Homemade sunscreen made with zinc oxide, which has long been regarded as a superior broad spectrum sun-blocking substance, can protect the skin from UVB and UVA rays. Though many commercial sunscreens contain zinc oxide, the concentration is often so minimal that consumers aren’t gaining the full effect of the substance. By making your own sunscreen with zinc oxide powder, you can be sure you’re benefiting from its sun-blocking properties. Keep in mind that this homemade sunscreen is a “physical” sunscreen; it will be visible on the skin after application.


Locate zinc oxide powder, the primary ingredient in homemade sunscreen, at a pharmacy or drug store. You’ll also need extra virgin olive oil, which acts as a carrier to deliver the zinc oxide to your skin. Any other high-quality carrier oil may be used instead, if desired. Sweet almond, apricot kernel and jojoba oils all work for this recipe, if necessary. No special equipment is required, aside from a small bowl and fork for mixing.

Preparation and Use

Combine 1 tsp. zinc oxide powder with 1 tbsp. olive oil, or the carrier oil of your choice in a small mixing bowl. Use a fork to mash the ingredients together until a thick paste is formed. This is enough for approximately one small application to the face and arms, but the recipe may be doubled or tripled for a larger batch if necessary. Make enough for immediate use only, as the solution should not be stored.

To use, spread a thick layer of the homemade sunscreen over the skin before going outdoors. Because the mixture isn’t waterproof, you’ll need to reapply frequently if going in and out of the water. Take a little of the mixture with you and apply as necessary, or take the ingredients along and whip up a batch as needed. However, don’t store the sunscreen for more than a couple of hours once it’s been mixed; the ingredients lose potency.