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Homemade sunscreen? Yes, please.

on March 27, 2014

always wear sunscreen Hello everyone! (Especially those out there in blogland who have sent messages requesting a sunscreen recipe!). Sorry for the delay…I traveled last week to Denver to speak at the 22d annual ADAM Conference. I had two presentations, one on OSHA and laser safety and another on Marketing the Aesthetic practice. I met and/or got back in touch with some amazing people in the industry and I am always encouraged to see that there are great things happening in the field.

Back in Murfreesboro,  and back on point. Like I told the attendees at this years conference, I have found that the most success in marketing comes from marketing your own services, and much less from spending time marketing others products that have a high cost of goods sold (no profit margin, and no pay to promote someone else’s brand). We all know who they are. As a young professional, it made me crazy to spend time and money to promote other companies products. Then, as I grew professionally and gained a decade plus of experience actually treating skin, I found what alarmed me most were the ingredients in these products. My, my, my – clearly the FDA would never allow products with carcinogens (cancer causing) to be sold in the USA, right? Wrong! In fact, some of the ingredients in a well known retail line are banned in all European countries. Here’s a couple of hints: if you are told you need 6-8 steps for skincare, twice a day, every day – for the rest of your life. NO you don’t. If the same product line recommends a physical sunblock to be worn everyday after using their products, you should be concerned. You only need this because after using these products, your skin is in fact – more sensitive to light. Now, that’s scary!

So, what do you use? Well, for starters there are many oils and other natural ingredients that provide sun protection.  While most of these offer very low amounts of protection on their own, when added to your homemade sunscreen they nourish the skin and offer additional protection against the effects of excessive sun.

Shea butter – naturally protects the skin, making it absolutely perfect for use in a DIY sunscreen.

Coconut oil – contains natural SPF properties, and is available locally at Epicurean Olive Oil 

Take your pick from these oils: Jojoba oil, sunflower oil, or sesame oil – each one of these oils are easily absorbed into the skin and also provide natural sun protection. I like Jojoba oil for skin, but have also used sesame oil from Epicurean as well.

Vitamin E oil -is a natural preservative as well as nourishes and moisturizes skin. If you skip this ingredient, your sunscreen will most likely not be good for more than 2 weeks. With it – expect a 6 month shelf life.

Eucalyptus & lavender essential oils are very popular in DIY sunscreens  eucalyptus has a very low natural SPF and lavender is great for soothing and repairing skin. In my last batch, I used tea tree oil because of it’s amazing antibacterial/antifungal properties, as well as the fact that it is a natural bug repellent. For whatever reason, my kids and I attract bug bites. Almost any essential oil is okay, except – DO NOT use Citrus essential oils! Citrus essential oils will increase sensitivity to light.

Zinc oxide (non nano)  a powder form non-toxic, non-irritating, and very effective broad spectrum sunblock. The particles sit on the outermost layer of your skin, reflecting, scattering and absorbing UVA and UVB rays, protecting your skin. Be sure to use non nano zinc oxide to DIY your homemade sunscreen.

Important disclaimer: Nano or micronized zinc oxide has been treated to reduce the size of its particles, creating an ultrafine powder. We like it because when it is added to sunscreens it does not leave a white film on the skin. The problem with this is that the particles are so small they can enter the body through the skin, causing potential health problems. So, be sure to purchase a non nano zinc oxide that has particle sizes as large as possible. (I use 330nm). You must resist the urge to smell it when you get it the first time. I know how women, especially Mom’s are! This is a respiratory risk and this risk disappears as soon as it is mixed into a liquid. It is safe to be applied to the skin, but not to inhale! 

How to get the desired SPF

Different amounts of zinc oxide are needed depending on what SPF you want. Once you have chosen the SPF a little math is involved. The zinc oxide must be a certain percentage of the weight of your ingredients (before adding the zinc oxide). For this reason, it’s easiest to use a kitchen scale when making your sunscreen. For example, if you have 2 ounces of lotion and you’d like to make SPF 10 sunscreen, according to the values below you will need to add .2 ounces of zinc oxide to the lotion. Use the zinc oxide recommendations below.

SPF 6-11: Use 10% zinc oxide

SPF 12-19: Use 15% zinc oxide

SPF >20: Use 20% zinc oxide

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz. coconut oil
  • 0.8 oz. shea butter
  • 0.1 oz. jojoba
  • 0.1 oz. Vitamin E oil
  • 30 drops essential oils, optional – I used 15 lavender, 10 eucalyptus, 5 tea tree
  • zinc oxide powder (I use .8 ounces to get an spf 40)

Directions:

Add coconut oil, shea butter, and jojoba oil to a double boiler. Heat gently until the shea butter melts. Remove from the double boiler and allow to cool.  Add zinc oxide, Vitamin E oil, and optional essential oils to the other ingredients. Stir well to combine.  At this point, you can store it in a dark colored jar in the refrigerator, OR – pour into shaped soap forms (this is the method I use). I allow them to harden, pop them out and then wrap them in wax paper and store in the fridge. I like this because you can take one out for each use needed. To use, hold in hands and as it warms up it will soften into a lotion.   (Ice cube trays work great too).

 

Here’s another hint: if you purchase zinc oxide, you can add the powder to any favorite lotion and turn it into a sunscreen!

sunscreen

 

Rewarding readers who read the entire post. Take 10% off your next service if received before 4/3/14! Mention DIY sunscreen to receive the discount.


2 responses to “Homemade sunscreen? Yes, please.

  1. How did you come up with that? Great idea!
    Have you been using? What’s your review on it.

    Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi there! Thanks for your comment and question. I have been testing homemade sunscreen recipes forever. With my own sensitive skin, I have few options on the market and wear sunscreen every day. With the opening of a local Olive oil store (fresh pressed and fantastic), came the ability to have Coconut oil in liquid form, and I found that not having to heat it first to melt it from a solid seems to provide a slightly better consistency for both my body butter (see recipe in this blog too, or on http://www.holdingherown.com) and my DIY sunscreen. I am skin type 1, never holding color – and this recipe has not failed me, with intense sun exposure – living in middle tennessee. Thanks again and I look forward to your input. -Lori

      Like

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