Here is a version of the sun screen oil I make. I use this oil when I am going to be out in the sun for an extended period. I think a home made oil/lotion like this is far superior to using the commonly available toxic sun screens. Of course you will need to be sensible and follow certain precautions.
The sun can and will burn and damage your skin if you don’t respect it. Exposing your bare skin to the sun in the summer for an extended period between the hours of 11:00am to 2:00pm (10am to 3pm in New Zealand) during the summer months is not a good idea for most people with Caucasian skin types. If you have been cooped up all winter inside and in clothes, when summer comes it is a good idea to slowly introduce your skin to the sun outside those hours where it is most intense. Use an oil like the one from this recipe (below) and you will greatly help protect your skin from the sun and you may also find your skin develops its natural tan quicker than is usual.
- 2 tablespoon – Coconut oil (SPF 0)
- 3 tablespoon – Cocoa butter/oil (SPF 0)
- .5 tablespoon – Jojoba oil (SPF 4)
- 1 tablespoon – Red raspberry seed oil (SPF 28 to 50)
- 2 tablespoon – Shea butter (SPF 4-6)
- 10 drops – Lavender essential oil
- 1/2 teaspoon – Vitamin E oil concentrate (33,000 IU)
- 2 tablespoons – grated Natural Bee wax (as a hardener), may require more
- 5 drops – Grapefruit Seed Extract (aka. Citrus Seed Extract) – as a preservative
A double-boiler. If you don’t have an actual double-boiler (which is likely) you can use a small saucepan and a larger one as a DIY double-boiler. Put water into the larger saucepan and then place the smaller saucepan into it. There should be at least 2 inches (6cm) difference in the radius of the saucepans (which means you will have at least a 1 inch gap between the rims of the pots when one is inside the other, although more gap will make it easier). Only put enough water in to surround the inner pot without making the water flood over the edge of the larger/outer pot.
A glass jar with a lid. You will need one or more jars large enough to take the end product. I find that the small baby food jars work well, as they are not too heavy, are sturdy, and hold enough for many days out in the sun.
A refrigerator. This helps with cooling samples of the product rapidly in order to test the final (room temp) consistency.
Melt the beeswax, cocoa butter, and shea butter in your double boiler. Add the liquid oils (lavender, vitamin E, grapefruit seed, jojoba). Mix well. Place about a tablespoon of the mix into a small vessel such as an egg cup. Put this in the refrigerator for a few minutes. After a few minutes check the consistency of the mix. It should be at about room temperature. If it is not firm enough, try adding more beeswax and test again.
Please note that the measurements are NOT fixed. You can change the as you like. Please explore and come up with a recipe which works for you. If you don’t have any of the oils or are still sourcing them, feel free to mix and match with other ones in the recipe.
Cocoa butter will soften and melt at about 89 to 93°F. Coconut oil will liquefy at at 76°F, and will start getting soft a little below this. Shea butter will melt at 89 to 95°F. So the more cocoa and shea butter in the mix (relative to coconut oil and the other liquid oils), the firmer the end product will be. All three are very good for the skin, but from use over many years I get the impression that cocoa butter works slightly better at assisting the skin to tan rather than burn (at least on my body with my skin type).
The Jojoba has a natural sun block factor, although it is very low (SPF 4). Red raspberry oil is reputed to have an excellent SPF rating (SPF 28 to 50). I am still in the process of triple checking that this data is accurate and validated.
Jojoba and red raspberry oil are both liquid at relatively low temperatures. So, if you wish to have more than about 10-20% of the mix made up of these oils, and you wish to have an end product that is more like a cream rather than a liquid then you can add a little natural bees wax. The wax will help to harden the oils.
Other oils & botanicals with Sun Protection Factor
Here is a list of other oils that are considered to have a low level of sun protection factor. You can mix and match these into your recipe. Please keep in mind that there is no easy way to determine the actual SPF of any sun lotion you make yourself. Various factors will influence the final result, including how much of any given ingredient you put in there. I imagine these SPF ratings apply when the substance is used 100% pure (i.e. at full concentration, without other ingredients).
What should also be noted is that the SPF rating of a natural botanical oil is not an accurate indication of how effectively it will protect your skin (and the DNA therein) from UV damage. These oils do far more than block solar radiation. They can actually help the skin protect itself from damage at a biological/biochemical level. This quote gives an example of how tea extract protects the skin beyond its mere SPF rating: “For example, in spite of minimal SPF, tea extract containing polyphenols such as (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) has been shown to protect against UV-induced DNA damage and immune suppression, in part through its ability to reduce oxidative stress and inhibit NF-kB. The addition of botanical antioxidants and vitamins C and E to a broad-spectrum sunscreen may further decrease UV-induced damage compared with sunscreen alone.”*1
- Hemp seed oil – SPF 6
- Shea Butter – Cinnaminic Acid – SPF 6
- Macadamia oil – SPF 6
- Sesame seed oil – SPF 4
- Green / Black tea extract
- Pansy extract
- Coffee extract
1 Quote reference: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19675555