DIY Sunscreen - Really!

Hopefully you have heard by now that most chemical sunscreens found in stores are loaded with chemicals that are toxic to the human body. Sun exposure is a tricky thing, because too much is obviously not good for us. The body has been given a mechanism to tell us when to get out of the sun, because our skin starts to burn after awhile. A little bit of sun exposure is actually really good for us, because our body knows how to convert cholesterol in our skin into vitamin D3, which is a vitamin we all probably need more of in naturally occuring forms like sunshine and real food. 

However, we all know that there are times when we will be in the sun all day, whether it's a vacation on a sunny beach, bright days on a ski slope, or a day full of outdoor activities in the summer, there are times when we know we will exceed the limits of "responsible sun exposure" and be in the sun most of the day (willfully or not!). On those days, we need some form of sun block. 

But what to do if you're committed (like me) to not using any toxic chemicals on your skin? 

I have a solution!

I know all these natural homemade things make people super skeptical - for good reason. We don't want to trade something out if it isn't gonna work. However, I have personally tried the following recipe while we were in Jamaica a few weeks ago, and it really does work! 

  • I used an old empty lotion bottle about 8oz, 
  • and filled it with roughly 1 cup melted coconut oil
    (which I melted with my hair dryer. classy, right?)
  • and then I dropped the whole 5ml bottle of carrot seed oil (about 85 drops) into the container, 
  • and added 20 drops of lavender, and then shook well to mix. Ta-da!
Coconut oil melts at 76 degrees, so if it hardened in our hotel room I just set the bottle outside for a few minutes and it liquefied so I could use it.

I purchased a natural sunscreen with zinc oxide in it at a health food store, because I didn't want to mess with mixing the zinc in and wearing a mask, etc. I would put a few swipes of the zinc sunscreen on the most exposed areas (shoulders, face, ears, etc), and then use my homemade sunscreen all over. I feel like using the Carrot-Coconut oil sunscreen helped thin out and spread the zinc (which is extremely hard and gross to rub in!) over my skin much easier. 

When you use this sunscreen, you have to remember to reapply! As usual with oils, early and often is the key! Apply at least 15 mins before sun exposure, and reapply every 1-2 hours, or after being in water.

 The only time I got burned in Jamaica was when it was a cloudy afternoon, and I was naive and thought that I wouldn't get burned if it was overcast. So I didn't reapply sunscreen for about 4 hours, and got nice and pink on my legs, stomach, shoulders, and nose.  I'll share what I did about that sunburn in another post on another day!