Making natural sunscreens

Amany Abdel-Moneim , Tuesday 25 Jul 2023

Natural sunblocks can be rich in antioxidants and other beneficial compounds that can help to protect and nourish the skin.

natural sunscreens
natural sunscreens


Tired of spending fortune on pricey sunscreens that are loaded with chemicals? If the answer is yes, it could be time to consider making your own natural sunblock at home. 

Not only is it a cost-effective alternative, but it’s also a healthier option for your skin and the environment. 

Many commercial sunscreens are loaded with harmful chemicals that can irritate the skin and harm the environment. In contrast, natural sunblock can be a safer alternative and provide broad-spectrum protection against harmful UV rays without harmful chemicals while being personalised to your skin type and preferences.

Natural sunblocks can be rich in antioxidants and other beneficial compounds that can help to protect and nourish the skin. Some ingredients like coconut oil, shea butter, and aloe vera gel can soothe and moisturise the skin, while others like red raspberry seed oil and carrot seed oil have natural SPF properties. 

Making your own natural sunscreen is easier than you might think. 

Here are some basic steps to get you started:

Choose your base:

You’ll need a base ingredient to mix with your mineral sunscreen. Options include coconut oil, shea butter, and beeswax, among others.


Choose your mineral sunscreen:

Powdered zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are the most common mineral sunscreens used in natural sunblocks. 


Add other ingredients:

Depending on your skin type and preferences, you can add ingredients like red raspberry seed oil, carrot seed oil, aloe vera gel, and essential oils.


Mix and store:

Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly and store your homemade sunblock in a clean, airtight container. Be sure to label the container with the date and SPF level.

While natural sunblocks can be effective, they may not provide the same level of protection as commercial sunscreens.


Here are some tips for using natural sunblocks effectively:


Test for sensitivity:

Before using your homemade sunblock on your body, conduct a patch test to make sure you are not allergic to any of the ingredients.


Apply liberally:

Apply your natural sunblock generously to all exposed skin at least 15 minutes before sun exposure.


Reapply frequently:

No matter how effective your sunblock is, it will eventually wear off. Reapply every two hours, or more frequently if you are sweating or swimming.


Use common sense:

Sunblocks are just one part of sun protection. Seek shade during peak sun hours and wear protective clothing like hats and sunglasses.


Here are some simple and cost-effective recipes for a natural sunblock: 


Coconut oil and shea butter:

Melt half a cup of coconut oil, a quarter of a cup of shea butter, and a quarter of a cup of beeswax pellets together in a glass bowl over a pot of boiling water. Once melted, remove from the heat and stir in two tablespoons of powdered zinc oxide and ten drops of lavender essential oil. Pour the mixture into a clean, airtight container and let it cool to room temperature. Label the container with the date and SPF level. This recipe can provide an estimated SPF of 15 to 20.


Aloe vera:

Mix 50 ml of mineral water, one teaspoon of aloe vera gel, and a half teaspoon of sunflower oil to make a lotion. Add three teaspoons of powdered zinc oxide for SPF 15, and if your skin is normal to dry, add four drops of Vitamin E oil to moisten the mixture.


Almond oil and raspberry:

Combine half a cup of almond oil, a quarter of a cup of coconut oil, a quarter of a cup of beeswax pellets, one teaspoon of raspberry seed oil, one teaspoon of carrot seed oil, and two tablespoons of shea butter in a large glass jar. Fill a medium saucepan with a couple of inches of water and place on the stove over medium heat. Put a lid loosely on the jar and place it in the pan with the water. Shake or stir the jar occasionally to mix the ingredients as they melt.

When all the ingredients are completely melted, stir in two tablespoons of powdered zinc oxide then pour into the jar you will use for storage. Stir a few times as the mixture cools to make sure that the zinc oxide is incorporated. Store in a cool dry place or in the refrigerator to increase shelf life.

* A version of this article appears in print in the 27 July, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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