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Make Your Own Sunscreen: Safe for You; Safe for the Environment!

Make Your Own Sunscreen: Safe for You; Safe for the Environment!

Making your own sunscreen is simple, quick and easy!

 

Why Make Your Own Sunscreen?

Let’s face it, if you’re reading this blog post you most likely have an interest in living a healthier, toxin-free lifestyle. And that is amazing. Conventional sunscreens are wreaking havoc on our bodies and the oceans and waterways! Craig Downs, PhD, refers to sunscreen residue left in the ocean as swimmer pollution and rightfully so! He informs the public on the threat sunscreen has on coral reef.

Oxybenzone is one of the most common ingredients in sunscreen. It was found by Downs to cause bleaching of coral reefs. It damages the DNA in reef larvae and causes it to encase itself into a stony skeleton, when it shouldn’t have a skeleton at all.  This chemical can get into the ocean even if swimmers don’t actually enter the waters.

“Besides washing off swimmers’ skin and into the water, sunscreen can get into the sea by other means. Many sunscreen ingredients are readily absorbed through the skin. Oxybenzone, one of the most common ultraviolet-blocking chemicals in sunscreen, for example, can be detected in urine within 30 minutes of application. When you flush the toilet, or wash off sunscreen in the shower, chemicals from the lotion enter the sewer. For towns near coral reefs and without sophisticated sewage treatment and management systems, this pollution is rather inevitable.” [1]

I don’t know about you, but Oxybenzone, does not sound like something I want on my body or in the oceans.

So, conventional sunscreens are killing our reefs and that’s a bummer.  You may think - I’ll just buy organic!  Well I hate to say this, but that doesn’t mean your free from killing the reefs. Some plant-based oils can be toxic to reefs organisms especially arthropods, a very common type of ingredients found in organic products. Try to stay clear of neem, eucalyptus and lavender oils. Beeswax is also a no-go for the ocean because it could be contaminated with harmful fungicides.  Yes, there are organic fungicides used on organic materials and while they are organic they are still not good for the ocean. 

Say you have no plans to go in the ocean.  You may think no harm will come from picking up some sunscreen at your local drug store.  But, Oxybenzone has been under the microscope in relation to its link to cancer.  It is a hormone disruptor - which in the long run can lead to lots of bad health effects. Kendra Pierre-Lois writes a great debate analyzing both sides of the link to sunscreen application and cancer. [2]

When we make our own sunscreen, we can control all the little details that make up our product and we know where we will be when we use it to help determine proper ingredients. Maybe you know that you won’t be going swimming, perhaps you’re road tripping across a dry land mass and you’d like to use beeswax in your sunscreen. Maybe you have your own bee-hive and you know the beeswax is toxin-free.  But, if you know you’re going in the ocean, please be aware of what you are wearing when you enter it. There are many factors to consider, and we’ve got two recipes you can follow depending on where you’re going!  

Make it! 

First let me tell you about the active SPF ingredient - “Zinc is an essential mineral that we actually need in our bodies for optimal function, and is the only active sunscreen ingredient approved by the FDA for infants under six months.”[3]  Zinc Oxide can protect you from the sun, and is actually good for your skin!

The amount of Zinc Oxide you use, is totally up to you!  While most of the ingredients we will be using have a natural SPF of 5 or higher, the amount of Zinc Oxide powder will really determine how powerful you’d like the SPF to be!

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 0.2 ounces of Zinc Oxide to the lotion. Use the Zinc Oxide recommendations below.[4]

  • 2-5 SPF: Use 5% Zinc Oxide
  • 6-11 SPF: Use 10% Zinc Oxide
  • 12-19 SPF: Use 15% Zinc Oxide
  • >20 SPF: Use 20% Zinc Oxide

If this seems like too much, don’t worry we’ve got you.  We also crafted a super shortcut recipe for anyone that already has our products in their home.  You will just need to buy the Zinc Oxide to go with it!  Scroll to the bottom for that recipe. We are using our SHEA-CRED in our recipes because it already has REAL Aloe Vera in it, which will give you a little extra protection! These recipes will make you enough to put in one Makes 3 Organics body balm tin (about 2 ounces), to make more just double the recipe! 

Outdoor recipe:

Great for camping, hiking, etc.

SPF 15-20 (Modify for your needs!)

Ingredients:

.3 ounces of Beeswax

.8 oz of SHEA-CRED (or just regular Shea)

.83 Organic Coconut Oil

.35 Zinc Oxide

5 drops of Organic Lavender Essential Oil (optional)

5-10 drops of Organic Eucalyptus Essential Oil (optional)

6-8 drops of Organic Rosemary Essential Oil (optional)

Directions:

  • Get a double boiler ready! If you do not have a double boiler you can simply but a mug or glass jar in a pan that has about 2-3 inches of water in it. It will create the same result. Bring it to a boil, and the drop the heat down to low.
  • Poor beeswax into the cup or top part of double boiler.
  • Add coconut oil and SHEA-CRED
  • Allow to melt completely. Once melted turn off heat.
  • Use a whisk or fork to stir contents as you add in the zinc oxide.
  • The contents will turn very white, once it is mixed well, you can add in your essential oil drops! Make sure you do not use citrus oils, as it will amplify the effects of the sun!
  • Quickly poor into your container, we reused one of our old body balm tins! Any type of eco-friendly jar works! You can even use a mason jar!
  • Allow to cool.


In the water recipe:

Totally ocean friendly!

20-30 SPF (Modify for your needs!)

Ingredients:

2 ounces of SHEA-CRED (or shea)

.4 ounces of Zinc Oxide

Directions:

  • Get a double boiler ready! If you do not have a double boiler you can simply but a mug or glass jar in a pan that has about 2-3 inches of water in it. It will create the same result. Bring it to a boil, and the drop the heat down to low.
  • Add SHEA-CRED to the cup or top part of the double boiler.
  • Allow to melt completely. Once melted turn off heat.
  • Use a whisk or fork to stir contents as you add in the zinc oxide.
  • The contents will turn very white, once it is mixed well, you can quickly poor into your container, we reused one of our old body balm tins! Any type of eco-friendly jar works! You can even use a mason jar!
  • Allow to cool.

 

 

Shortcut Sunscreen:

Following this exact recipe will get you a sunscreen equivalent to around 25-30 SPF.  Note, however, that this recipe has not been tested by the FDA.

(Modify the Zinc Oxide for your needs!)

Ingredients:

½ Organic Lavender Miracle Body Balm (1 once)

1 ounce SHEA-CRED

.4 ounces of Zinc Oxide (about 6 teaspoons)

Directions:

  • Get a double boiler ready! If you do not have a double boiler you can simply but a mug or glass jar in a pan that has about 2-3 inches of water in it. It will create the same result. Bring it to a boil, and the drop the heat down to low.
  • Add SHEA-CRED and Lavender miracle balm to the cup or top part of the double boiler.
  • Allow to melt completely. Once melted turn off heat.
  • Use a whisk or fork to stir contents as you add in the zinc oxide.
  • The contents will turn very white, once it is mixed well, you can quickly poor into your container, we reused one of our old body balm tins! Any type of eco-friendly jar works! You can even use a mason jar!
  • Allow to cool.

 

 

 As always, be safe about being in the sun.  Just like with regular sunscreen, apply often and give your skin a break from the sun as much as you can.  Wear sun-protecting swimming garments too.  Stay in the shade as much as possible and take breaks from the sun.  Sunburns are always a risk, especially on baby and toddler skin or skin prone to burning - so know your skin and stay safe!

Love,

Nikki

[1] (Craig Downs, 2016)

[2] (Pierre-Louis, 2017)

[3] (AnnMarie Skin Care, n.d.)

[4] (DIY Natural, n.d.)

 

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