Safer Alternatives to Sunscreen

A bright sunny morning in the countryside – sounds like an ideal day for fun and frolic. However, too much exposure to the sun without a protective screen can and probably will harm your skin. But, as you reach out for that tube of sunscreen, remember that they come with a catch – a large number of commercially available sunscreens feature toxic chemicals as their ingredients – they not only harm your skin over time but also the environment around us. Octinoxate and Benzophenone -3 or Oxybenzone, are chemical filters that absorb UV rays and are present in most commercially marketed sunscreens.
However, oxybenzone is one of the ingredients that rank high on the list of materials that can disrupt endocrine functions along with causing allergic reactions. Worse, according to recent research, both these chemicals are causing environmental problems in the oceans. As per the study, these chemicals are altering coral DNA and affecting their reproduction.

Natural Alternatives to Sunscreen
However, there is good news for those looking at alternatives to chemical sunscreens. Sunscreens that contain minerals like zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide create a barrier on the skin rather than penetrating it – thus preventing both UV rays and the harmful effects of chemicals from harming us. Even better, they cause no harm to the environment.  There are many other natural products that act as an alternative to sunscreen and may already be a part of your house and kitchen, others can be purchased very easily.

1.      Plant Oils: A large number of plant oils contain natural sunscreen qualities. However, it is recommended that you mix plant oils with zinc or sandalwood before applying it on the skin. Here are some of the plant oils that help protect you from the sun along with providing other benefits.

Coconut oil – along with protecting you from UV rays, it also provides you with Vitamin E and helps retain skin moisture. It is also used for reducing inflammation on the skin.
Carrot Seed oil – Also used to help heal burns, dry and cracked skin, this oil contains pro-vitamin A, vitamin A, and vitamin E.
Red Raspberry Seed Oil – This oil helps prevent rashes and contains fatty acids like omega 3 and omega 6.
Avocado Oil – Contains amino acids, fatty acids, and sterols along with vitamin A, B1, B2, D, and E – quite a powerhouse.
Wheat germ Oil – With vitamin B, E, and K, wheat germ oil acts as a free radical preventer.

2.      Sandalwood paste: An ancient remedy, sandalwood paste has been used for centuries as a beauty product. It can also be used as an effective sunscreen. Available either as a powder or a small log, all you need to do is make a thin paste and apply it on your skin. You could also mix the sandalwood paste with your face cream and apply it.

3.      Aloe Vera: Aloe is an excellent natural product to use to avoid the after-effects of sunburn. It serves as an effective soothing agent to take care of red, angry, flared up skin after exposure to the direct rays of the sun. The good part about using aloe vera gel and other products is that they can also be applied beforehand for blocking out 20 percent or more of the sunlight. Just like coconut oil, aloe vera products can be used to remain safe under the sun.

4.      Other Oils -Seed and Nuts: There are several natural oils that can be used on a regular basis to offer a certain degree of resistance to the many out there that offer some resistance to the sun. Interestingly, these oils go about their act while allowing the production of natural vitamin D. Usually, they contain about 2-5 SPF and serve to work during the shortest possible time. You may want to try out alfalfa oil, hemp seed oil, jojoba oil, peanut oil, shea butter, macadamia oil, avocado oil, olive oil, sea buckthorn oil, and other naturally produced oils to save your skin from sunburns and tans.

The Goodness of Natural Sunscreens
It is important to understand that natural sunscreens may not have the certified SPF and may not be waterproof. However, they will also not have the harmful chemicals that commercial sunscreens have. Homemade sunscreens can be kept for around six months. However, remember to keep it refrigerated as the oils are photosensitive and will break down under direct sunlight. Now that you know about a plethora of natural sunscreens to add to your arsenal, get ready to go under the sun – be it at a beach, to work, or just about anywhere else. Rest assured, your skin will be protected!

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