The days are getting longer, the temperatures are rising and the number of sun hours is increasing steadily. Yes, summer is quickly approaching and in many places, like here in Texas, it already is feeling like summer. I know around my house my family and I are already spending more time out by the pool and soaking up the sun. Even though I try to be careful about sun exposure I still like to get some “natural color” when summer rolls around! And, I do use some self tanning products to help with that. Now, I still want to make sure that my kid’s “young skin” is protected and they don’t get sunburned. Unlike when I was a kid in the 70’s and 80’s! We spent hours in the sun with very little protection and I endured many a sunburn. As a teen we’d even put baby oil on to get a tan! Bad idea! I’d probably have a few less wrinkles now had I been more cautious then.
In any case…
The Sun is an amazing life giver with a lot of positive effects! But, too much of a good thing can be bad. Think sunburns, aging skin, and skin cancer! We’ve been told for years to use sunscreen to protect us from the harmful affects of the sun’s damaging rays. But, is sunscreen safe? Research has shown that many of them are NOT. They are in fact harmful to us!
Most commercial sunscreens are full of chemicals that are NOT good for us. Remember, your skin is your largest organ and soaks in everything you put on it! And, commercial sunscreens decrease our Vitamin D synthesis. We need Vitamin D to stay healthy! Recent research has shown that we actually need more D than once believed, and besides supplementing, we get a great deal of it from sun exposure. Apparently when you slather on sunscreen you are limiting the amount of D that your body will make. I found a great post about sunscreen and Vitamin D on a site called Thank Your Body. You should definitely go check it out for more information on this topic.
This is not a post about not using sunscreen!
Today I just wanted to share with you 10 natural oils that will provide you with some natural SPF, in case you and your family would like an alternative to commercial sunscreens. These oils are also beneficial to your skin which is a plus! First let me say, if you are going to be in the sun for an extended period of time (think at the beach all day or on a boat), these oils may not be the best in those situations. But for shorter periods of time and where you can seek out a little shade these may do the trick. If you are not into making your own sunscreen of course there are “more natural” prepackaged products that you can buy at places like Whole Foods, for instance.
Also, there are a few things you should know before you slather on coconut oil and pop out into the sun. Not all oils’ Sun Protection Factor (SPF) are created equal, and not all are strong enough for everyone. You may also want to combine a few of these natural oils to get the best protection and benefits. You can find some homemade sunscreen “recipes” here.
The Best Natural Oils for Sunscreen
If you’re looking to wear natural oil as your sunscreen of choice, I have some options below, in order of their sun protection value (raspberry, despite having lower SPF than carrot seed comes first because it takes care of UVA & UVB rays).
Raspberry Seed Oil – SPF 30
Red raspberry oil is actually close to equivalent of the protection you would receive from Titanium Dioxide, found in most mineral sunscreens. Raspberry seed oil actually protects against UVA and UVB rays!
Carrot Seed Oil – SPF 40
Beta carotene antioxidant properties can help the skin resist the damaging effects of the sun’s ultraviolet rays and combat the formation of free radicals, which cause premature aging. It can also enhance suntanning, by increasing the production of melanin. Carrot seed oil is very concentrated and should be mixed with a carrier oil to create a highly effective natural sunscreen that can be used on a daily basis.
Wheatgerm Oil – SPF 20
Wheatgerm is one of the best sources of natural vitamin E and is also a good source of vitamin K, B vitamins and choline. When applied to the skin, wheatgerm oil helps to moisturize tissues and acts as an antioxidant to prevent free radical damage.
Avocado Oil – SPF 15
Avocado oil is the 4th best natural oil in terms of SPF. Avocado oil has a high proportion of mono-saturated fats in it. These fats form a protective layer over the skin to prevent sun tanning. Thanks to the high palmitic acid content, avocado oil is very easily absorbed by the skin, keeping it firm and smooth.
Soybean Oil – SPF 10
Soybeans originally come from China and are a rich source of essential fatty acids, protein, lecithen, iron and calcium in the diet. When used topically on the skin, soybean oil is a cost-effective moisturizer compared to other oils and has a natural SPF of 10.
Coconut Oil – SPF 8
Coconut oil not only smells amazing, but provides sun protection to your skin and also protects your hair from suffering sun damage. It’s naturally antibacterial and anti fungal and it can penetrate the skin better than many other oils. Coconut oil has loads of benefits. Let the scent of coconut take you away to a tropical paradise!
Olive Oil – SPF 8
Olive oil is the healthiest oil for your heart. But even when it comes to your skin, olive oil can provide limited sun protection and unlimited antioxidants to repair cellular aging. Olive oil contains 3 major antioxidants. These include Vitamin E, polyphenols, and phytosterols.
Macadamia Nut Oil – SPF 6
Good sources of magnesium, iron, phosphorous, potassium and vitamin E, the oil from Macadamia nuts also contains a natural plant chemical called cinnamic acid which provides a variable SPF level of 6.
Almond Oil – SPF 5
Along with protecting the skin from sun damage and signs of aging, using almond oil as a skin moisturizer will soften and smooth the skin.
Jojoba Oil – SPF 4
Jojoba oil has several medicinal properties on the skin. It is every effective in treating dry skin and contains myristic acid that gives your skin some amount of sun protection.
So what do you think? Have you already tried natural oils as a form of sunscreen? Will you give an oil with a natural SPF a try? I am going to and hopefully I can report back to you at some point over the summer.
In the meantime, stay protected my friend, but ditch the harmful chemicals!
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