Natural Sunscreen is top of my list of things to take in my bag whilst out and about or on holiday. I make 30 ml bottles so they are easily portable and I can have one in my handbag, nappy bag, beach bag and pool bag!
When you are looking for a sunscreen for you and your family, you want one that is going to protect and nourish the skin. Most sunscreens on the market contains all manner of things and certainly do not nourish the skin. The toxic impact of slathering all that cream all through the day is really high. Also we forget how incredibly nourishing the suns rays really are. Fundamental to our immune system is being able to produce vitamin d from the UVB rays which most sunscreen’s filter out. Going natural is easy and very effective. However the best and safest sun protectors are clothing like swim t’shirts and staying in the shade- hence the umbrellas rain or shine here in Hong Kong!
There is a lot of information about different carrier oil’s and their SPF (Sun Protection Factor). Carrot seed oil comes out pretty high (source). With Beta Carotene and Vitamin E, both powerful antioxidants, they can prevent your skin from burning in the sun. This is true for both taking them orally and applied topically as a natural sunscreen. Carrot seed oil is a powerful antioxidant when cold pressed (source). It is particularly good at preventing fat oxidation. This is useful when applied to skin, because all cells are made of fat and protein. Protecting and nourishing our skin at the same time; what we want our sunscreen to do. Adding other oils can help boost its spf and nutrient levels; especially those that contain Vitamin E like Wheat-Germ and Avocado.
Coconuts have been described as the original sunscreen. With a lower SPF factor but containing many other benefits, it is an ideal addition. Coconut oils contain Medium chain fatty acids, and are a perfect fit providing a protective fatty layer to the skin. Plus the anti bacterial and microbial benefits make it a match made in heaven! Bacteria help to balance the skins external and internal environment, clearing away the dead cells and also stimulating new ones- a deep rich tan can be achieved without damage by including coconut oil in the mix.
This blend on its own is a great product but you can add essential oils which helps it to double up as a skin protector/ bug repellent/after sun.
Lavender is a natural pain reliever, calming, antimicrobial and antiseptic perfect to ease burns and inflammation and balance and cleanse the skin. Gives it that comforting herby lavender smell.
Chamomile is also a pain reliever and calming. It is also soothing and relaxing. Gives a warm sweet note too.
Geranium is anti-inflammatory and regulating. It is a powerful smell that insects hate but blended with the above give a nice rosy-minty hint to the oil
In the past I have often also added Neroli (very restorative for skin), Frankincense (again to restore and heal skin), lemongrass (protects from bugs) and grapefruit (although not great in the sunscreen it awesome in a bug repellent and aftersun). Please consult a professional Naturopath or Aromatherapist if worried about using essential oils.
Recipe for Natural Sunscreen
In a 30 ml bottle mix the following;
5ml Carrot seed oil
15 ml Coconut oil
15ml Sweet Almond Oil
(optional other oils include; 5ml Avocado oil 5ml Wheatgerm oil)
5-10 drops Lavender essential oil (lesser amount for young children)
5 drops Chamomile (Roman) essential oil
1-2 drops Geranium essential oil
(add some rescue remedy too if you like)
Apply often, safe for all ages (for babies best to use plain oil blend) especially if feeling burning, stay in shade at hottest times of the day or covered. See 5 ways to Stay Sun Safe for more info. Eating foods rich in carotenes (sweet potato, carrots, pumpkin- yellow/orange foods, also spinach and collards) and Vitamin E (avocado, nuts and seeds) will help protect you from the inside. Enjoy the sun but NEVER EVER Burn.