Many sunscreens are loaded with some seriously questionable ingredients that can induce adverse effects on your skin and body, (i.e., allergic reactions, hormone disruption, and premature aging), and might even increase your cancer risk. There are 17 individual sunscreen ingredients that are FDA approved: 15 of these are clear chemicals that absorb UV light and two are made of minerals that reflect UV light. Of these 15, nine are known endocrine disruptors.
Chemical sunscreens don’t sit on the surface of the skin – they soak into it and quickly find their way into the bloodstream. They scatter all over the body without being detoxified by the liver and can be detected in blood, urine, and breast milk for up to two days after a single application. That would be just fine if they were uniformly safe – but they’re not.
While oils are not meant to screen out the majority of the sun’s rays, and probably shouldn’t be considered as an all-day, intense sunlight protection for prolonged periods in the sun, they certainly can provide a level of protection without all the other unwanted ingredients for reasonable periods of time in the sun. Further, they will allow some of the sun’s rays to reach your skin so that you may manufacture the all too important vitamin D. They have another bonus too, many of them will leave you with baby soft, healthy skin – and most also contain other skin-friendly vitamins, fatty acids and other nutrients and antioxidants.
Red raspberry oil
Red raspberry oil has a relatively high SPF, clocking in at an estimated SPF of 30-50. Not only does this oil have a high UV protective factor, it also is used for cosmetic and beauty purposes as a highly emollient addition to skin care products. It is high in vitamin E, which is very healing and repairing for the skin, and also is a highly stable oil, meaning it is resistant to spoilage.
Red raspberry oil is also rich in vitamin A, which can help address mature skin issues. It contains high levels of alpha linolenic acid which is anti-inflammatory in nature. Part of the reason this oil is such an effective natural sun protectant is its thick consistency, so it may not be ideal when a lighter, more easily absorbed consistency is desired or for skin that is already very oily or breakout-prone. Red raspberry seed oil also happens to have a heavy scent, not akin to the fruit from which it comes unfortunately. The good thing is that it does dissipate after about an hour on the skin.
Carrot seed oil
Carrot seed oil has a very distinct, nutty and earthy aroma that some may find a bit strong. However, not only is it chock full of vitamins, it also offers a pretty high level of natural sun protection. The estimate for this oil is that it may offer as high as a “30”, potentially as high as a “38” rating for sun protection, which rivals many of the chemical sunscreens you see on shelves. It can also impart a beautiful tanned look to the skin, thanks to its gradual filtering of the suns rays for a slow melanin build from UV exposure, and its natural light orange color.
Carrot seed oil is rich in carotene and vitamin A. It is often used to help treat eczema, and can also be helpful in addressing age related skin problems like liver (age) spots and wrinkles due to its intensive antioxidant and moisturizing qualities. It can feel a bit heavy on the skin, making it ideal for mature skin. This heaviness also probably explains why it is one of the more effective natural sunscreen oils.
Wheat germ oil
Wheat germ oil is another option, coming in a little under red raspberry seed oil and carrot seed oil for sun protection at an estimated “20”. Wheat germ oil is inexpensive, has virtually no scent, and is slightly less viscous than the prior two oils.
Wheat germ oil is primarily known as an excellent source of vitamin E, which has multiple benefits for the skin. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, so it helps to prevent or even somewhat reverse UV damage. The high antioxidant value of the oil is one of the reasons it is also taken internally for a variety of health benefits.
Wheat germ oil is commonly used externally for skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and stubborn dry patches. It is also commonly used to help speed the healing process for skin irritations, contusions and burns due to its high content of healing Vitamin E.
There are a host of other oils with lesser SPF factors, as you can see from the list below.
Other Oils with SPF 10 or Less
- Macadamia Oil – SPF 6
- Avocado Oil – 4 – 10 (can get as high as 15)
- Olive Oil – 2-8
- Shea Butter – 3 – 6
- Almond Oil – SPF 5
- Jojoba Oil – SPF 4
- Coconut Oil – SPF 2 – 8
Natural Homemade Sunscreen
- 1/2 cup almond oil (natural SPF of 5) or avocado or olive oil
- 2 tablespoons shea butter(natural SPF of 5)
- 1/4 cup coconut oil (natural SPF of 4)
- 2 Tablespoons zinc oxide (non-nano non-GMO, natural SPF of 20+)
- 10 drops carrot seed essential oil (natural SPF of 30-40)
- 10 drops myrrh essential oil
- 25 drops lavender essential oil
- 10 drops vanilla extract (optional)
Combine all ingredients except zinc oxide in a pint-size or larger glass jar.
Fill a medium saucepan about 1/3 of the way with water. Put the jar in the pan of water and place over medium heat.
Stir occasionally to incorporate ingredients.
When all ingredients are completely melted, add the zinc oxide, stir in well. Pour into the jar, tube or tin you will use for storage.
Shake or stir a few times as it cools to make sure zinc oxide is mixed in well.
Use as you would regular sunscreen. Use within six months.