Sunscreens have become an integral part of skincare regime in recent times, especially amidst raising awareness about sunburn and skin cancer. However, not many are aware that what we apply as a protective agent on the skin is actually a toxic substance to both the environment and health.
Several scientific studies have proven that sunscreens that are commercially available are mostly chemical-laden. Either they’ve mineral ingredients like titanium or zinc dioxides which act as physical barriers against harmful sun rays, or they contain chemical ingredients like oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate.
Side Effects Of Using Synthetic Sunscreens
Prolonged use of sunscreen can negatively affect your body and the environment in various ways.
- Hormonal disturbances: Almost all sunscreens contain the chemical oxybenzone, a UV filter, which can mess with the endocrine system in both men and women. It can lead to estrogen and thyroid imbalance in women and cause a reduction in sperm count in men.
- Risk of skin cancer: Studies have proved that a popular derivative of vitamin A, retinyl palmitate found in sunscreens can even hasten the growth of skin cancer cells. Particularly among children and women who are lactating or pregnant, sunscreen use is not advised due to the adverse effects.1
- Environmental hazards: Recent research has also found out that sunscreen being washed off from the bodies of swimmers and divers are promoting the destruction of coral reefs. Oxybenzone can suffocate and destroy corals thereby leading to the endangerment of aquatic life.2
What Goes Into A Homemade Sunscreen
Ther’s no need to spend money on organic sunscreens which claim to be free from toxins when you can make one right at home. If you are a health-conscious individual, you will be more than happy to use this homemade, toxin-free sunscreen that won’t harm your health in any manner. Below are the ingredients and their uses.
1. Coconut Oil
Unlike sunscreen, unprocessed coconut oil on application allows UVB rays that are necessary for vitamin D synthesis to enter your skin. It strengthens the skin and makes it less prone to sunburn. However, it’s important to use oil that’s pure and not processed. It even has an SPF of 4–7.3
2. Shea Butter
Shea butter has incredible moisturizing properties. It contains cinnamic acid that has strong anti-inflammatory, antibacterial. It has mild sun protective properties too that can prevent skin damage from excessive exposure to the sun.
3. Non-Nano Zinc Oxide
Although zinc oxide is a broad-spectrum sun blocker that can reflect UVA, UVB and UVC rays. Many sunscreen lotions use nanoparticles of zinc oxide which are harmful to your health on skin penetration or inhalation. Using only non-nano sized zinc oxide particles are safer as they don’t penetrate the skin but give you overall sun protection.4
Beeswax is truly a gift from Mother Nature for total skin care. Its rich vitamin A content and moisturizing effect improves skin texture. It forms a layer against allergens and is very soothing for skin that’s already sunburnt. It gives the homemade sunscreen its water-resistance. It has a strong antioxidant and germicidal property too.5
5. Almond Oil
Almond oil packed with proteins, vitamins B and E and healthy fats. Studies have proved that daily application of almond oil o the skin can provide sun protection as well as reverse the signs of aging.6
Homemade Sunscreen Recipe
In addition to the ingredients below, you would need a double boiler and a mason jar to prepare this cream at home.
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup shea butter
- 2 tablespoons of non-nano zinc oxide
- 1 tablespoon beeswax
- 1 tablespoon of almond oil
- Melt coconut oil, shea butter, and beeswax together in the double boiler until they liquefy completely.
- Stir in zinc oxide and almond oil for 5 minutes with your mouth and nose covered to prevent inhalation of zinc oxide.
- Pour into the mason jar and store in a dry cool spot. The cream will thicken on cooling.
Apply the cream daily or whenever you are out in the sun. As the ingredients are all natural, your skin will thank you for using this homemade sunscreen.
|↑1||Latha, M. S., Jacintha Martis, V. Shobha, Rutuja Sham Shinde, Sudhakar Bangera, Binny Krishnankutty, Shantala Bellary, Sunoj Varughese, Prabhakar Rao, and BR Naveen Kumar. “Sunscreening agents: a review.” The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology 6, no. 1 (2013): 16.|
|↑2||Downs, Craig A., Esti Kramarsky-Winter, Roee Segal, John Fauth, Sean Knutson, Omri Bronstein, Frederic R. Ciner et al. “Toxicopathological effects of the sunscreen UV filter, Oxybenzone (Benzophenone-3), on coral planulae and cultured primary cells and its environmental contamination in Hawaii and the US Virgin Islands.” Archives of environmental contamination and toxicology 70, no. 2 (2016): 265-288.|
|↑3||Kaur, Chanchal Deep, and Swarnlata Saraf. “In vitro sun protection factor determination of herbal oils used in cosmetics.” Pharmacognosy research 2, no. 1 (2010): 22.|
|↑4||Plum, Laura M., Lothar Rink, and Hajo Haase. “The essential toxin: impact of zinc on human health.” International journal of environmental research and public health 7, no. 4 (2010): 1342-1365.|
|↑5||Myftari, B., Juca, B., Malaj, L., Toska, V., & Myftari, E. (2014). Evaluation of how beeswax of Albanian origin affects the SPF of sun cream. In Proceedings of the Eighth Conference on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants of Southeast European Countries (8th CMAPSEEC) 19-22 May 2014, Durrës, Albania (pp. 315-320). Association for Medicinal and Aromatic Plants of Southeast European Countries (AMAPSEEC).|
|↑6||Sultana, Yasmin, Kanchan Kohli, M. Athar, R. K. Khar, and M. Aqil. “Effect of pre‐treatment of almond oil on ultraviolet B–induced cutaneous photoaging in mice.” Journal of cosmetic dermatology 6, no. 1 (2007): 14-19.|