So as many of you know, I work at a campground. Right across from the office I work in is our swimming pool which is quite popular this time of year. Sometimes I look out the window and see all the people jumping in, working on their tan, or playing around with their kids. Another sight I often see is well-meaning people spraying themselves or their kids with chemical sunscreen, or rubbing the lotion all over their bodies. I cringe a little inside every time I see this. We’re told by advertising, and even doctors that sunscreen is essential and an absolute must if you’re going to be out in the sun, and most of us just go out and buy one without any further thought. I don’t blame anyone for spraying sunscreen on themselves or their kids because I know they mean well and are just trying to do what they’ve been told is the best for their health. I think if the harmful effects of sunscreen were more widely known about then people would steer clear of it! Commercial sunscreen is full of extremely harsh chemicals that are more harmful than they are helpful. Read on to learn more about why I think this is such a serious issue, and to find out my own recipe for a natural sunscreen below!
Chemical Sunscreen Vs. Physical Sunscreen
To be clear, chemical sunscreen is the kind that is most commonly sold commercially. It contains unnatural chemicals used to absorb and reflect UV light. These chemicals are immediately entered into your bloodstream when you apply it. In fact, the chemicals can be present in your body up to 2 days after applying it. Our skin is our largest organ, and unlike our liver which helps filter toxins out of things we eat or drink, our skin has no filtration system. Anything we put on our skin with small enough particles is going to be absorbed and get into our bloodstream within a matter of seconds (which is why I have become so passionate about using only natural things on my body!) Some of these UV absorbing chemicals also mutate when they absorb the UV rays and create free radicals that have been known to cause cancer.. Additionally, nine of the common chemicals found in sunscreen are also known endocrine disruptors. This means they are known to mess with your hormones, which can lead to things like infertility and so many other hormone related problems. (source) YET, the FDA still allows these ingredients in our products…while most of them are banned in other countries.
In a nutshell, the chemicals in your sunscreen are contributing factors to the rise of cancer, infertility, and who knows how many other issues that rise from messed up hormones. Its terrible! I could go on, but I think you get the picture. The lesson here is that while the companies making these products may have had good intentions at one point, they’ve screwed up along the line, and have been convincing people ever since that sunscreen is actually good for you. This is why I cringe whenever I see people putting this stuff all over their bodies. It actually makes me sad that more people aren’t aware of these things. One big reason for my blog is to help spread awareness about issues like this so you can make better informed decisions for your families and hopefully lead healthier lives because of it. 🙂 Okay…moving along!
The other type of sunscreen is physical sunscreen. Physical sunscreen actually sits on your skin to block the rays. It sits on your skin because the particles are too large to be absorbed into your skin. Have you ever seen an old movie with a lifeguard sporting a white nose? This is the original sunscreen. It was a thick pasty white lotion that contained zinc oxide- a mineral that literally blocks the sun by sitting on top of your skin to block the UV rays. You can rub the stuff in, but it does leave your skin looking a little white from the zinc particles. The recipe I will share with you below contains non-nano zinc oxide powder as well as a few natural oils that naturally have sun protecting properties.
A Few Notes About Zinc Oxide..
There are a few different types of zinc oxide. Some types are used by commercial chemical sunscreen brands in “nano” form. This just means that the particles of the zinc oxide have been “chopped up” SO small that they can actually penetrate your skin and be absorbed. Which is good for commercial sunscreen brads that want a clear or translucent product, but its awful for our health. We don’t want this stuff in our bloodstream! When we absorb zinc oxide through our skin, the sun can mutate it into those free-radicals I mentioned above. This is why its so important to get non-nano zinc oxide for your sunscreen. Non-nano zinc oxide has particles that are too big to be absorbed, so they never enter our bloodstream. The downside is that it leaves you a little white looking, but that’s really unimportant to me. 🙂 Here’s an article that describes nano zinc oxide in more depth!
Another Reason to Avoid Sunscreen..
Vitamin D deficiency affects 75% of the population because of all the sunscreen we use. Vitamin D deficiency can attribute to many illnesses such as weakness, joint pain, headaches, high blood pressure, mood disorders, hormone issues, and poor immune system. Osteoporosis, diabetes, gout, autoimmune and neurological diseases, and even some cancers are also linked to vitamin D deficiency. My little sister Marybeth lives in Alaska and has experienced vitamin D deficiency herself during the dark winters in Alaska where they only get a few hours of sunlight per day. Check out what she has to say about her experience!
“Vitamin D deficiency led to many physical and emotional problems for me. It affected my daily moods as well my hormone balance, making me get sick frequently. I didn’t notice how bad it had gotten until the summer months came around when the sun was out all the time and the issues stopped. The only thing that was inconsistent was the amount of vitamin D I received, so I attributed my health issues to that deficiency. Now that I know what it was I will definitely be taking plenty of Vitamin D supplements as the dark winter approaches this year!”
So I think that making sure you DO get some sun is definitely important! This is just another reason to avoid sunscreen on a regular daily basis. HOWEVER, if you’re going to be outside for a prolonged period of time, please do find shade, wear protective clothing, or use a natural sunscreen like the recipe I’m about to share! I’m definitely not advocating getting burnt. 😉
Here’s The Recipe!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links that earn me a small commission if you make a purchase through them. They don’t cost anything extra for you, and I only recommend products I love and use myself!
-1 tsp beeswax pelets
-1/4 cup coconut oil (SPF 4-6)
-1/4 cup shea butter (SPF 4-6)
-1/2 tsp. raspberry seed oil (SPF 25-50)
-1-2 tsp non-nano zinc oxide (SPF 2-20 depending how much)
-10 drops lavender essential oil (for scent)
Note: I know the SPF ranges are very vague. I would take the average of the SPF and consider that. Also, this can get very tricky, so I can’t claim that this sunscreen is any specific SPF…But to be safe, when I am outside for awhile I reapply this stuff every 1-2 hours and have not gotten burnt. (Except for when I forget to reapply it! So don’t forget that!)
Put your coconut oil, beeswax, and shea butter in a glass jar and microwave until melted. You can also use a double boiler method, but I find this to be a lot easier since you don’t have to do dishes with wax and oil all over them. 😉 Once it is all melted, add your raspberry oil, lavender oil, and zinc oxide. Stir it well and leave at room temp (or in the fridge to speed things up!). when its finished hardening, give it a quick stir just in case anything separated during the process.
DONE! Super easy!
I know that these ingredients on their own seem like a lot of money but I see it more like an investment. About a year ago I started making my own lotions, creams, sunscreen, some cosmetics, as well as ointments for various things. I’ve made and remade so many things over the past year and my stockpile of most ingredients has barely dwindled since I bought them in bulk!! Once you have a good stock of things like coconut oil, shea butter, beeswax, etc. you will be able to keep making things for a very long time and definitely saves you a ton of money in the long run! I haven’t had to buy shampoo, conditioner, lotion, creams, etc in at least a year. Its definitely worth it! 🙂
Do you have a natural brand of sunscreen you’d recommend? Have you ever tried making your own? Let me know your thoughts and questions in the comments and check out more natural DIY health and beauty product on my blog here! 🙂