Natural Sun Protection with Shea Butter

sun-umbrellaDid you know that there are a TON of harmful chemicals found in an average tube of sunscreen that can cause allergic reactions, hormone disruption and even skin damage? The Environmental Working Group (EWG) published an article called The Trouble With Sunscreen Chemicals that is both informative and shocking. You’d be amazed at what you’re putting on your body.

So, in order to avoid all the nastiness of chemical-based sunscreen, we searched the web for a good, natural-ingredient based sunscreen that you can make from home! We like the idea of using Shea butter in sunscreen due to its natural SPF of about 6.

SheaButterGuide.com had an excellent recipe and explanation of how it works:

Sunscreen Cream Recipe

This cream provides physical sun protection due to titanium and/or zinc oxide properties. Strength of this cream should correspond to approximately “15” sun protection factor (SPF) of chemical protection creams.

Titanium dioxide is the main sun protection ingredient, but it can be mixed with or substituted with zinc oxide. Zinc oxide mineral powder works against harmful ultraviolet rays and protects from UVA and UVB rays.

If applying essential oils, be careful to choose something that does not sensitize the light. For example, the citrus oils such as bergamot, orange, lemon, and grapefruit are not a good choice. On the other hand, eucalyptus, lavender or mint oil is fine. Eucalyptus oil also moisturizes the skin and enhances the beneficial effects of other components.

Beeswax provides prolonged protection, keeping the cream on the skin which would otherwise go away in the water. Even if you skip essential oils in this recipe, beeswax, cocoa and coconut butter guarantee a nice scent.

What do you need?

  • 4 oz. (~120 ml ) of shea butter
  • 4 oz. (~120 ml) of cocoa butter
  • 7 oz. (~200 ml) of coconut oil
  • 2 oz. (~60 g) of beeswax
  • 6 tablespoons of titanium dioxide or 4 oz. (120 g) of zinc oxide
  • 15 drops of essential oils in total (optional)

First, melt the beeswax and cocoa butter on the steam using a double pot. Then, add the shea butter and coconut oil. When everything is mixed together, remove it from the steam and wait till it is cooled on a body temperature. Add essential oil(s) and mix thoroughly.

Finally, add slowly the titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. Stir it with the spoon or electric mixer (recommended).

After a couple of hours cream will become harder. The end result is a creamy, well spreading sun cream convenient to use on the hot beach.

SheaButterGuide.com also has a recipe for a sunscreen lotion and a sunburn cream, so be sure to check out their website!

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