With summer around the corner, we want to refresh our information with the dos and don’ts of sun exposure and show you how to make sunscreen with shea butter.
Sunscreen is an important staple to have for skin care at this time of year. While there are many options you can grab from your local store, you can also make your own sunscreen at home with only a few simple, non-toxic ingredients.
Why is Sunscreen so important?
Sitting in the sun can feel great. And this makes sense since it is scientifically proven that 30 minutes a day in the sun provides the Vitamin D that your body needs.However prolonged time spent in the sun without protection can cause different short term and long term body problems. These are some of the reasons using sunscreen is so important:
Sunscreen prevents sunburn: Everyone loves the sun, but no one likes looking like a lobster. Getting bright red and a painful sunburn happens when your skin is exposed to too much ultraviolet (UV) radiation.In order to defend itself, your body displays a number of responses to prolonged sun exposure.
First, an inflammatory response lets you know that something is in need of repair (as well as turns your skin bright red).
Next, your skin will start to lose moisture, leaving it feeling tight and uncomfortable.
Finally, your skin will peel as your body gets rid of damaged cells.
All in all, sunburn is a miserable experience, and one that you can protect yourself from.
Sunscreen reduces sun damaged skin: When you repeatedly expose your skin to the sun, the damage starts to take a toll. You’ll find your skin looking dry, wrinkled, discolored, and even leathery. No matter how thick sun damaged skin might look, it’s actually much weaker than healthy skin. This makes things like bruising and cuts more common.
Sunscreen helps protect you from this type of damage.
Sunscreen protects you from skin cancer: Did you know that skin cancer is now the most common type of cancer? Skin cancer is caused by mutations in the DNA of skin cells. These mutations are often caused by exposure to UV radiation. Sunscreen acts as a barrier between your DNA and the effects of UV radiation, keeping your skin cells happy and healthy.
How Does Sunscreen Work?
Sunscreen is such a useful skincare product because it acts as a barrier between your skin and UV radiation. When you pick up a bottle of sunscreen, you’ll notice that it has the letters SPF followed by a number on it. SPF stands for sun protection factor, and is a great way to tell how effective a particular formulation is. There are two different methods a sunscreen can use to offer sun protection: chemical screening and mineral screening.
Chemical sunscreens use ingredients that filter out UV radiation. The downside is that they can be absorbed into the skin, where they may disrupt the hormone system or cause other problems with your body.
Mineral sunscreens, on the other hand, use non-nano Zinc Oxide or titanium dioxide to block UV rays from reaching the skin. Rather than being absorbed into the body, these sunscreens sit on top of the skin, making them a safer choice.
For much more information about what goes into your sunscreen, check out this informative report from EWG.org.
Make Your Own Sunscreen with Shea Butter
We love to make our own sunscreen as an alternative to over-the-counter products. Shea Butter nourishes, soothes, and moisturizes your skin while it’s exposed to the sun, as well as zinc oxide powder so we love the combination of them in a sunscreen. Better Shea Butter’s zinc oxide powder is non-nano, which means it’s small enough to be transparent on your skin, but not so small to absorb into your body. Here’s our favorite recipe:
1 oz Jojoba Oil
1 oz Coconut Oil
1 oz Zinc Oxide Powder
Optional: 15 drops of lavender essential oil
First of all, take some steps to protect yourself from inhaling the zinc oxide powder. It’s very fine, so consider wearing a mask or kerchief around your nose and mouth to keep from breathing it in. Plastic gloves are also a great way to keep the powder from sticking to your fingers.
Melt the Shea Butter and the coconut oil in a double boiler over low heat. Once melted, remove from the heat and mix in the jojoba oil. Stir in the zinc oxide powder slowly, making sure it is entirely dissolved before adding more. Use an electric mixer to blend everything evenly, then set your sunscreen in the fridge to cool off for a few hours (you don’t need to store it in the fridge, a cool place will do). Once it’s cool and firm, but not completely solid, use an electric mixer and whip it for a few minutes, to thoroughly blend everything again and to get a nice light and fluffy texture.
Homemade Sunscreen Notes
When you make this sunscreen according to the instructions, your end product will offer an SPF of about 20. This isn’t tested in a lab, it’s simply a very conservative guesstimate based on 100’s of tested homemade recipes (by us and many other bloggers). We recommend that you use common sense and reapply your DIY sunscreen as needed.
Let us know if you have any questions or feedback by leaving a comment below, we read and answer all of them 🙂