Sunshine is wonderful. It’s bright, cheerful, and life giving. It makes you straighten up and smile. And it makes you want to go outside and play in the sprinklers. However, it will turn on you and give you bad sunburns if you are overexposed. It can also cause long term damage, which will not be seen immediately. It often takes several years to finally show up. It is best, when you know you are going to spend time outside, to protect your skin with a sunscreen or a sunblock.
There is a difference between a sunscreen and a sunblock. And the difference is obvious by the names. A sunscreen will help screen out some of the damaging UV rays and a sunblock will block the rays. A sunscreen will help moisturize and strengthen your skin. But it doesn’t keep you from burning after long exposure.
And if you need help treating a sunburn, please take a look at our article on Healing Sunburns with Essential Oils. It will help!
Making your sunscreen
Natural sunscreens are great to have on hand for when you go outside. There are specific essential oils that will help keep your skin nourished and moisturized.
- Essential oils: Lavender, Sandalwood, Palmarosa, Frankincense, Copaiba Balsam, Carrot Seed
- Carrier oils: Sesame Seed, Avocado, Sunflower Seed
Points of interest
- SPF, sun protection filter, comes in varying levels. Natural sunscreens generally obtain the lower levels like SPF 8. Some people have such fair skin that they need the stronger levels. If so, look for SPF 30 (or higher) sunblocks. The best natural sunscreens have minerals such as micronized titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. They act as reflective barriers to the sun. (3)
- Some people say that certain essential oils have a high SPF rating. That is sadly not true. They are very low and you need to be ready for that.
- The tannic acid in tea helps absorb UV rays.
- Zinc oxide is often used in sunscreens. Make sure you buy one intended for cosmetic use.
- You can make sunscreen by adding 2 teaspoons zinc oxide to 2 ounces of any face cream recipes for oily, dry, normal, combination, mature, or problem skin.
- Sesame oil and zinc oxide each have a medium SPF.
- Aloe Vera gel and/or juice rejuvenate and heal, especially in the case of light burns.
- Lavender oil heals and is good to use in sunburn prevention.
- Try not to spend excessive amounts of time in the sun, especially during the peak burn times of 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Stay balanced in your time outside so you get the fun benefits you need with fewer bad consequences.
- Hats are good to wear outside. Sitting in the shade helps. And everyone should really spend a little time under a tree every week.
- With the recipes below, if they do not call for any essential oils and you would like to add some, choose from the list above and add 5-20 drops, according to your preference. If the recipe calls for some heating, wait to add the essential oils until mixture has cooled down some.
- Always store these in a cool spot, unless the require refrigeration. If you know you will be outside for a lot of time and want your sunscreen with you, you can put it in a cooler to keep it at the temperature needed.
Here are a few recipes to try out. These are not sunblocks. The SPF on these recipes is very low. These are to help nourish your skin and to keep it from drying out too much. To get a sunblock with a high SPF, you’ll need to go elsewhere and if you have very fair skin, it would be better to get a commercially prepared sunblock.
- 1/3 cup Aloe Vera
- 1/3 cup Sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon Anhydrous Lanolin
- 5 grams Beeswax
- 20 drops Lavender oil
Melt the beeswax and lanolin in a double boiler. Add vegetable oil and heat to 140 degrees F. At the same time, warm the aloe vera to the same temperature. Take both mixtures from the stove and gradually add aloe vera to the oil while stirring slowly and constantly, until the mass is almost cold.Then add the Lavender and stir again.Pour into a 4 ounce container and store in the refrigerator. (5)
Sesame Oil Sunscreen
- 1/4 teaspoon Borax powder
- 1/2 cup hot, strong tea (use 2 or 3 regular tea bags, such as black or orange pekoe varieties, and strain well)
- 1/2 cup dark Sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon grated Beeswax
Dissolve the borax in the tea, stir well, and set aside. Mix together oil and beeswax in a glass measuring cup, then place in a pan with about 1-2 inches of water. Heat wax and oil over medium heat on the stove top until beeswax is melted (8-10 minutes), stirring occasionally. When wax has melted, remove from water bath. Slowly add the tea infusion, stirring briskly. Pour lotion into a clean container and cool completely before using. Apply to face and body before going out in the sun, and reapply every hour during your time outdoors. (6)
- 2 tablespoons Coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon Shea Butter
- 1/2 teaspoon Sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon Aloe Vera gel
- 2 teaspoon Zinc Oxide
Place the oils and shea butter in a small bowl over a saucepan of boiling water or double boiler and heat until shea butter is melted. Pour into a glass measuring cup and stir in aloe vera gel and the zinc oxide. Store in a 2 ounce, dark colored glass jar in the refrigerator. Discard after 6 months. (2)
Sun Protection Oil
- 1/2 cup Sesame oil or Avocado oil
- 1 tablespoon Wheat Germ oil
- 1 tablespoon Vitamin E oil
- 30 drops Lavender oil
- 10 drops Carrot Seed oil
Fill all the ingredients in a 4 ounce, dark colored glass bottle. Shake well. Don’t leave out in the sun because the heat will destroy the efficacy of the essential oils. This will help keep skin hydrated. Will not block sun. (5)
Sunscreen Body Oil
- 1/4 cup Jojoba Oil
- 1/4 cup Neem Oil
- 1/4 cup Aloe Vera juice
- 1/4 cups Sesame Oil
- 3 teaspoons Vitamin E oil
- 1 teaspoon Anhydrous Lanolin
Add all ingredients to container and shake vigorously before every use. Apply to entire body immediately before and repeatedly during sun exposure. Store in refrigerator. Discard after 5 months. (3)
Do you have a good, natural sunscreen that has great SPF? Please share with us in the comment section at the bottom of the page. We all would love to know! And now, go and relax somewhere outside. You deserve it.
- Natural Beauty at Home: More than 250 Easy-to-Use Recipes for Body, Bath, and Hair by Janice Cox
- Do It Gorgeously: How To Make Less Toxic, Less Expensive, and More Beautiful Products, by Sophie Uliano
- Organic Body Care Recipes: 175 Homemade Herbal Formulas for Glowing Skin & a Vibrant Self, by Stephanie Tourles
- Aromatherapy Handbook for Beauty, Hair, and Skin Care, by Erich Keller
- Naturally Healthy Hair: Herbal Treatments and Daily Care for Fabulous Hair, by Mary Beth Janssen
- Natural Beauty for All Seasons, by Janice Cox
- The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils: The Science of Advanced Aromatherapy, by Kurt Schnaubelt, Ph.D.