DIY: Homemade Natural Sunscreen

By Tracy and Joc, Little Boozy Homemakers

Nobody wants a sunburn. At least I don’t think they do. Let’s go on the assumption that they don’t and that nobody wants to rub toxic chemicals on his or her body either.

Now that summer is in full swing here in Nova Scotia, Canada, and my daughter is old enough to play in the yard and at the beach, I have to consider some sort of protection from the sun for the first time. Last year she was under 6 months old and wasn’t allowed to wear sunscreen, so unfortunately we missed a lot of summertime activities. I am all about the sun this year!

There are a few things to consider about avoiding over-exposure to our star other than just slathering on some SPF.

1. The sun is actually good for us. It’s how our body gets it’s vitamin D, which is important for bone and tooth health.

2. Some ingredients in commercial sunscreens have been linked to cancer health problems themselves which is counter-productive, no? (For example, according to a WebMD article titled “Sunscreen Safety: What to Know” and reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD, “Some dermatologists feel that the research suggesting a connection between retinyl palmitate [an ingredient found in some sunscreens] and skin cancer—in lab tests on mice— is worrisome.”

3. You can avoid over-exposure by limiting time spent in the sun during the peak hours of the day when the sun is the hottest and by covering up with light clothing, umbrellas and hats.  Save sunscreen for when you can’t avoid it like at the beach or playing at the park.

I’m no scientist, so I won’t blather on about the toxicity of ingredients or cancer. I will, however, include some links at the bottom of this post for you to look at if you want to know more information. And yes, I have used this sunscreen on myself, my husband, and my daughter at the park, the beach, and even the lake while swimming. You probably should reapply after excessive sweating or swimming, but this stuff does hold up really well. And most importantly… it really works! No sunburns at all this summer, not even close.

Here is my recipe for homemade natural sunscreen.

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp Shea Butter (nourishes skin and has a natural SPF of about 5)
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 1 tsp Vitamin E Liquid (good for your skin and is a natural preservative)
  • 4 tsp Zinc Oxide Powder* (to give you 20-25 SPF) (make sure to use non-nano** – no less than 100 nm)
  • 10-20 drops Essential Oil – optional (don’t use citrus oils, they can increase sun sensitivity)

Method:

Gently melt the shea butter and coconut oil in a double boiler until just softened. Remove from heat and stir in the vitamin E and essential oils. When working with zinc oxide you must be careful not to breathe in the powder. Wear a dust mask or tie a towel around your mouth and nose if it you like. Stir everything together until well mixed and pour into a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. I like to give the jar a shake every once in a while as it cools to make sure everything stays incorporated. This recipe makes a nice thick lotion that holds up pretty well in warm temperatures but it’s OK if it melts a bit. …

To continue reading Tracy’s instructions on how to make your own natural sunscreen, see “Homemade Natural Sunscreen” at LittleBoozyHomemakers.com. 

Tracy and Joc are sisters, wives, and mothers, and they love to make things with their own two hands. Read more of their great homemaking tips on their blog Little Boozy Homemakers.

* “Zinc Oxide is a white powder with wonderful astringent properties. It physically works to provide 28 times the skin’s natural protections against harmful UVA & UVB rays and has a great soothing effect for use in many skin preparations. It is uncoated and is an inert ingredient, often used to thicken lotions and creams.” -New Directions Aromatics (325nm)

** “Nano or micronized zinc oxide has been treated to reduce the size of its particles, creating an ultrafine powder. When added to sunscreens it does not leave a white film on the skin, thus making it a popular choice in many commercial sunscreens. The problem with this is that the particles are so small they can enter the body through the skin, causing potential health problems… be sure to purchase a non nano zinc oxide that has particle sizes as large as possible. (Anything with a particle size smaller than 100nm is considered a nano particle.)” -DIYnatural.com

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