Sunscreen is a great way to protect your skin from the sun's rays and avoid lifelong sun damage. But with so many options on the shelves, it can be difficult to choose the right UV protection for your skin. Perhaps you'd even prefer to skip conventional store options altogether for an all-natural option.
If you're curious about exploring DIY natural sunscreen, here's what you need to know about ingredients with natural sun-protective properties—plus a DIY sunscreen recipe you can make at home.
Natural Ingredients with SPF
Sun protection factor (SPF), antioxidants, and ingredients that feel comfortable on the skin are all important when building your own DIY sunscreen recipe.
Let's start with natural oils. There are several that contain SPF and other advantageous properties. According to research published in Pharmacognosy Research:
- Olive and coconut oils contain an approximate SPF value of 7.
- Lemongrass and peppermint oils contain an SPF of 6.
- Lavender oil contains an SPF of 5.
As Skin Cancer Foundation states, broad-spectrum sunscreen (a sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays) must contain an SPF of at least 15. As you can see, none of these oils alone provide as high an SPF as you are probably looking for, but they can deliver incidental sun protection and make good base ingredients for a DIY sunscreen recipe.
Some ingredients you can add to that base include:
- Plant peptides such as squalene and allantoin. According to a study published in Pharmacognosy Reviews, plant peptides support the natural peptides in the skin responsible for sun protection.
- Raspberry and plum oils. Antioxidants found in these ingredients help to protect the skin from the appearance of sun damage.
- Green and black teas. Tea is rich in antioxidants and has been shown to visibly reduce damage formed after UV exposure.
- Aloe vera. You know the gel or lotion you usually keep on hand for soothing a sunburn? It may also have a prophylactic effect if used before you head out into the sun.
DIY Sunscreen Recipe
To create your own natural sunscreen, the first step is choosing your ingredients. Then, in a clean glass jar, combine one part of each of your chosen components. Feel free to add 2-3 drops of your favorite essential oil for scent if you like. Shake well to combine, and store in a cool, dry place.
Unfortunately, herbal ingredients can't deliver the same sun protection as conventional physical-barrier sunscreens, which use ingredients such as zinc oxide. (Though, you can add a teaspoon or two of powdered zinc to your recipe if you'd like!) If you do decide to use a DIY sunscreen recipe, be sure to follow safe sun exposure guidelines to protect your skin.
Do you have a DIY sunscreen recipe you love? Tag us @toms_of_maine on Instagram!
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Why It's Good
Following a simple DIY sunscreen recipe could help to provide a little extra sunscreen protection for you and your family.