Natural Sunscreen – Vegetable Oils and Mineral Foundation

Natural Sunscreen Alternatives

Summer is finally here, and it’s time to start looking at different sunscreen options. With the conventional sunscreen products out there, it’s really more or less the choice of using a sunscreen and risking breast cancer, or skipping it and risking skin cancer. Luckily, nowadays there’s a whole variety of sun protection products around that are eco certified and contain less harmful ingredients. But there are a couple of products that you might not have concidered using as sun protection – mineral foundation and vegetable oils. 

Mineral makeup as sunscreen

Most mineral foundations on the market provide a good sunprotection for your face. Many mineral makeup brands explicitly state a SPF of between 10-20, but even the other ones should provide similar sunscreen protection. Check the ingredient lists for titanium dioxide or zinc oxide – if the first ingredient on the INCI is titanium dioxide (which it almost always is), you can count on a SPF of about 15. If you want to be completely sure, contact the company to ask what the SPF is.

Vegetable oils with natural UV protection

Many vegetable oils provide a natural uv protection. Some of the best ones are:

  1. Red raspberry seed oil: a pretty pricy vegetable oil, but has a natural SPF of between 28 and 50! You can combine it with a more common vegetable oil to get a cheaper (and, of course, slightly less potent) sunblock. Raspberry seed oil prevents UVA as well as UVB rays, according to Viva woman.
  2. Carrot seed oil has a SPF of between 28 and 40
  3. Wheatgerm oil is one of my favorite vegetable oils for skin care, and provides a SPF of 20.
  4. Soybean oil has a SPF of 10
  5. Hemp Seed oil has a natural SPF of 6
  6. Macadamia oil – SPF 6
  7. Jojoba oil – SPF 4
  8. Rice bran oil has a SPF of 4
  9. Shea butter and shea oil has a SPF of about 2–6
  10. Sesame Seed oil SPF 2– 4
  11. Avocado oil SPF 2–3
  12. Coconut oil – SPF 2
Read more: Ehow – Natural oils that contain SPF
To use a vegetable oil as a sunscreen, all you need to do is apply it before going out in the sun.

Coconut oil as sunscreen

If you take a look at the list above, you will notice that coconut oil is only mentioned as having SPF 2.  Still, coconut oil has traditionally been used as sunscreen and many use it and claim that it works really well. How can this be, with a sun protection factor of only 2? According to an article about coconut oil as sunscreen on The Nutrition Advisor, coconut oil offers natural sun protection because it works in a different manner than other vegetable oils. This is what they say:

Coconut oil protects the body from sunburn and skin cancer without blocking the beneficial UV radiation. Coconut oil doesn’t rely on blocking out the sun’s rays, it works by preventing free-radical reactions which lead to all the consequences caused by overexposure to the sun.

So this means that coconut oil doesn’t need any SPF, it still protects your skin from UV radiation.

Have you found any favorite alternatives to conventional sunblock products? Do you use a storebought product or maybe you make your own?

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  1. kontakt (hon på Hemkokeriet)

    What’s your source for your statement on sun screens and breast cancer? Sounds like a sloppy one. We all risk breast cancer, it is the most common cancer form in women and a big part of the risk is hereditary. Then of course life style factors adds to it. I’m sure the sun screen molecules aren’t the most healthy stuff you put on your body, but you don’t not even distinguishing between optical filters and chemical ones but claiming they make you “risk breast cancer” sounds slightly exaggerated to me. There’s so many crazy rumours. Don’t get me started on deodorants and breast cancer.

    How much does one have to apply of these oils to get the SPF mentioned? For sunscreen lotions you need to use lots to reach the stated SPF, much more than people normally do. It should be a layer on top of the skin, not rubbed in so you hardly feel it. (Yes, it’s sticky.) With oil… unless I know how much to use those numbers don’t tell all that much, really.

    1. hilda

      Well I do agree that I expressed myself pretty sloppily. And of course I’m not saying that by not using conventional sunscreen will you not get breast cancer. One study you can check out is for instance this one: from 2001 where, if I understood it correctly, the results were that five out of the six common sun screen compounds studied contained too high levels of estrogen activity. There are also more recent studies but this is one that I found most helpful.
      That’s a good point about the amounts, and I didn’t know that about the conventional sunscreens. I have made a mixture wit about 50% raspberry and the rest oils with about 4-6 spf according to the list above, and I apply maybe a tablespoon per arm, enough to cover the arms and leave them pretty shiny. This has been well enough for me, but I don’t burn very easily so I don’t know.
      I don’t have time to look through these now, but I have a few links to studies about oils and SPF. Maybe you can find some info there?

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