How to Make Homemade Sunscreen

Contributing Writer, Karen Burman

Summer time is here and in a full force right now.  And although summer brings with it great times outdoors and some much needed fresh air, we also need to be aware that the sun’s UV rays generate free radicals in the body that further the possibility of getting skin cancer.

How can we lower our chances from this possibility? In part, by maintaining good nutrition all year long, but there are also some other preventative measures we can take as well.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” One way to lower our risk of developing any type of cancer is to strengthen our immune system which is primarily in our gut. 

You already know that it is important to eat healthy foods, but did you know that eating foods that are high in antioxidants will help reduce the effects of free radicals in your body?  A diet filled with lots of vegetables and fruit will help lower the risk of skin cancer.  Actually, I tell myself that if I would replace one of my many cups of coffee I drink a day with a cup of green tea I’d be adding even more antioxidants into my body. I'm still working on it, but I haven’t developed the taste for green tea just yet.

But, as God would have it, when summer is upon us, so are ripe nutrient packed melons, berries, plums, cherries and grapes. These fruits are packed with the antioxidants our bodies need to protect us from too much sun exposure.  Some sun exposure is good because we need the vitamin D from it, however, too much can produce ill effects in our bodies. However, we have such a good God that He provided fresh fruits and vegetables for us to eat to help protect us from these ill effects. Psalm 89:11 says, “The heavens are yours, and the earth is yours; everything in the world is yours—you created it all.” 
When the calendar pages flip to the warm months of summer, many people turn to the run of the mill sunscreens that can be found in our grocery store aisle as a way to protect their family from dangerous UV rays.

Unfortunately, most, if not all, of those sunscreens contain Octinoxate, Oxybenzone and Octisalate and can be very dangerous to your long term health.  These particular chemicals cause disturbances in your thyroid, hormones, increase free radicals in your body, and have even killed mice in laboratory studies!  

As someone who has hypothyroid problems, this is a HUGE deal to me.  I certainly don’t want the use of sunscreen making my symptoms worse.

So what are my options if I plan to have a day in full exposure to the sun in our pool or out on the lake?  Do I let myself burn?  Of course not, but I do use safe alternatives. For example, Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide block both UVB and UVA rays.

You can buy safe sunscreens that have these two minerals as the main ingredient, but they can be very pricey. As a more frugal alternative I have chosen to make my own sunscreen for our family and it is easy and effective. Once again, it's an option to use the natural resources that God has given us to help protect us.

The oils that work well in sunscreens and that have a higher SPF (Sun Protection Factor) are raspberry seed oil which contains anywhere from 28-50 SPF, Carrot Oil which contains between 38 – 40 SPF, and Wheatgerm oil which has about 25 SPF.  I just think it is so amazing how God has created safe plants that work as sun protection and we don’t have to use man made chemicals! 
Here are a few recipes that work well as sun protection:

Sun Protection Stick (Recipe given to me by our chiropractor)

1 ounce oil (raspberry oil, carrot oil, wheatgerm oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil or Jojoba oil)

1 ounce beeswax (helps makes it waterproof)
1 ounce cocoa butter or shea butter
1 tsp Vitamin E oil
4  teaspoons Zinc Oxide powder
30 drops essential oils, optional

In microwave on half power melt all the oils, beeswax and butters.  Add the zinc oxide powder and essential oils. (You should wear a mask when working with zinc oxide.  It is topically safe for skin, but not safe for ingestion into your lungs.) 

Stir until the Zinc Oxide is dissolved.  Pour into push-up or roll-up dispenser. (I cleaned out a used deodorant container.  I have heard of others using a lip gloss container as well.)  Once the mixture cools after about 12-18 hours, it will harden. You will need to re-apply often if you are sweating a lot or in the pool.  About every 90 minutes. 

Sun Protection Lotion (Recipe given to me by our chiropractor)

¼ cup oil (coconut (will make it a thicker lotion), olive, or almond oil)
2 T Zinc Oxide
1 T Beeswax (or more if you want the lotion thicker, less for thinner sunscreen)
3 T 100% natural aloe Vera gel
½ cup freshly brewed green tea
2-3 capsules of Vitamin E oil
10 drops Essential oil (no citrus oils because they can cause you to burn! I prefer lavender or vanilla) 

On half power or on the stove top on low, melt oil and beeswax and remove from heat.  Add zinc oxide powder and mix.

Brew the green tea and then add the aloe vera.  Slowly pour this into the oil. Mix, whisking rapidly or using an immersion blender.   

Apply and re-apply this as you would other cream sunscreens, typically every 90 minutes or more often if sweating heavily or swimming. 

(*My favorite oil is coconut oil and my favorite essential oil is lavender in this recipe)

An easier route to making your own “homemade sunscreen” is to buy your favorite bottle of organic lotion (make sure there is no citrus in it) and add a couple of tablespoons of Zinc Oxide and mix well- Voila, sunscreen! (Again, be careful not to breathe in the zinc oxide.) You can also add an extra 2 T Titanium Oxide for extra sun protection to these recipes.  

After the Sun Lotion
¾ cup Aloe Vera Gel
1/3 cup Coconut Oil
1 T Lavender Oil
1 T Emu Oil (very good on burns) 

Mix all these together and store in a container. You may have to mix it between each use.  

Hopefully, these recipes will be a help for a healthy natural summer of fun!


Karen loves the Lord and her family and is wife to Brent and Momma to two children. Karen contributes to Purposeful Homemaking with an emphasis on Essential Oils in the home. 


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Silent Springs said...

This was a great post. We shared your link on our Facebook Community THanks for educating us all!

Camille said...

This is awesome! I can't to try them!

spottedjagiwar said...

Where do you buy your ingredients? said...

I'm not sure where Karen gets them, but I know I have gotten some of those at my local health food store. You can also get some here though:

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