and for many of us it is one of our most treasured features. Unfortunately, it can be time consuming to read the label on every skincare product and research each ingredient. If a bottle says “Natural” or “Nontoxic”, many Americans believe the product is safe. Unfortunately, these terms mean very little when it comes to health and safety as they are not strictly regulated. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it “has not engaged in rulemaking to establish a formal definition for the term ‘natural.’” There are also no specific standards listed for the “nontoxic” label.
Chemicals to avoid when buying skincare products
Because the overall labeling of a product as “Nontoxic” or “Natural” is so inaccurate, it’s important that you read every ingredient of skincare products you plan to use. Here is a cheat sheet of ingredients to avoid in any skincare product:
- Benzophenone and its derivatives like benzophenone-2 (BP2), dioxybenzone, oxybenzone (BP3), or sulisobenzone
- Butylated compounds like butylated hydroxyanisole(BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)
- Ethanolamine compounds including diethanolamine, oleamide DEA, stearamide MEA, TEA-lauryl sulfate, and triethanolamine
- Formaldehyde or formaldehyde-releasing preservatives such as quaternium-15, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, and DMDM hydantoin
- Heavy metals like aluminum, arsenic, lead, or mercury
- Homosalate (also called 3,3,5-trimethyl-cyclohexyl-salicylate or HMS)
- Menthyl anthranilate
- Mineral Oil
- Nitrosamines – called diethanolamine (DEA) or triethanolamine (TEA)
- Octinoxate, also called Octyl methoxycinnamate, Octyl salicyclate, OMC, parsol, escalol, or 2-ethylhexyl p-methoxycinnamate
- PABA including OD-PABA, padimate O, 4-aminobenzoic acid, para-aminobenzoic acid, p-aminobenzoic acid, Et-PABA, 2-ethylhexyl ester, p-carboxyaniline
- Phenylbenzimidazole or ensulizole
- Retinyl Palmitate
- Vitamin A
That’s a lot of ingredients! Take a look at your skin products that include an SPF rating (and yes, that includes bottles of sunscreen). If they have any of the above ingredients in them, you may be putting dangerous chemicals on your skin.
Don’t worry, there are products that exist without these ingredients. You can also follow our directions below for a DIY sunscreen.
Ingredients in our DIY Natural Sunscreen
Before we give you a recipe for homemade all-natural sunscreen, we wanted to talk about why some of these ingredients are recommended.
- Cold pressed virgin olive oil
Olive oil is great all around. It tastes delicious, has wonderful moisturizing properties and has an SPF rating of 8. We recommend cold pressed virgin olive oil for use in homemade sunscreen as this is the specific type of oil that has been tested for an SPF rating.
Olive oil can not only protect your skin from the sun, it contains antioxidants that will help skin recover from environmental damage. So, if you some suffered skin damage from the sun, from burns or just from aging, olive oil may help you recover.
With so many fantastic uses, it’s no wonder that coconut oil also has an SPF rating of 8. Coconut oil will not only will it protect your skin from the sun, it penetrates and moisturizes through layers of your skin. Additionally, coconut oil smells great!
- Zinc Oxide
This product is considered one of the safest for broad-spectrum sunscreen. Zinc is an essential mineral that we use in our body and it’s the only active sunscreen ingredient that has been approved by the FDA for infants under six months old.
We all remember zinc as a white cream or white strip that lifeguards have used to protect their noses. This highlights the one downside to utilizing zinc oxide in a homemade sunscreen – it has a tendency to clump into a white mass. That’s why we have put together this natural, DIY sunscreen. The formula used has minimal clumping – offering greater all-around effectiveness.
DIY Sunscreen Formula
1/2 cup cold pressed virgin olive oil
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup beeswax
2 tablespoons zinc oxide
1 teaspoon vitamin E
2 tablespoons shea butter
6 drops helichrysum essential oil
6 drops of lavender essential oil
Add everything except zinc oxide and helichrysum essential oil in a medium sized glass mixing bowl.
Fill a medium saucepan with a couple inches of water and place over medium heat. Place the glass bowl on top of the saucepan so that the saucepan is cradling the bowl.
As the ingredients start to melt, stir occasionally to mix.
Add the zinc oxide and helichrysum essential oil and mix well. This may take quite a bit of stirring.
We have many other great DIY formulas and recommendations for natural skincare here at Change for the Health of It. If you are looking for personal health advice, be sure to contact us today.