Love Your Sun—And Your Sunscreen

Contributor: Cristin Smith
Photographer: Sarah Shreves
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Summertime means getting outside, in the sun, and enjoying the world to its fullest. We’ve all heard the warnings about being in the sunshine for too long, which mostly boil down to one big warning: too much sun causes cancer. What if we told you that is not necessarily true?

The FDA recommends you apply commercial, approved sunscreen to your skin anytime you are outside (and often). The problem is, the vast majority of commercial sunscreens have ingredients in them that are, themselves, carcinogenic. Think of how detrimental that can be: rubbing cancer-causing ingredients into the largest organ of your body. In addition to that, vitamin D is a vitally important nutrient that we absorb from the sun. Vitamin D actually protects us from cancer.

In simple terms, the sun produces two types of rays: UVB and UVA. UVA rays are the potentially dangerous ones that can cause cancer. UVB rays are the good ones that give you vitamin D. When your skin starts to burn, it means you’ve absorbed all the vitamin D you can take for the time being, and your skin is starting to reject the sun. The majority of commercial sunscreens only protect against UVB rays. Yes, the good rays. Because, yes, it is true that UVBs cause sunburn. What they won’t tell you is that they are also blocking any ability for you to absorb vitamin D in the process.

So what can we do? Going without sunscreen can be dangerous too—sunburns are not pleasant to deal with. Well, we have done our research, and have an all-natural sunscreen recipe for you to try!

Saffron & Sage Pool Side

The ingredients: 

1 cup Organic Shea Butter: SPF 4-6.

1/2 cup Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil: SPF 4-10.

4 tablespoons Organic Red Raspberry Seed Oil: SPF 25-50, depending on purity. Red Raspberry seed oil protects specifically against UVA rays.

4 tablespoons Organic Carrot Seed Oil: SPF 35-40.

Put all ingredients together in a glass mason jar. Submerge the jar half in water in a pot on the stove, and melt over low heat. Stir often. Once everything is melted together, put the jar on the counter, and let it set overnight. Store in a dry, cool, dark place, or in the refrigerator to make it last even longer.

We estimate an SPF of right around 30. A little goes a long way with this mixture, and not only will it protect your skin, but it smells pleasant (most of the scent is from the shea butter, so it’s nutty and earthy) and makes your skin feel soft and wonderful. Better yet, there are no chemicals. We have also found that if you do happen to get a sunburn, applying this natural sunscreen to your burn will help it heal faster and with less pain. 

Give it a try for yourself! Here’s to a safe Summer in the Sun!