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We are nearing summer and with that comes numerous outdoor activities and lots of sun exposure. For the most part, we don't ever use sunscreen in our house. It's a known fact that we need a lot more vitamin D than we are getting in these days, with people staying indoors more often than not. In the Hippy household, we choose to get our sun exposure smartly.
We go out during the morning and evening hours rather than at high noon when the sun is at its strongest. We wear sun appropriate clothing and hats when needed and even choose to hang out in the shade when the sun is starting to get too intense. Trees are my most often sought after sunscreen. When we don't have these luxuries around or it's the beginning of the sun season and my skin needs some time to ready itself, I usually keep my own homemade sunscreen handy just in case. I love knowing exactly what is in my products, especially since I use them on our son too.
Many conventional sunscreens contain toxic ingredients
Many conventional sunscreens sold at your local grocery and convenience stores contain toxic ingredients including endocrine disrupting chemicals, that experts say are changing us for the worst. Studies have shown that the use of these sunscreens may, in fact, promote skin cancer growth and free radical production. Since sunscreen's introduction into society, skin cancer rates haven't actually gone down. In fact, skin cancer rates have risen since the introduction of sunscreen and the FDA has even been caught saying “The FDA is not aware of data demonstrating that sunscreen use alone helps to prevent skin cancer”.
Diet can improve the skin's resistance to the sun
Pretty much every illness that our body gets, is affected by what our body ingests, including our diet. Our skin is the largest organ in our body making it just as susceptible to a poor diet as any of our other organs. A diet that is low in antioxidants and high in over processed foods will make your skin much more susceptible to sunburns and damage. In general, fruits and vegetables are foods high in antioxidants and help us fight free radicals and sun damage, while foods such as meat, dairy products, simple carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods cause inflammation and can contribute to making our sun damage worse. Just by eating a whole foods diet that contains foods rich in antioxidants, you can help aid your skin's resistance to the sun's harmful rays. Some foods that have been known to help your body aid in sun protection are:
- Berries – strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, pomegranate, etc. – most berries are all extremely high in antioxidants and have been known to contain sun protecting properties in them. Makes sense since they are all ready for eating during the heat of the summer!
- Beans, nuts, legumes
- Green veggies
Sun protection via natural ingredients
Did you know that many of the unrefined
- Raspberry seed oil – This is the most popular of oils to use for sun protection! Jam packed with a huge amount of antioxidants, raspberry seed oil has an estimated SPF of 28-50.
- Wheat germ oil – This ultra nourishing oil has an SPF around 20
- Unrefined coconut oil – Coconut oil is a prized oil in skin care and hair care. It is used in everything from oil pulling to body butter. Coconut oil not only has antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-aging properties, but it also contains an SPF of roughly 5-10.
- Shea butter, Cocoa butter, Mango butter – All of these butters are great for your skin and help aid in repair and rejuvenation, but they also contain an SPF of 6-15
- Hemp seed oil, Avocado oil, Sunflower oil, Almond Oil – All great oils to deeply moisturize the skin as well as heal scars and lessen wrinkles, these oils also have SPF's that range from 5-15.
- Zinc oxide (non-nanoparticle) – a mineral that is created by oxidizing zinc. Zinc oxide provides full spectrum coverage from UVA and UVB long and short waves. Zinc oxide also has natural anti-inflammatory properties, making it a great addition to all sorts of healing creams on the market. Depending on the percentage you use of Zinc oxide, you can increase the amount of sun protection in your recipe.
Homemade Natural Sunscreen
- 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp. shea butter
- 1/4 unrefined coconut oil
- 1 Tbsp. carrier oil (I use 1 tsp. raspberry seed oil, 1 tsp. hemp seed oil, and 1 tsp. avocado oil)
- 1/4 cup beeswax pastilles
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. non-nano zinc oxide (this can be adjusted based upon the SPF you are trying to achieve. I used roughly a 15% addition, see this chart here to adjust your recipe to your own needs.)
- 1 tsp. vitamin e
- 30 drops lavender essential oil
- 2 oz twist up tubes
- In a double boiler melt butter, coconut oil, and beeswax.
- Once melted, remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the liquid oils and essential oils.
- Wearing a mask to cover your mouth/nose (or just your t-shirt covering your nose) mix in the zinc oxide. It is best not to breathe in the zinc oxide powder.
- I like to stir the mixture well prior to pouring to be sure that the zinc oxide is mixed evenly. Pour into containers and store in a cool dark location when not in use. I use these 2 oz. twist up tubes for easy application!