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Make Your Own Natural Sunscreen

May 28, 20159 Comments

Camp Wander
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This is the thing about using natural ingredients and making your own skincare products, sunscreen included. Once you find a "base" of ingredients you like the versatility will blow your mind!  Find out how to transform our favorite DIY deodorant base into a safe summer sunscreen! "The shocking truth is the fact that both petrochemical sunscreens (avobenzone, methoxycinnamate, padimate-o and the like) and physical sunblocks (chemically-reacted synthetics titanium dioxide and zinc oxide) are not natural and have been found to generate free radicals when exposed to sunlight, which then can attack the nuclei of your skin cells and cause mutations. That’s right, they can cause skin cancer. Furthermore, sunscreen chemicals have been found to pass through the skin and mimic the effects of estrogen, which may disrupt the delicate balance of the body’s natural hormones." It's no surprise that many commercially made sunscreens can be more harmful than beneficial. We also know that our body needs a certain amount of sunlight to make vitamin D and convert it to D3, so what's a human to do?  In my opinion, respect the sun.  Know that you need it and be judicial about the amount of time you spend in it.  I can't be the judge of how much sun you need or can tolerate but here are a few guidelines to think about:
  • The amount of skin you expose. The more skin you expose, the more vitamin D you can produce.
  • How old you are. As you get older, your skin has a harder time producing vitamin D.
  • Whether you’re wearing sunscreen. Sunscreen blocks a lot of vitamin D production.
  • The altitude you’re at. The sun is more intense on top of a mountain than at the beach. This means you make more vitamin D the higher up you are (at higher altitudes).
  • Whether it is cloudy. Less UVB reaches your skin on a cloudy day and your skin makes less vitamin D.
  • Air pollution. Polluted air soaks up UVB or reflects it back into space. This means that if you live somewhere where there is lots of pollution, your skin makes less vitamin D.
  • Being behind glass. Glass blocks all UVB, so you can’t make vitamin D if you’re in sunlight, but behind glass.

sunscreen Rather than relying on powerful sunscreens that may end up doing more harm than good, consider a great, wide brim hat, a lightweight shirt or ducking under some shade! Catching rays is good for you, getting sunburned is not. A natural sunscreen is good to your skin however, it won't and I repeat won't, prevent sunburn if you spend too much time in the sun!  Limited exposure to the sun during a morning walk, a little gardening in the backyard, a picnic or errand running are good times to test drive a natural sunscreen, but going bare, (no sunscreen at all) and allowing healthy UVB (ultraviolet) rays to reach your skin is optimal. Just remember, once your skin is close to becoming "pink" and this will vary for all of us, apply sunscreen, cover up or find shade. I keep my natural sunscreen simple by combining ingredients that have a natural SPF and moisturize: Coconut Oil  - SPF 4 - 6  with moisturizing, pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. Shea Butter  -  SPF 3 - 6  full of vitamins A, Z and K. Olive Oil  -  SPF  2 - 8  with moisturizing, with anti-inflammatory properties. Rosehip Seed Oil  -  Considered a "dry oil" it's not greasy, doesn't sit on the surface of the skin and is deep penetrating, guarding against weathered sun damaged skin. Carrot Seed Essential Oil  -  Highest SPF rating of most natural ingredients!  SPF  38 - 40 and rich in antioxidants and vitamins B, C, D and E.  You'll need 30 drops per ounce of solid base. Arrowroot Powder  -  is silky smooth, a natural deodorant and will absorb sweat. Vitamin e oil  -  rich in antioxidants, a natural preservative. While I can't state a specific SPF rating I feel safe that it's a close alternative to a store bought SPF 15 sunscreen and I love knowing that what I use on my skin is beneficial vs questionable.


As I mentioned before, the beauty of an all natural base like this one creates versatility, saves money and a whole lotta time!  I suggest you make the entire recipe and store it in the refrigerator. When you're ready for more sunscreen or deodorant, melt what you need, add your EOs and be on your way! {find essential oil combinations for deodorant here}. 1.  Remember to keep your sunscreen in the cooler if you keep it with you. 2.  Remember this sunscreen is not waterproof and will need to be reapplied often if you're swimming. 3.  Remember to care about the ingredients! Check out what the Environmental Working Group has to say about your favorite brand {here}. Ready made Ultimate Deodorant Base and 1 ounce push up stick containers (as shown) are available in the CW Shop.
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May 10, 2017 at 11:48am

You should sell this in your store. I’d love to try it!


May 10, 2017 at 11:48am

Can I substitute something for or completely omit the coconut oil? I am allergic.

Jenni T

May 10, 2017 at 11:48am

Like Stephanie, I too would love to see this in the Camp Wander store!!!! Thanks for putting this info out there, I learn so much here!


May 10, 2017 at 11:48am

I love reading about all of your natural products, and I’m eager to try this one. :) I’ve changed types of sunscreens numerous times because of the labeling. I met a wonderful German girl several years ago that makes her own sunscreen. I was reading all of the ingredients in yours and was wondering, and forgive me if this sounds stupid, but wouldn’t all of the “oils” tend to increase a burn? I’m very and I emphasize very, fair skinned and use and SPF of 70 to 110. Thanks so much again for your awesome website, remedies and recipes! ;)


May 10, 2017 at 11:48am

You could certainly try it!

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