Why you should switch from store bought sunscreens
Most sunscreens contain ingredients which are damaging to our own bodies and to marine life. Sunscreens protect us from the sun by having either chemical or mineral UV filters. Chemical filters include: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate. Some studies have shown that chemical filters can act as endocrine disruptors, i.e. they interfere with our hormones by mimicking estrogen - not good! Chemical filters are associated with skin allergies and have been found in breast milk (showing how far these chemicals can penetrate our bodies). However, an in depth study into the potentially damaging effects of these chemical UV filters has yet to be conducted. But, there are also no studies that have proven them safe either.
Sunscreens which contain either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide have much lower toxicity concerns, as they form a physical barrier on the surface of your skin and do not penetrate the skin like chemical filters.
The damaging effect of sunscreen on our oceans
Whilst evidence is limited of the potentially damaging effects of chemical filters on us, the evidence for our oceans is far more compelling. Chemicals like oxybenzone (listed above), seep into the water when we are frolicking in the water, which is then absorbed by corals. These chemicals can interfere with coral reproduction and growth cycles, potentially leading to coral bleaching. These chemicals also end up in the water systems when we shower which eventually find their way to the ocean (another reason to switch all your personal care products to more eco-friendly alternatives). It is estimated that 14,000 tons of sunscreen enter our oceans each year.
Hawaii is the first region to take action against the damaging effects of sunscreen on our oceans, by passing a law in May banning the use of sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate.
Eco-friendly, all natural sunscreen DIY recipe
Making your own sunscreen is pretty easy and money saving. You can also add 2-3 tablespoons non-Nano Zinc Oxide to your favourite lotion as a quick-fix or follow the recipe below. The only extra item you may need to purchase is zinc oxide (which offers the majority UV protection) - all the other ingredients should be readily available in your kitchen or bathroom. The coconut oil and shea butter also offer some SPF protection in addition to the zinc oxide.
I have found other natural sunscreens to be really thick and difficult to rub in but I have found a recipe that gives a good consistency! This recipe gives moderate sun protection (SPF 10-15), but you can add in one more tablespoon of zinc oxide for increased UV protection. The sunscreen is not waterproof so you will have to reapply after you have been in the water.
- 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (organic)
- 1/4 cup raw, organic coconut oil
- 1/4 cup shea butter
- 2 tablespoons beeswax
- 2 tablespoons Zine Oxide (non-nano)
- Be careful not to inhale!
- Optional: few drops of essential oils or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- DO NOT USE CITRUS ESSENTIAL OILS AS THEY INCREASE SUN SENSITIVITY
- Add the olive oil, coconut oil, shea butter and beeswax to a double boiler (place in heat proof jar - place jar in hot water in a slow cooker)
- The smaller the beeswax the faster it will melt so cut into small pieces (I've left mine overnight to melt completely, just leave your slow cooker on Low with plenty of water in the water bath)
- Once all melted, remove from double boiler and leave to cool slightly (c. 10 mins)
- Stir in the vanilla extract/essential oils and Zinc Oxide
- Mix thoroughly
- Decant mixture into glass jars or left over bottles (the warmer it is the more runny the sunscreen)
There you have it you are ready to embrace your inner sun god or goddess! I would love to see your DIY sunscreen - remember to tag us @wildenest #wilde4theworld :)