Your guide to natural sun protection
Sunscreens are one of the most toxic substances we routinely put on our skin and on our children’s skin. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) published a guide to safe sunscreens in which they reviewed over 2000 sunscreens and over 257 brands and found more than 75% of the sunscreens contained toxic chemicals that can increase the risk of cancer and other health issues.
According to research from the EWG some sunscreen ingredients absorb into the blood, and some have toxic effects. Some release skin-damaging free radicals in sunlight, some act like estrogen and disrupt hormones, and several can cause allergic reactions and skin irritation.
In 2019, the federal Food and Drug Administration in USA– the agency that governs sunscreen safety – proposed its most recent updates to sunscreen regulations and found that only two ingredients, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, could be classified as safe and effective, based on the currently available information.
Why do we need a daily sunscreen?
We are all Sun beings and we absolutely need sunlight for our survival. However, the Sun can damage our skin in 2 ways:
UVA (ultraviolet A) rays speed up aging, while UVB (ultraviolet B) rays burn your skin. Without protection, this can result in long-term damage like wrinkles, sagging skin, age spots, roughness, brown pigmentation, and darkening.
Types of sunscreen
Chemical sunscreens work at a cellular level (deep down in the skin), using chemical filters (oxybenzone and avobenzone) to convert UV rays into heat which then evaporates from the skin.
Mineral sunscreens protect at a surface level, using small particles to sit on the skin’s surface and block UV rays from penetrating the skin. This is why they are often associated with that white film - because the formula works by coating the skin in a protective layer (zinc oxide & titanium oxide).
Oxybenzone — one of the most common active ingredients in chemical sunscreens — is a hormone disruptor, and it contributes to coral reef bleaching when it’s washed off in the ocean.
Besides, it can be quite irritating to your skin, especially if you have sensitive skin. If pregnant, it can find a way to your baby and can also contaminate your milk.
Read the labels and avoid these nasties:
Steer away from these ingredients in order to avoid potential health risks, such as endocrine disruption, reproductive issues, and more. It’s best to shop for chemical-free sunscreen altogether and purchase organic sunscreen made with mineral active ingredients instead.
Mineral sunscreen contain naturally occuring minerals mainly zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
Zinc oxide provides broad-spectrum coverage that provides 28 times the skins natural protections against harmful UVA & UVB rays.
Non-nano zinc oxide sunscreen means that the zinc oxide particles in the sunscreen aren’t small enough to absorb into the skin, so it’s a much safer option to use, for the whole family and is actually good for the skin.
Comparison of Mineral & Chemical sunscreen
How to get the best out of the Sun?
As we know, sun rays provide essential nutrients including vitamin D. Our generation stays more and more indoors especially since lockdown and most of us lack vitamin D.
Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency can include muscle weakness, pain, fatigue and depression.
In Ayurvedic daily routine, sun bathing is recommended after applying sesame oil in the early morning sun, when the rays are soft and gentle. The application of sesame oil helps to absorb vitamin D more effectively. 15 to 20mins of sunbathing (without sunscreen) will help you get the best out of the sun.
Many plant oils including carrot oil, sesame oil, raspeberry seed oil, coconut oils have natural SPF however their protection levels are inconsistent, and so they should not be used as a replacement to sunscreen.
Carrot seed oil is a vegetable oil that has the maximum amount of SPF. It is also rich in antioxidants and has very good antiseptic properties. Carrot seed oil is an essential oil with significant antioxidant, antiseptic and fragrant properties with high levels of vitamin A. According to a study published in “Pharmacognosy Magazine” in 2009, products containing carrot seed oil have a natural SPF of 35 to 40.
Raspeberry seed oil also have a high best level of SPF between 25 and 50 and may also contain clinically significant anti-inflammatory properties.
Red Raspberry Seed Oil- 25-50 SPF
Carrot Seed Oil- 35-40 SPF
Zinc Oxide- 2-20 SPF (depending on the quantity you use)
Wheat Germ oil - upto to 20
Olive Oil- up to 7 SPF
Shea Butter- 4-6 SPF
Coconut Oil- 4-6 SPF
Almond Oil- up to 5 SPF
Peppermint Oil- up to 7 SPF
Macadamia Nut Oil- up to 6 SPF
Mineral Sunscreen recommendations
Huegard from Livetinted
Vegan Day cream moisturiser with SPF 30 by BYBI Beauty
Mineral Sunscreen Base by Everyday Humans
Kids Mineral Sunscreen SFP30 by Alba Botanica (fragrance free)
Biosolis kids sun milk SPF50+
Badger Balm Baby Sunscreen Chamomille & Calendula SPF 30
Natural Sun Protection cream by Kama Ayurveda
Natural remedies for after sun care
After long days in the sun, our skin can feel inflammed and hot. The first step is to take a short and cool shower to cleanse the skin from any impurities and relieve any discomfort caused by the sun rays.
1. Aloe Vera is the BEST herb for sun burns. It is cooling and moistening and helps to calm down the heat of the sun burn while healing the skin. If you have an aloe plant, simply break off a leaf and apply the juice. If you don't have a fresh plant, make sure to buy a gel with Aloe Vera as their first ingredient and does not contain alcohol, colors, and fragrance that could further irritate the skin (it doesn't have to be an 'after sun lotion'). Slather on several times daily to unbroken skin, allowing it to air dry.
2. Coconut oil has a cooling, anti-inflammatory, lubricating and healing action.
To use coconut oil on a sunburn, first cool the area with cool water, using a damp cloth or in a bath or shower. Then apply the coconut oil to the affected area. It will gradually absorb into the skin and soothe the burn.
3. Cucumber. Apply cucumber slices on your skin or blend it to make a paste for topical application.
Topically, you can make a poultice with rose petals, apply an oil or lotion infused with rose, and spray rosewater for immediate relief.
Your cooling moisturizer/aftersun
2 tbs organic coconut oil
2 tbs fresh aloe gel or organic aloe vera gel
3 drops of essential of rose or lavender
Mix everything together and whip the mixture to make airy and fluffy. Store it in the fridge for extra cooling effect. It literally melts on the face.
Use it as your morning moisturizer or even as after sun as aloe helps with sun damage.
Leave a comment if you liked this blog and let me know if you have more recommendations for Mineral Sunscreen.