DIY Mineral Sunscreen

I am a child of the sun. I was built for hot weather. I’m a lizard in need of a rock. I have desert heat coursing through my veins. I grab a sweater when it’s 74, and keep my office temperature at my preferred level of warmth – 82 degrees.

A natural 30 SPF sunscreen. Learn how to make a zero waste mineral sunscreen with www.goingzerowaste.com

And, this cold blooded, sun-basker needs sunscreen. I grew up with this unnatural fear of being sunburned. Whether it stems from a natural fear or from my mother who consistently slathered me in white goop/freaked out at any sign of redness, is another question. 

As much as I love sitting in the sun, I love not having skin cancer and premature wrinkles more. This mineral based sunscreen has a natural 30 SPF. Did you know 30 SPF provides 97% UVB protection? While 50 SPF provides only 2% more protection. Crazy right? 

But, there's a fine line between protection and over protection. We have been very diligent about our daily sunscreen application for years. You can find it in our lotions, make-up and other skin care products. So, we’re actually seeing an onslaught of vitamin D deficiency. 

Sunscreen is soooo good at protecting us from harmful UVA and UVB rays it also protects us from absorbing vitamin D. And, why is that important? I'm glad you asked. 

What's the big deal about vitamin D? 

You can only get vitamin D from the sun or a supplement. Our body makes vitamin D but only after the skin has been exposed to a sufficient amount of sunlight. 

A natural 30 SPF sunscreen. Learn how to make a zero waste mineral sunscreen with www.goingzerowaste.com

Vitamin D is a necessity in helping you absorb calcium. It also helps your immune system; because it's intrinsically involved in the life cycle of human cells. In fact vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a number of cancers, heart disease, and depression. 

Don't feel the need to apply sunscreen everytime you'll be in the sun. You only need to apply it when you'll be in direct sunlight for a prolonged time.  

If I’m going to be in direct sun light more than 30 minutes, I apply sunscreen. If I'm going to be out and about walking around town, I will leave it off. You can read more about vitamin D here and here.

Haven't I heard bad stuff about conventional sunscreen?  

Now, that we've discussed frequency of use, let's talk about the bad stuff. 

Like a lot of beauty products on the shelf sunscreen isn't really regulated. And, it is partially a lotion pumped with fillers. I looked up sunscreens I used to use on the handy dandy Skin Deep search bar provided by the EWG. 

Skin Deep is this nifty app that tells you about all the bad stuff you're putting on your skin, that you probably shouldn't be. Prepared to be terrified as you search through every product you've ever used. 

The neutrogena sheer sunscreen wasn't so bad ranking a 5 out of 10, but the bullfrog was a 7! Personally I like my products level 2 and below. 

A natural 30 SPF sunscreen. Learn how to make a zero waste mineral sunscreen with www.goingzerowaste.com

three ingredients you should avoid:  

Oxybenzone:   Helps the other chemicals penetrate the skin. It throws off our endocrine system. It completely disrupts our hormones. According to the CDC 97% of Americans have Oxybenzone in their system; because, it accumulates faster than our bodies can get rid of it. 

Retinyl Palmitate: It's a form of vitamin A, but when it's exposed to UV rays the retinol can break down. When it breaks down it releases free radicals that can damage the skin, dna, and speed the development of skin cancer. 

Paraben Preservatives:   We've discussed Parabens before. I'm not the biggest fan. They're endocrine disrupters. They mimic estrogen. And due to my previous health issues, I try to stay as far away as possible. 

But, it doesn't stop there! 

Oxybenzone and warmer water temperatures are the leading cause of coral bleaching. 14,000 tons of sunscreen particles wind up in coral reefs a year. It basically leaches the coral of all it's nutrients, which is greatly disrupting the fish and wildlife around the coral. You can read more about coral bleaching here.

What's different about mineral sunscreen? 

Mineral sunscreen is considered safest by the EWG. It's also considered "reef friendly." Instead of absorbing into our skin, it sits on our skin. It's a large enough particle that can't penetrate. However if inhaled or swallowed, it could be harmful. So, you should avoid putting it in make-up powders or in lip balm.

Check out a chapstick recipe that has a natural 15 SPF.

With traditional sunscreen you absorb it and it dissipates UVA and UVB rays. With mineral sunscreen it reflects and scatters the rays. You can read more about it here

 Image from coolasuncare

Image from coolasuncare

30 SPF Mineral Sunscreen

  • 1/4 Cup + 2 Tablespoons of Shea Butter: 3-6 SPF
  • 1/4 Cup of Cocoa Butter: 0 SPF *
  • 2 Tablespoons of Coconut Oil: 2-8 SPF **
  • 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil: 2-8 SPF **
  • 2 Tablespoons of Vitamin E Oil: Natural Preservative helps prevent UV Damage
  • 2 oz (approx 1/4 Cup) of Zinc Oxide: 20+ SPF 

*Optional. It's used to make the product thicker and to make it extra nourishing. You can swap it for 2 Tablespoons of beeswax to keep a thick consistency and to increase the SPF 15.

**You can use Carrot Seed or Raspberry Seed oils in place of olive and coconut. They have very high SPF around 30-40.

In a double broiler melt the shea butter and cocoa butter or beeswax. After it's melted stir in the other oils. Let it cool for 2-3 minutes and then stir in the zinc oxide making sure not to inhale it. 

Let the mixture set up overnight and in the morning you'll have a very nourishing sunscreen! It's almost the texture of a body butter. 

A natural 30 SPF sunscreen. Learn how to make a zero waste mineral sunscreen with www.goingzerowaste.com

I sat out in direct sunlight for 3.5 hours and wasn't burned. I would recommend applying every two - three hours though. The oxide is water resistant but not water proof. You'll need to reapply after swimming.

Always be safe when in the sun for prolonged periods. Wear long loose fitting clothing and hats. If you'll be in prolonged sunshine where you can't reapply, it's better to buy a safer store bought sunscreen. Your health always comes first! 

Have you made sunscreen before?