I haven’t worn "regular" sunscreen in years.
Like most teens, I worshipped the sun by laying out for hours while wearing a string bikini and half a bottle of baby oil. (To add to the picture, I did this while drinking Diet Coke and eating fat-free Pringles…because who CARES if Olestra makes your butt squirt when you’re like, SO skinny in your string bikini?!)
Then Ol’ Rocks-for-Brains Erin got her act together.
These days I worship the sun with surya namaskars (yoga joke, you guys!) and by respecting its power. I get outside and expose my UN-blocked skin to the sun just about every day.
Vitamin D deficient? Seems like everyone is these days. Why? Well, perhaps it’s because we’re scared to death of the sun. Good luck finding a store-bought face moisturizer without sunscreen. We try to block out the sun at all costs. Did you know that exposure to the sun is necessary for our bodies to produce our own supply of vitamin D? This doesn’t happen when we’re constantly covered in sunscreen. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to a whole host of health issues, including many types of cancer.
It’s important to get adequate exposure to the sun. This means without any block. “Adequate time” is going to be different for everyone, but you never want to burn. Actually, your body is supercool. It has its own sun-protection built right in. When you start to turn pink? That’s your body’s way of saying: I’ve got all the Vitamin D I need here! Time to get out of the sun!
On the days I’m going to be out in the sun for longer, I either cover up, seek out shade, or use my own homemade sunscreen.
As it often goes, once I became conscious of what I put IN my body, I shortly thereafter started paying attention to what I put ON my body.
In other words,
Step 1: no crap in my mouth
Step 2: no crap on my skin
And, unfortunately, most sunscreens are full of crap questionable ingredients.
Oxybenzone is found in most sunscreens. In a 2008 study, Centers for Disease Control and Preventiondetected oxybenzone in 96.8%of the American population. That means it penetrates the skin and reaches other living tissue. Because what we put ON our bodies gets INTO our bodies. Chemicals on, chemicals in. Oxybenzone is also a hormone disruptor (it mimics estrogen) and can cause allergenic skin reactions.
Octinoxate (Octylmethoxycinnamate), another hormone disruptor and potentially allergenic chemical is used in many sunscreens.
The Environmental Working Group also recommends avoiding any sunscreen containing retinyl palmitate, as some studies suggest it may speed development of skin tumors and lesions. Check out the 2015 EWG Sunscreen Hall of Shame to see if any of your sunscreens are on the list.
And spray sunscreen is pretty gnarly, as it can be inhaled and potentially harm the lungs. I know it’s convenient. I’m pretty sure lung damage is not.
Since I’d rather avoid the chemical crapstorm that is modern cosmetics, I make certain body care products at home. It’s an easy and cost effective way to keep toxins away from myself and family.
The main ingredient in my sunscreen is carrot seed oil.
I combine the carrot seed oil with other carrier oils, all of which have their own sun protection. I use a combination of coconut oil, olive oil and apricot kernel oil. I find this super easy to apply, but if you'd prefer a more solid sunscreen, then I would use a combination of coconut oil and shea butter. Other carrier oils you can use: jojoba, avocado, sesame seed, almond.
All Natural Sunscreen Recipe
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon apricot kernel oil
30 drops carrot seed essential oil
Pour several inches of water in a small saucepan. Create a double boiler by placing a bowl over the saucepan. Bring water to a soft boil. Place all ingredients in the bowl, whisking until melted and fully combined. Pour oil into a glass jar and seal well.
This makes a small batch - I do recommend starting small. That way you can test it on your own skin. The more carrot seed oil you use, the higher the sun protection will be. Whatever combination you decide to use, reapply often. This goes for ALL sunscreens and sunblocks, not just the homemade ones!
If you don’t feel like making your own, be sure to buy a safe sunscreen. My favorite is Beautycounter. This the the brand I use on my daughter, and what I use at the start of the summer before I have a tan.