Natural Sunscreen Recipe

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Everyone needs a little bit of sunshine to get their vitamin D, it’s healthy. What’s not healthy is over exposure to the sun. Sunburn increases the risk of dangerous skin cancers. Did you know however, that many of our commercial sunblocks and sunscreens can also increase your risks of cancer? And exacerbate many other problems such as eczema.

These chemicals, have all been linked with causing cancers – and are commonly found in commercial sunscreens.

Your child has an under developed toxic elimination system, a larger surface area to volume ratio than an adult,  is generally subjected to more frequent applications, and is much more likely to swallow small amounts of sunscreen, meaning that your child is much more likely to be affected by the toxicity of sunscreen.


 High concentrations can result in toxic effects including respiratory failure, vasodilation, hypotension, convulsions, and paralysis. Newborns, especially if critically ill, may not metabolize benzyl alcohol as readily as adults. [1]

 BHA {Butylatedhydroxyanisole}

BHA {Butylated hydroxyanisole} also recognised as E Number 320 is an antioxidant used as a preservative in sunscreen. BHA has been demonstrated to cause squamas cell carcinoma in the stomachs of rats and is listed as a known carcinogen. [2]

 Butyl {methoxydibenzoylemethane}

Commonly known as avobenzone in sunscreens, this ingredient is still being assessed by the FDA for safety in sunscreens. It is one of the key ingredients included to absorb UVA and UVB light. Butyl can act as an environmental estrogen. [3]

 Diazolodinyl Urea

Established as a primary cause of contact dermatitis (American Academy of Dermatology). Contains formaldehyde, a carcinogenic chemical, is toxic by inhalation, a strong irritant, and causes contact dermatitis. [4]


Dimethicone is a Sillicone derived emollient. It’s an occlusive agent meaning it coats the skin, trapping anything beneath it, and do not allow the skin to breathe.

Recent studies have indicated that prolonged exposure of the skin to sweat, by occlusion, causes skin irritation and dermatitis. Dimethicone is a known tumour promoter and accumulates in the liver and lymph nodes. [5]

Not to mention:

  • Diasodium EDTA
  •  Ethanol
  •  Homosalate
  •  hydroxybenzoates {parabens}
  •  Methylisothiazolinone
  • 4-Methylbenzylidene Camphor – May act as an environmental estrogen
  •  Octorcrylene
  •  Octyl Methoxycinnamate
  •  Octyl Salicylate
  • Oxybenzone (benzophenone 3) 
  • Phenoxyethanol
  • Polysorbate 20
  • Titanium Dioxide {The “sunblock” component of most sunscreens}
  •  Triethanolamine

Sunscreens containing Zinc Oxide as an alternative to titanium dioxide is a healthier idea, or y0u can mix your own sunscreen using the following recipe:

In a saucepan on low heat combine:

  • 70 grams of apricot kernel oil
  • 35 grams of coconut oil
  • 35 grams of bees wax

Mix gently until all ingredients are dispersed.  Remove from the heat and add 100 grams of distilled water. Stir until thick and smooth, and add:

  • 2 tablespoons of zinc oxide (Available at health food stores, and drug stores)
  • 1 tablespoon of wheat germ oil

Leave it to set and store in a dark coloured glass jar.

When it comes to sun protection, covering up and limiting exposure is your safest bet. Wear a hat, sunglasses, and long sleeved clothing, and stay out of the sun during peak periods. When swimming, use protective swimwear and stay out of the sun during peak times.

No sunscreen is ever 100% effective in preventing sunburn.

Photo by tiarescott

[1] Retrieved on 12/19/2010

[2] Retrieved on 12/19/2010

[3] Retrieved on 12/19/2010

[4] Retrieved on 12/19/2010

[5] Retrieved on 12/19/2010

  • mystic_eye

    Is it possible to use other oils as my mother is allergic to coconut oil? Would olive oil work instead?

  • mystic_eye

    Is it possible to use other oils as my mother is allergic to coconut oil? Would olive oil work instead?

  • Dalal Ozdemir

    How do we know that it would work against sun protection?

  • Kiera Pedley

    The zinc is the agent that offers SPF, just like the ingredients in commercial sunscreen.

    Even if you were using a commercial sunscreen, hats and covering up is still a very wise idea :)