We have all heard how too much ultraviolet (UV) radiation i.e. sun exposure can damage the skin, frequent burns can increase the risk of skin cancer, cause premature aging, wrinkles, and more. But a lack of sun exposure can cause a vitamin D deficiency. So how do we maximize our time in the sun to get the health benefits while minimizing the negatives of over-exposure?
The Bottom Line for me….How do I get to stay in the garden longer?
There are two primary sun rays Ultraviolet A (UVA) which can cause premature aging, sunspots, wrinkle, and believed to increase our risk of skin cancer. These we want to screen or block. Ultraviolet B (UVB) stimulates Vitamin D production on our skin. Getting the optimum vitamin D from sun exposure is different for each person based on skin color and condition. The rule is DON’T get burned….when your skin begins to turn pink you’ve had enough for the day.
This is just to enlighten there is no need to fear the sun. The sun is crucial to life on the planet for plants, animals, and our survival.
Many commercially available sunscreens/sunblock’s screen out the UVB which are beneficial to us and don’t screen out the UVA the ones we want to avoid. I don’t have the perfect answer but I will share some of the tips I use. I stopped liquid and spray-on sunscreens several years ago simply because I am not a chemist and could never figure out the controversy about the safety of the ingredients. I started looking for alternative ways to protect myself.
Many plants with constant exposure to the sun have evolved to produce pigments, phytochemicals, and nutrients which protect them from sun damage which may also help us. Fatty oils and Essential oils from plants can provide us with a natural SPF. The natural SPF from plants ranges from 4-50 SPF depending on the plants.
Fatty Oils with SPF include wheat germ, olive oil, macadamia nut oil, jojoba, almond oil, grapeseed oil, avocado oil, sea buckthorn oil, hemp seed oil, and coconut oil. These range from SPF 4-30 depending on which resources I reference and what other ingredients in the blend.
Essential Oils: Raspberry Seed oil SPF of 25-50, Carrot seed oil SPF factor is 35-40, peppermint oil SPF 7, tulsi holy basil oil SPF 7, lavender oil SPF 6-30, eucalyptus oil SPF 3, tea tree oil SPF 2, sandalwood oil SPF 30 (avoid all citrus oils on area’s exposed to the sun – they are phototoxic and can cause skin discoloration or an essential oil burn).
Coconut Oil and Aloe Vera are commonly used throughout the Caribbean directly on the skin for sun protection, if fact when on vacation in St. Maarten I watched the locals walk up and down the beach offering to apply the aloe gel on tourists and use it on themselves for sun protection. SPF for Aloe and Coconut Oil is said to range from 8-15 SPF. Many folks add zinc oxide to their formulas to increase the SPF.
I do not use zinc oxide in my recipe, but this is an option to check out if you want to increase the SPF protection. I would suggest you read about nano-particles in titanium and zinc oxide as well as micronized zinc oxide.
Other vitamin and minerals nutrients can also protect us in a different way…from the inside out; they include Lutein, chlorophyll, zeaxanthin, astaxanthin, vitamin C, and vitamin E all offer some degree of UVA and UVB protection. I try to increase my consumption of foods that contain these nutrients and/or supplement with them. You know the ones, the fruits, vegetables, and Omega 3 rich fish.
I want you to take away the “idea” of making your own sunscreen don’t get hung up on the specific ingredients, you can see by the list of fatty and essential oils there are many to choose from so use what you have on hand and start to experiment to find the texture, scent, and SPF that works best for you. And remember, use common scents sun protection; a big-brimmed hat, SPF clothing or swimwear, reapply often (every hour or two), and if you can stay in the shade during peak sun. These are just a few of the habits I use to avoid getting burned.
DIY Sunscreen Lotion
By Lisa Mosbey
3 oz. coconut oil
2 oz. calendula infused olive oil (substitute with plain olive oil)
2 oz. jojoba oil
1 oz. shea butter
½ oz. beeswax (optional to add up to 1 tbsp. for a firmer consistency)
4oz. distilled water
2 tbsp. aloe vera gel
1 tsp. Young Living Sulfurzyme™
10 drops Young Living Purification™ essential oil
5 drops Young Living Lavender essential oil
5 drops Young Living Frankincense essential oil
5 drops Young Living Carrot seed essential oil
Using a double boiler, turn on, add coconut oil, jojoba oil, shea butter and beeswax to the top of your double boiler. Remove the oil-beeswax from heat when melted and well combined add them to the distilled water while blending with a hand mixer this with blend into a smooth, thick cream. Add aloe vera, Sulfurzyme, and essential oils to the cream and blend just till mixed. Pour into storage container and it’s ready to use.
I found this recipe to be a bit oily so I did add a tablespoon of beeswax to firm it up.
• J Nat Med. 2009 Apr;63(2):195-9. doi: 10.1007/s11418-008-0299-z. Epub 2008 Nov 27. In vitro evaluation of UV opacity potential of Aloe vera L. gel from different germplasms. Accessed July 29, 2014
• Pharmacogn Rev. 2011 Jul-Dec; 5(10): 164–173. doi: 10.4103/0973-7847.91114 PMCID: PMC3263051 Potential of herbs in skin protection from ultraviolet radiation Accessed July 29, 2014
• Pharmacognosy Res. 2010 Jan-Feb; 2(1): 22–25. doi: 10.4103/0974-8490.60586 PMCID: PMC3140123 In vitro sun protection factor determination of herbal oils used in cosmetics Chanchal Deep Kaur and Swarnlata Saraf Accessed July 29, 2014
MERCOLA.COM Accessed July 29, 2014
• How Supermodel Gisele Bundchen “Infuriated Caner Experts”. ehttp://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/04/22/new-study-shows-many-sunscreens-are-accelerating-not-preventing-cancer.aspx
• Four out of Five Sunscreens maybe hazardous to your health http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/07/10/four-out-of-five-sunscreens-may-be-hazardous-to-your-health.aspx
HYBRID RASTA MAMA Accessed July 29, 2014
• Natrual Oils as Sun Protection http://www.hybridrastamama.com/2012/06/natural-oils-as-sun-protection.html
HAPPYZINE.COM Accessed July 29, 2014
• The Good News about Natures SPF Protection http://happyzine.co.nz/2012/01/18/the-good-news-about-natures-spf-protection-by-joel-le-blanc/