How Do I Make Homemade Sunscreen?

Dee Jones

Homemade sunscreen can be a healthy and affordable alternative to the commercial brands found in stores, which often contain harsh chemicals and additives that can be damaging to the skin with prolonged use. As long as a few simple ingredients are on hand, a homemade sunscreen can be made quickly and easily using just a few natural ingredients. Zinc oxide, an ingredient that’s readily available, protects the skin against harmful UVA and UVB rays. When zinc oxide is mixed with a carrier oil like olive oil or coconut oil, it forms a paste that can then be applied to the skin to provide hours of natural sun protection.

Grapeseed oil, which can be used to make homemade sunscreen.
Grapeseed oil, which can be used to make homemade sunscreen.

While there are many ingredients that can be used to give a homemade sunscreen its sun protection properties, zinc oxide is the most recommended. Zinc oxide has many advantages over other, similar ingredients, because it is natural, effective, and can be found in many drug stores and pharmacies. Precautions should be taken when using zinc oxide powder, however. Zinc oxide isn’t safe to inhale, so it’s safest to wear a mask when creating homemade sunscreen. Another popular ingredient used to make homemade sunscreens is titanium dioxide, but studies have found that titanium dioxide can cause health problems, and shouldn’t be used to make natural sunscreen.

Children with skin allergies may benefit from using a homemade sunscreen.
Children with skin allergies may benefit from using a homemade sunscreen.

The other ingredient needed to make homemade sunscreens is some type of carrier oil, preferably of a high quality. Many high quality carrier oils are available, and which one an individual uses depends on personal preference. Some might prefer the scent of jojoba oil or sweet almond oil. Those who don’t want the homemade sunscreen to be too oily might choose grapeseed oil. Many believe oils like coconut oil, kukui nut oil, and olive oil offer natural protection against sun damage, and would make a homemade sunscreen even stronger. For those already suffering from sun damage, rosehip oil has healing properties that can help heal and repair sun-damaged skin.

To create a very simple homemade sunscreen, combine one teaspoon of zinc oxide and one tablespoon of carrier oil in a small mixing bowl. Using a fork, stir the mixture together until a thick paste is formed. This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled as needed, but don’t make more than necessary because the sunscreen will lose its potency after a few hours, and any unused portion should be discarded. Also keep in mind that, unlike some commercial sunscreens, homemade sunscreens aren’t waterproof, so after swimming, the sunscreen will have to be reapplied.

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Discussion Comments


Homemade sunscreen can be fun, but you also need to be careful. Don't go lying on a beach for six hours thinking that you will be fully protected.

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