Friday, June 13, 2014

Adventures in Sunscreen

Homemade tinted all-natural sunscreen

It's the time of year for days spent by the ocean, lake, and pool or out walking in the sunshine. Between swim practice and a swim meet we spent almost six hours at the pool yesterday! Last year I shared my recipe for homemade sunscreen, but I have been trying to perfect those. The holy grail I'm seeking is an all-natural barrier sunscreen that doesn't whiten the skin. 

When sunscreen or any other cosmetic sinks into the skin the ingredients are carried throughout the body. Some ingredients seem innocuous but behave in unexpected ways inside the cells. Others are downright lethal, and unfortunately the pharmaceutical world is aware of this but ignores it. So, I want a sunscreen that sits on the skin's surface. Just in case, I want it to be made of all-natural, safe ingredients as well.

The active ingredients in my sunscreen are zinc oxide and coconut oil. The zinc is a barrier sunscreen, meaning it sits on the skin and blocks the sun. Coconut oil has some natural sun protection. Recently I read raspberry essential oil has a high natural SPF, so I may be incorporating that into my recipe soon.

For now, however, I decided to try and tint the sunscreen so the zinc doesn't look as white. I used cocoa powder and coffee for this. The coffee, used in my spray-on sunscreen, has the added benefit of tightening the skin for cellulite reduction! These still lighten the skin some, especially the water-proof option, but don't whiten as much as before. I like them a lot! The coconut essential oil and cocoa powder make the waterproof version look and smell like chocolate cake batter! I wouldn't eat it, though. Here are this year's recipes:

Waterproof Sunscreen
1/4 cup coconut oil
5 TBSP zinc oxide (don't inhale powdered zinc oxide; wear a mask)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1-2 TBSP beeswax
 essential oil, optional for scent ( I used coconut)
2-3 capsules Vitamin E, pierced and squeezed into the sunscreen (or use drops)
Coconut oil can be found next to the shortening and olive oil in the baking aisle of most supermarkets. Zinc Oxide and beeswax are available on Amazon.
Set up a double boiler, or set one pot atop a smaller pot filled about 1/3 of the way with water, over medium-high heat. Make sure you do not use the pot or any utensils for food after making sunscreen with it. Melt the beeswax with the coconut oil. I use beeswax pellets for faster melting. Once melted, remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the zinc and cocoa until smooth. Stir in the Vitamin E and the essential oil. Place the sunscreen into a container. The mixture will be runny at first but will thicken considerably as it cools.
Spray Sunscreen
1/4 Cup coconut oil
5 tsp zinc oxide
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup brewed strong coffee
3 TBSP pure aloe vera juice or gel
1 cup green tea, brewed ( I prefer Lipton Green Tea Superfruit with passionfruit and coconut)
essential oils
2-3 capsules Vitamin E (squeezed out) or about 1/4 tsp drops
Melt the coconut oil over low heat. Remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the zinc oxide and cocoa powder. Add the remaining ingredients. Pour into a spray bottle using a funnel and shake the bottle to mix before applying. This is quite runny. To apply, spray into your palm and rub over your face and body using your hands.
The original recipes for un-tinted sunscreen are here:

Only a tiny dab of the waterproof version is needed.

The tinted sunscreen doesn't whiten the skin.

The waterproof version causes water to bead on the skin for hours
so you know when to re-apply.

These are so effective we rarely make more than one batch of each for the entire summer. The waterproof sunscreen goes such a long way a dime sized amount can cover my entire leg, and water still beads up on my skin hours later. I will keep refining my recipe, and maybe someday I'll come up with a truly tanned-look finish. If so, I'll share the recipe. Have fun on your summer adventures!

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