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How To Make Your Own Sunscreen

Updated on June 24, 2010

Make Your Own Sunscreen

We all know how important it is to use sunscreen. If skin is unprotected, and you spend a long time in the sun, you're at risk for getting sunburn, not to mention skin cancer and premature wrinkles. While there are natural cures for sunburns including avocados and  aloe vera juice, it's best not to go into the sun without sunscreen.  If you have a darker skin tone, don't assume you're at a lesser risk than someone with a fair complexion. All skin types can burn, whether you see the burn or not.

Recently, there has been some news from the nonprofit organization Environmental Working Group stating that some sunscreens contain hazardous ingredients. The Environmental Working Group took a look at over 500 different sunscreens that are on the market today. They ran potency tests on them, looked at their ingredients, and went over the claims that were made on the packages. The results are disturbing. Only 35 of the 500 tested sunscreens met the guidelines for sun protection and consumer safety. That's scary when you think about it. We put on sunscreen to protect us from the sun's harmful effects, but the products we use could be causing us harm as well.

So what do we do? A great solution is to make your own sunscreen. There are a couple of ways as to how to make natural sunscreen. There are a few words of caution to these recipes. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide should never be inhaled. To avoid breathing in these materials, wear a mask over your nose and mouth. It doesn't have to be a sophisticated mask, you can use a cloth towel even. Just make sure your nose and mouth are covered when you handle these substances. It's also a good idea to wear gloves.

The first way to make your own sunscreen is very simple and fast, if you need your sunscreen right away. All you need to have is an 8 ounce bottle of lotion, a sun blocking agent such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, and an empty container. Mix the lotion and the sun blocking agent in the empty container thoroughly. You might even want to mix these ingredients using an electric mixer and then put it in the empty container. You can put the mixture back into the original lotion bottle, just make sure you rinse the bottle completely. If there is any lotion left in the bottle, this can compromise the mixture. If you use the mixture without rinsing the bottle out first, you can accidentally use some lotion that has no sun blocking agent in it.

The longer way to make natural sunscreen is a little more complex, but still simple enough to do yourself. You'll first need to gather the following ingredients.

  • 8 ounces of carrier oil (sunflower, olive, soybean, or jojoba)
  • 1 ounce emulsifying wax
  • Sun blocking agent (as stated above titanium dioxide or zinc oxide)
  • Your choice of essential oils
  • A mixer that is not going to be used for food when you're finished (hand held mixer, mini chopper, or submersible blender)
  • Spatula
  • Plastic baggie or pastry bag
  • An empty container
  • Food scale (to help measure ingredients exactly)
  • Mask and gloves for protection

Measure out one ounce of the emulsifying wax using the food scale. Place the wax in a microwave safe container and melt it for about one minute in the microwave. Measure eight ounces of oil and blend it into the melted wax. Squeeze a few drops of your choice of essential oil. If the waxy mixture begins to solidify again, just put it back in the microwave for a few seconds.

Next, you're going to add in the dry ingredients. This is when you'll need to put on the mask and gloves for protection. For an SPF higher than 20, you need to weigh .9 ounces of sun blocking agent. Use either titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, not both. Combine the powdered sun blocking agent with the wax and oil mixture and blend thoroughly. Use a hand held mixer or other mechanical blender to make sure everything is mixed completely. Scrape off the sides of the bowl with the spatula and mix it again. Keep mixing until you see no trace of the powder.

Once everything is mixed together properly, transfer all of it to your empty container. It might make it easier to transfer if you first move it all into a plastic baggie or a pastry bag. You can clip off the end of the bag and squeeze it all into the container. This process makes it easier instead of trying to scrape it out with a spatula directly into the bottle. It's just a good way to avoid a mess.

Now that you know how to make natural sunscreen, you won't have to worry about unwanted chemicals in sunscreens you find on the market. Don't misunderstand though. There are products on the market that are just fine. But if you want to be absolutely certain that the product is safe, it's a good idea to make your own.

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