As spring transitions to summer, people look forward to more days in the sun. From days at the beach to hiking to waterfalls, the warmer weather attracts outdoor activities. All this time in the sun can take a toll on your skin, typically resulting in sunburn if you don’t take precaution. One of the easiest ways to protect the skin from sunburn, blisters, and even skin cancer, is to apply sunscreen before your time in the sun.
According to a 2018 study, regular sunscreen use in young adults reduces the risk of melanoma. A separate long-term study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, suggests that regular sunscreen use prevented melanoma in adults. Both of these studies endorse the regular use of sunscreen, but not all sunscreens are created equal. Some sunscreens contain harmful chemicals that negatively affect coral reefs and your skin, while others have healthier, protective ingredients.
Chemical vs. Mineral Sunscreens
Chemical and mineral sunscreens protect your skin from the sun, but in different ways. Mineral sunscreen ingredients contain small particles that sit on the skin’s surface, preventing UV rays from penetrating the skin. When you apply a mineral sunscreen, you may notice a white residue that doesn’t smooth into the skin like regular, chemical-rich sunscreen. Chemical sunscreens allow UV light into the skin. Once the skin absorbs the light, the chemicals in the sunscreen create a chemical reaction, converting UV light into heat. It then dissipates from the skin, according to dermatologists.
One of the primary cons of chemical sunscreens is that they cause allergic reactions in people with sensitive skin. Additionally, chemical sunscreens may worsen melasma and rosacea, which results in red patches and pimples on the cheeks, nose, and forehead. Melasma results in brown patches of skin on the forearms, face, and neck.
Use Mineral Sunscreen
Ideal for children or people with sensitive skin, mineral sunscreen contains either titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. These are the only two ingredients that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognizes as safe and effective. Mineral sunscreens are much safer for people who have concerns about long-term exposure to harmful ingredients in regular sunscreens. Unlike chemical sunscreens, which have a 15-30 minute absorption period for maximum protection, mineral sunscreens offer immediate protection. The only thing to keep in mind about mineral sunscreens is that they sit on top of the skin in a thick layer. If you have acne-prone or combination skin and use mineral sunscreen, you may experience breakouts. You can always add anti-acne additives to the mineral sunscreen you make to reduce this risk. Otherwise, enjoy the recipe below and protect your skin this summer.
All Natural Sunscreen
- 1/4 cup cocoa butter
- 1/2 cup avocado oil
- 1/4 cup beeswax pellets
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup non-nano zinc oxide
- 15 drops essential oils of your choice (optional)
- Melt the cocoa butter, avocado oil, beeswax pellets, and coconut oil in a double boiler over medium-low heat. If you do not have a double boiler, place a heat-safe bowl with the ingredient in it over a pot of water and bring it to a boil. Then reduce the heat to medium-low.
- Once the ingredient are completely melted, remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly.
- Stir in the non-nano zinc oxide and the essential oils, if you are using them. Whisk well and then transfer the sunscreen to a wide-mouthed mason jar, or other glass jar.
- If you want to use this at the beach, omit the essential oils and store the sunscreen in a plastic container.