DIY: Non-Toxic Full Spectrum Coconut Oil Sunscreen

Your sunscreen may be doing more harm than good. Some popular brands of sunscreen contain chemicals that may be toxic to you and your family. Vanderbilt University says that some of these chemicals may produce a carcinogenic reaction when exposed to sunlight. Vanderbilt goes on to note that proof of such a reaction is still under investigation. Benzophenone, benzophenone-3, avobenzone and oxybenzone, chemicals contained in many sunscreens, are just a few of the chemicals that researchers suspect of releasing free radicals into the skin when exposed to ultraviolet light.

According to common sunscreen ingredients are suspected or known carcinogens and/or hormone disrupters, including diethanolamine, triethanolamine (DEA, TEA), padimate-o, octyl dimethyl PABA, benzophenone, oxybenzone, homosalate, octyl-methoxycinnamate (octinoxate), salicylates, and parabens.

The results of numerous studies suggest that many of the popular sunscreens could contribute to cancer due to their mutagenic and free radical generating properties. And perhaps a more disturbing finding is that many commonly used sunscreen chemicals have strong estrogenic actions that may interfere with normal sexual development and cause reproductive problems. Chemicals in sunscreens can also cause skin irritation and rashes.

The Environmental Working Group and other toxicology experts believe that oxybenzone is linked to hormone disruption and potentially to cell damage that may lead to skin cancer.
Many popular sunscreens contain the chemical ingredient Benzophenone (or its derivatives Benzophenone-3 or Oxybenzone) since it is one of the best of the chemical sunscreens in protecting against both UVA and UVB rays. However, sunscreens containing these chemicals are NOT a good choice. Here is an instance in which the protection may create more harm than good and actually cause the disease it’s trying to prevent. Benzophenone is a powerful free radical generator activated by ultraviolet light. These free radicals could initiate a reaction that may ultimately lead to melanoma and other skin cancers.

Studies show that some of the chemicals in sunscreens are absorbed into the bloodstream in significant amounts. The longer sunscreen chemicals are left on the skin, the greater the absorption into the body. One study notes “it would be prudent not to apply oxybenzone to large surface areas of skin for extended and repeated periods of time, unless no alternative protection is available. There may be an additional concern for young children who have less well-developed processes of elimination, and have a larger surface area per body weight than adults.”

Many sunscreen products contain triethanolamine (TEA). This ingredient may combine with nitrite (used as a preservative or may be present as an environmental contaminant) to cause formation of cancer-causing nitrosamines. Nitrites are not disclosed on cosmetic labels so there’s no way of telling which products are contaminated with nitrosamines. Particularly disturbing is that up to 35 percent of TEA applied to the skin can enter the bloodstream.

Yikes! That’s why we make our own!

Homemade Sunscreen


  • 1/2 cup of 100% pure aloe (preferably organic) – it should be globby, like it came fresh out of the plant.
  • 20 drops carrot seed oil OR raspberry seed oil – (raspberry seed oil has a higher SPF if that is what you are looking for)
  • 5 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 capsules of Vitamin E oil (break open the capsules) or hemp seed oil (2 tbsp)
  • 5 drops of Lavender oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Zinc Oxide (purchase a non-nano version that won’t be absorbed into the skin. Be careful not to inhale the powder). This makes a natural SPF of 20+ or more can be added.) Make sure not to inhale the Zinc Oxide- use a mask if necessary!

NOTE: Please omit zinc oxide from the recipe to make a truly natural and toxic free version of this sunscreen, especially during preparation. Zinc oxide can affect the lungs and reproductive system if inhaled. Replace the zinc oxide with 1 tablespoon of avocado oil which helps increase the sun protection factor (SPF).

Recipe modified from Earth

Or you can simplify it with this simple 3 ingredient recipe:

Coconut Oil Sunscreen Recipe


  • 1/2 Cup Virgin Coconut Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Non Nana Zinc Oxide
  • 1 Tablespoon Red Raspberry Seed Oil

Nobody wants to get burned, but keep in mind there are many times that we don’t need sunscreen.  Most folks are deficient in vitamin D and could use at least 20 minutes outdoors, in the direct sun light each day to give their body a much needed boost of vitamin d.

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