These days, nobody needs to be told why protecting your skin from the sun is important. Unfortunately many of the available sunscreen products are not only expensive to buy but contain many harmful chemicals which, in the most serious of cases, may actually be exposing our bodies to the very things we are trying to protect them from in using sunscreens.
It is possible to make your own homemade herbal sunscreens which will not only save you money but give you greater peace of mind in knowing exactly what has gone into making them.
Certain natural products such as coconut oil and sesame oil have sun-blocking properties as do hemp oil, avocado oil, peanut oil and Shea butter. However, none of them are adequate on their own to give a high protection factor. Some sources claim that sesame oil for example, can block up to 30% of the sun’s rays, while coconut and peanut oil will block 20%. I am unable to source the scientific proof for these claims so I would suggest using them as a guide only.
To make your own herbal sunscreens you will need either titanium oxide or zinc oxide to give real sun-blocking power to your lotion. These are both naturally occurring chemicals and minerals although zinc oxide that is sold commercially is often synthetically produced. Both are widely available through the Internet or pharmacies. Here’s the recipe to make your own sunscreen at home.
Homemade Herbal Sunscreen Recipe
You will need the following ingredients to make your own natural herbal sunscreen.
- 4 oz carrier oil – avocado, coconut, hemp, sesame, peanut. These will act as skin hydrators and keep it moisturized and supple.
- ½ oz of beeswax or other emulsifying wax
- zinc oxide or titanium oxide powder
- essential oils – these are excellent for adding pleasant perfumes but need to be chosen carefully. Some essential oils increase the skin’s sensitivity in the sun and will weaken the SPF of your lotion.
Alternatively, you can use an existing favorite skin cream or lotion and give it sun-protecting qualities by mixing it as detailed below.
Procedure to Make the Herbal Sunscreen at Home
1.) Melt the wax in a saucepan or microwave and add all of the ingredients except the zinc oxide or titanium oxide powder. Mix well.
2.) Carefully measure out the zinc oxide or titanium oxide powder into a bowl or container using gloves and taking care not to inhale the powder. (See note below for measuring these powders)
3.) Slowly add the other pre-mixed ingredients, blending well as you go.
4.) Decant the mixture into a thoroughly cleaned dispenser or bottle.
There are tables available on the Internet which advise you what quantities of zinc oxide or titanium oxide to use in relation to the other ingredients. The resulting SPF will depend on this. As a rough guide 8oz of lotion will need 8 oz of zinc oxide to give an SPF of 10. The same quantities of titanium oxide will give a higher SPF of approximately 15.
How Effective are Homemade Herbal Sunscreens?
Homemade herbal sunscreens definitely work but be aware that natural sunscreens won’t last as long as the chemically loaded shop bought varieties so make small quantities at a time.
All of the SPF numbers given here are to be used as a guide only.
There are many endorsements for the efficacy of homemade sunscreens but all skin types respond differently and you will need to be your own judge of whether these lotions provide adequate sun protection.