It’s not news that protecting our skin from the sun is extremely important. In my lifetime, I’ve read many articles about how easily skin cancer can develop, and how you need to wear sunscreen basically every time you’ll be in the sun at all!
Recently, I learned that many members on my father’s side of the family have dealt with severe skin cancer, and my father just had to get some pre-cancerous spots removed. Knowing that I am genetically predisposed makes me even more concerned about protecting my skin from sun damage.
So I just need to wear some sunscreen, right? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple, as I realized once I started looking at the ingredients of many sunscreens. For instance, Neutrogena Beach Defense sunscreen includes dimethicone, caprylyl glycol, silica, ethylhexylglycerin, copolymers, crosspolymer, xanthan gum, artificial fragrance, and many other chemicals. I, for one, do not know what any of those things are! More and more I am realizing that this is the case with many products I apply to my skin. Our largest organ is our skin. Everything we put on it can be absorbed through it and into our bloodstream.
This encouraged me to use homemade sunscreen as the next installment of my Natural Money Saving Cycle. I decided to dedicate around $30 to the project this month. I used a recipe from www.wellnessmama.com, and adapted as follows:
1/2 cup almond oil
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup beeswax
1 tsp red raspberry seed oil
1 tsp vitamin E oil
15 drops lavender essential oil
3 tbsp non-nano zinc oxide powder
Combine everything except zinc oxide in a mason jar and cover loosely. Fill a saucepan with a few inches of water, heat over medium, and place the jar in the water. I grated the beeswax so it could melt a little easier, but it still takes some time for the beeswax to melt and everything to incorporate. Stir occasionally. When everything has blended well, remove it from the heat and add your zinc oxide. The original recipe only called for 2 tablespoons of zinc oxide powder, but I upped that a little for a higher SPF because I’m very fair! Continue stirring occasionally as it cools and thickens to ensure the zinc oxide remains thoroughly combined. If you’d like to, you can transfer it to a different container before it cools, but I just left mine in the jar.
I already had coconut oil, lavender oil, and vitamin E oil on hand. I bought the beeswax at a craft store for $17. However, I should have researched to make sure what I bought was ethically sourced. You could probably find a better price that way too. I bought the almond oil at Whole Foods for about $4. The zinc oxide powder and red raspberry seed oil (which naturally has a high SPF, around 25) I purchased online from www.organic-creations.com, and they were $7 for the zinc oxide and $5 for the red raspberry seed oil. I have plenty left over of all the ingredients for next time I make sunscreen, and for other projects!
The “natural” sunscreen I usually buy costs $9.99 for a small tube. This recipe yielded about as much as is in one of those tubes, after using only about $5 worth of the ingredients, since I purchased much larger quantities than I really need. At a savings of $5 per bottle, I’ll probably save $40-$50 per year, and I won’t even need to buy more ingredients for a few years now!
NOTE: It’s extremely important to purchase non-nano zinc oxide. Many store-bought sunscreens, especially the spray-on kinds, contain nano zinc oxide, which means the particles are extremely small, and thus easily absorbed into your bloodstream through your skin. Additionally, DO NOT INHALE the zinc oxide powder. Use a mask if necessary. I just handled it extremely carefully, but you can never be too safe!