Nothing says summer like a relaxing day spent at the beach with sand, surf, and consistent reapplying of sunscreen. While the sun is still our greatest risk (overexposure can lead to premature aging and skin cancer), there have been some concerns about the SPF products we lather on to protect ourselves from these very risks.
This may even include an increased risk of cancer. It’s important to note that none of these concerns have been confirmed, with some dermatologists calling these claims myths. Nonetheless, it’s best to do your own research.
If going au natural ends up being your plan of action for ultimate sun protection, here are some of the best oils that contain high levels of SPF (sun protection factor). Use them to strengthen your regular bottle of sunscreen or as part of a homemade sunscreen recipe.
Natural oils that contain SPF
- Jojoba oil: Since jojoba oil contains medicinal properties, it's very effective at treating dry skin and serving a purpose similar to that of sebrum, also known as the natural oils our skin produces.
It also contains myristic acid, which is a fatty acid naturally occurring in plant oils that provides the skin with some sun protection (SPF 4, to be exact).
- Carrot seed oil: When we were kids, there was a saying that eating too many carrots could actually turn our skin orange, so it’s quite ironic now that carrot oil has been found to protect us from the sun, thus keeping our skin relatively pale.
This is because carrot oil has an SPF rating of around 40. Additionally, it has anti-oxidant, antiseptic, anti-fungal, and fragrant properties with high levels of vitamin A.
- Raspberry seed oil: Raspberry seed oil, which is a great source of vitamin E and polyphenols, helps protect our skin from UV radiation. The properties are similar to titanium dioxide protection, a mineral found in most sunscreens. It's one of the stronger natural oils out there with 28-30 SPF.
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How to make homemade sunscreen
Here's how to make a natural sunscreen at home using oils.
1 cup carrier oil (olive oil, grapeseed, coconut oil)
2 Tbsp zinc oxide (do not breathe it in)
2 Tbsp shea butter
1 tsp carrot seed oil
1 tsp vitamin E oil
1 tsp of beeswax (optional)
25 drops of your choice of essential oils
- Start by combining all of the ingredients in the glass jar except for the essential oils and zinc oxide.
- Using a double broiler, warm the ingredients by filling a small pot with 2 inches of water over a low to medium-low heat.
- Place the jar in the pot and stir the contents until all of the ingredients are mixed.
- Add in the zinc oxide (you might want to wear a mask for this part to avoid breathing it in).
- Stir until well mixed and then remove the pot from the stove and add in the essential oils.
- Store in a cool place.
Note: If you choose to add the beeswax, it will make the sunscreen waterproof.
Don't let the fear of bad sunburns or sun damage rain on your summer parade with these natural ways to integrate oils into your sun protection routine.
- Wilder North: 5 of the Best Natural Oils With SPF Protection
- Hybrid Rasta Mama: Natural Oils as Sun Protection
- Natural Living Family: Natural Homemade Sunscreen Recipe With Essential Oils
- Reader's Digest: 10 Sunscreen Myths You Believe That Make Dermatologists Cringe
- Oz: Your Sunscreen Might Be Poisoning You
- Healthline: 13 Reasons to Add Jojoba Oil to Your Skin Care Routine
Sarah is a multi-platform writer and editor. Her work has appeared in USA Today, Vital Proteins, Healthline, Diply, and more. When she's not writing, she's trying to keep up with her border collie, Emmy.