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3 Mineral-Based Sunscreens You Can Make

Sunscreen is among the most divisive topics in the health world. Some claim it’s essential to protect from sunburn and cancer; others say the ingredients in sunscreen make it a hazard to your body. How do you know who is right, and how can you protect yourself and your family from the misinformation surrounding this oft-debated substance? Make your own! Here’s why we love homemade mineral sunscreen and three easy recipes you can whip up for pennies. 

The great sunscreen debate

Ask any dermatologist, and they’ll tell you that an essential product in your daily skincare regime is a good, high SPF sunscreen. Most doctors fear the sun, advising their patients to avoid unprotected sun exposure at all costs. After all, the sun gives you cancer and wrinkles, right?

While your risk of these things certainly increases with extended time spent in the sun and sunburn, this zero-tolerance policy can hamper your vitamin D intake. The most effective way to ensure you get enough vitamin D is by exposing your bare skin to the sun. When you constantly cover up with sunscreen, your skin can’t absorb UVB rays to synthesize vitamin D in the body.

Vitamin D is essential for supporting bone health and protecting your heart, yet 75 percent of Americans are likely lacking enough of this critical vitamin. The risks of vitamin D deficiency and cardiovascular disease far outweigh the risk of death from skin cancer. 

In the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, one study suggests that even an SPF of 15 or greater decreases vitamin D3 production by 99 percent. This is primarily a concern with sunscreen overuse and the prevalence of high SPF sunscreens that have become popular. 

Proponents of zero unprotected sun exposure suggest that dietary and supplement sources of vitamin D are adequate substitutions for any deficiencies from lack of sunshine. However, sunshine is the most natural and effective way to support healthy vitamin D levels in your body. 

Authors of the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association study suggest moderate amounts of unprotected sun exposure each week to keep vitamin D levels adequate. This recommendation is backed by research that supports the benefits of sunlight for human health. 

What’s the answer?

Spending vast amounts of time with unprotected, exposed skin in the scorching afternoon sun isn’t a good idea. This increases your risk of sunburn, which is associated with skin cancer, increased signs of aging, and pain. 

However, sunshine can and should be safely enjoyed in moderation, like many good things. Get out, go for a walk, meditate, or practice grounding in the sunshine and forgo the sunscreen. 15-30 minutes a day of unprotected sun exposure is generally considered safe for most people and will help your body produce sufficient vitamin D. In fact, get your daily dose of sun naked, if possible, to enhance the benefit. 

Once you hit your 30-minute limit (potentially longer if you have a darker skin tone), cover up with a light layer of clothing or put on some sunscreen. But which sunscreen should you choose?

Why you should make mineral sunscreen at home

The next time you are at the store, grab a bottle of sunscreen off the shelf and look at the ingredients. You likely don’t know what most of them are, and you probably can’t pronounce half of them. Do you really want to be slathering your skin with unknown, potentially toxic ingredients?

These chemicals, which include oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and avobenzone, are absorbed through the skin and can lead to hormone disruption and other serious health issues. Parabens, fragrances, and harmful additives abound.

Plus, many chemicals used in sunscreen can bleach and damage coral reefs, leading certain places to prohibit the use of these toxic sunscreens. 

The FDA only lists two ingredients in sunscreen, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, as safe and effective. The others have not been researched enough to determine long-term effects, and the FDA proposes that it “needs more safety information” for the remaining ingredients.

That begs the question…why put something even “possibly unsafe”  on your body?

While organic mineral sunscreens are an excellent solution to this problem, the best way to ensure you and your family’s health is to make your own with pure, safe, effective ingredients. 

Does homemade sunscreen work?

Many people are skeptical of homemade sunscreen, as it is difficult to verify the SPF of homemade blends. However, the SPF of most sunscreen is much higher than it needs to be, and the toxins present in conventional sunscreen make DIY options appealing. 

These safe homemade sunscreen options are toxin-free and use plants and minerals to coat your skin and keep it from burning. Plus, they’re easy on the wallet, which is always a bonus. 

Remember, use organic products whenever possible and non-nano zinc oxide. Non-nano zinc oxide has bigger particles that won’t penetrate your skin. Reapply your homemade sunscreen every two hours or as needed. 

Quick-fix hybrid sunscreen

Using your favorite, fragrance-free organic lotion as a base is an excellent work-around if you’re short on time and need a quick sunscreen without buying a ton of extra ingredients. 

What you need:

  • 8 oz of your favorite organic, fragrance-free lotion 
  • 2 oz zinc oxide

What to do:

  1. Add both ingredients to a bowl and use a spoon to mix the zinc oxide into the lotion thoroughly.
  2. Return to bottle.
  3. This ratio should provide an SPF of around 20, which will protect you when spending prolonged periods outdoors while still allowing some beneficial UVB rays to reach your skin.

Aloe-Coconut Burn Buster

The natural SPF power of coconut oil and walnut extract oil combined with zinc oxide make this fragrant mixture an effective sunblock that empowers you to get out in nature and spend time in the sun without fear of burning. Plus, the shea butter and aloe vera provide an added moisturizing and burn-soothing effect. 

What you need:

  • 1 cup shea butter
  • ¼ cup pure aloe vera gel
  • 25 drops walnut extract oil
  • 2 Tbsp powdered zinc oxide 
  • ¼ cup coconut oil

What to do:

  1. Combine coconut oil, shea butter, and walnut extract oil in a small saucepan over medium heat until well-combined.
    Let the mixture cool slightly. Stir in aloe vera.
  2. Cover and let sit on the stove for at least an hour to cool completely.
    Stir in zinc oxide. Make sure to incorporate zinc oxide completely. 
  3. Add to a glass jar with a lid and store at room temperature. 

Water-Resistant Beeswax Sunscreen

Enjoy your relaxing day at the pool or the beach without worrying about reapplying sunscreen every time you dive into the water. The beeswax in this mixture helps the sunscreen repel water and cling to your skin, providing sun protection in and out of the pool.

Adding cocoa powder is optional, but it can help reduce the white cast that zinc oxide leaves on the skin. Adjust the amount as necessary to match your skin tone.

What you need

  • 4 oz organic, fragrance-free lotion
  • 1 oz beeswax pellets
  • 12 drops carrot seed oil 
  • 1 oz zinc oxide
  • 2 Tbsp jojoba oil
  • 12 drops raspberry seed oil
  • 1-2 tsp cocoa powder

What to do:

  1. Melt beeswax in a double boiler over medium heat.
  2. Remove from heat and let cool slightly
  3. Mix in remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
  4. Add to a glass jar to store.

Next steps

Put in the work to stay informed about your health and well-being. Do your research to determine what is safe and always search out the best option. It is possible to cut down on your toxic load, achieve your 100 Year Heart, and live a more vibrant life. Start by examining what you put on your skin and only use organic or homemade mineral sunscreen.

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Medical Review 2022: Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD

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