If you suffer from sensitive skin and you’re looking for alternatives to synthetic sunscreens full of harmful chemicals, then natural oils provide the protection you need from sunburn. Many seed and vegetable oils are rich in antioxidants, natural chemicals and vitamin E to protect, moisturize and heal skin exposed to ultraviolet light. Using natural oils with a known Sun Protection Factor (SPF) can support the holistic health of your skin and leave it feeling better.
Red Raspberry Seed Oil
Red Raspberry seeds contain high levels of omega 3 and omega 6 essential fatty acids in addition to antioxidants and natural vitamin E. According to Anthony J. O’Lenick, author of “Oils of Nature,” red raspberry seed oil has a natural SPF between 28 and 50 and may also contain clinically significant anti-inflammatory properties.
Carrot Seed Oil
Carrot seed oil is an essential oil with significant antioxidant, antiseptic and fragrant properties with high levels of vitamin A. When applied topically to the skin in the form of a diluted carrier oil, carrot seed oil also provides natural sun protection. According to a study published in “Pharmacognosy Magazine” in 2009, products containing carrot seed oil have a natural SPF of 38 and 40.
Wheatgerm is one of the best sources of natural vitamin E and is also a good source of vitamin K, B vitamins and choline. When applied to the skin, wheatgerm oil helps to moisturize tissues and acts as an antioxidant to prevent free radical damage. In a study published in “Pharmacognosy Magazine” in 2009, a sunscreen comprised of wheatgerm and vitamin E had a natural SPF rating of 20.
Soybeans originally come from China and are a rich source of essential fatty acids, protein, lecithen, iron and calcium in the diet. When used topically on the skin, soybean oil is a cost-effective moisturizer compared to other oils and has a natural SPF of 10.
Macadamia nuts are native to Australia though most of the world’s supply comes from Hawaii. Good sources of magnesium, iron, phosphorous, potassium and vitamin E, the oil from Macadamia nuts also contains a natural plant chemical called cinnamic acid which provides a variable SPF level of 6.
Jojoba is a desert plant used by Indians and Mexicans for food, medicine, skin care and rituals. The oil of jojoba is effective as a moisturizer for dry skin and contains a natural plant chemical called myristic acid which provides some limited sun protection. Jojoba oil has a low SPF of 4.
Other natural plant oils with low SPF levels include sea buckthorn oil, sesame seed oil, shea butter, coconut oil, olive oil and hemp seed oil. In addition, green tea extract provides antioxidant polyphenols with low to moderate SPF protection.
References and ResourcesAnthony J. O'Lenick, Jr; "Oils of Nature"; 2008
Murray, Michael; "The Encyclopaedia of Healing Foods"; 2005
Bright Hub: Natural Oils that May Protect from the Sun
Pharmacognosy Magazine: Efficacy Study of Sunscreens Containing Various Herbs for Protecting Skin from UVA and UVB Sunrays
African Journal of Biotechnology: Taxonomic perspective of plant species yielding vegetable oils used in cosmetic and skin care products
Free Patents Online: Sunscreens from vegetable oil and plant phenols