The medical community and the beauty industry will tell you the use of sunscreen daily is a must. Yet, recent research is beginning to sound the alarm on many of the ingredients found in traditional sunscreens.
Of course, the best way to know what type of product you’re using for sure is to make it yourself! With just 5 simple and natural ingredients, you will be able to make your own sunscreen without the harmful chemicals.
The Sun Is GOOD!!!
We weren’t meant to live in darkness. The sun has numerous benefits. In fact, for those who live in more northern climates where there is less exposure to the sun during the winter months, we have named seasonal depression a condition resulting from not getting enough sunlight. Some of the many benefits of the sun include:
- Circadian rhythm is built around the sun. We rise and sleep with the sun. The rhythm of our bodies is designed to operate with the sun’s light.
- Vitamin D helps our bodies absorb phosphorus and calcium which is great for building strong bones. In fact, there are vitamin D receptor sites throughout the body indicating it is helpful for more than just bone health!
- Improved mental, physical, and emotional health.
- Those who live in sunnier climates have less serious disease including:
- Less cancer
- Less heart disease
- Improved immune function
- Fewer cases of diabetes
- Better bone health
- More muscle strength
- Improved gut health
- Less risk of premature death
I want to be clear that I’m not saying you should have unlimited sun exposure. The sun’s rays can be very damaging with too much exposure. Yet, there are better and smarter ways to protect yourself once you feel you’re getting too much sun exposure.
Chemical Sunscreens vs Mineral Sunscreen
There are two types of industrial sunscreens found in stores, chemical and mineral. Chemical sunscreens are the most concerning when it comes to ingredient lists. Very little safety data is available on the chemicals being used. Oftentimes, professionals are just hoping that using them in small amounts is safe. However, long term use such as with daily sunscreen use on the face allows these toxins to build up in the body.
Most chemical sunscreens contain up to 12 ingredients that have been classified as unsafe. It is not just the skin that the chemicals are affecting. These ingredients have been found in blood plasma, urine, and even breast milk of those who use it. It can also be inhaled if aerosols are used or ingested when used on the lips. Oxybenzone is the most concerning chemical as it is easily absorbed by the skin and is known to mimic and disrupt hormones. All this information about dangerous chemicals in sunscreen is more than just a theory – it has been proven by a study done by the FDA. It states,
“Six active ingredients tested were absorbed into the body. Some continued to be elevated beyond the FDA’s threshold of concern for 3 weeks after the people in the study stopped putting them on their skin.
For example, blood concentrations of oxybenzone were more than 180 times the FDA’s level of concern after a single application of sunscreen.
After four days of sunscreen application, their blood concentration rose to 500 times the FDA’s level of concern. We’d like to hope this changed after a week or so, but oxybenzone was still present in their blood three weeks later.”
Mineral sunscreens are the other type of sunscreen available. These are said to be safe, and they can be if non-nano particles are used. Unfortunately, there are brands out there that make aerosol mineral sunscreen which can be just as dangerous as chemical sunscreen. Anything that is made in an aerosol likely has chemicals added to make it able to be sprayed and is best avoided. Non-nano mineral sunscreens, on the other hand, can provide good protection while preventing the skin from absorbing materials that could be harmful.
Risks Of Industrial Sunscreen
- Endocrine Disruption: 9 out of 15 chemicals found in traditional sunscreens are endocrine disruptors. Estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and thyroid hormone are all impacted by these chemicals.
- Increased Risk of Skin Cancer: Chemicals used in sunscreens are PABA derivatives which react with light and have been noted as a possible carcinogen. They are absorbed easily by the skin and cause mutations. The rate of skin cancer has actually increased since industrial sunscreens were introduced which is of note since we likely spend less time in the sun than our ancestors. Another indicator that something we are doing related to skin care isn’t quite right.
- Seed Oil Risks: Omega 6 fatty acids found in seed oils (canola, vegetable, sunflower, etc.) have been shown to react with sunlight and can damage the skin. It is best to avoid these types of oils for a number of reasons and your skin health is one of them!
What to do instead?
- Sunburn is our body’s warning signal – just because you’re not burning because of sunscreen use doesn’t mean your skin isn’t being damaged.
- Cover up – wear hats, long sleeves, find shade.
- Use zinc oxide sunscreen (non-nano). Check out the recipe to make your own below!
- Minimize unsaturated fatty acids (seed oils).
- Use coconut oil – indigenous tribes in tropical regions use coconut oil to moisturize their skin and protect it from the sun. It can also be used to treat sunburn.
How To Make Tallow Sunscreen
- 1 oz. beeswax
- 2 oz. tallow or tallow balm
- 2 oz. virgin coconut oil
- 3 oz. liquid oil, such as carrot seed, argan, jojoba, or olive (or a combination)
- 2 oz. non-nano zinc oxide
- Weigh all ingredients and place them in the top of a double boiler.
- On medium heat, melt and mix together ingredients.
- Allow mixture to cool slightly.
- When mixture just starts cool and thicken but is still pourable, put in storage container. I like to use a couple of 2oz glass jars to make it easier to get out than a deeper jar. You could also use silicone tubes.
- Allow to solidify and it’s ready for use!