The outdoors to me is invigorating and emotionally uplifting but I am particularly resistant to the long, dark cold winter months. As spring approaches my body begins to intrinsically cry out for warmth and sunshine. The rise in temperature, the green, the activity…draws me back outdoors! Everything comes to life again with this delicious season change and a certain part of me from the inside receives a much needed revival.
As we know the sun imparts various health benefits and energy despite the bad press it is known to receive at times. While we need to use wisdom in the sun, avoiding harmful rays, we need to allow our bodies to receive the helpful rays! UVB rays are necessary to manufacture vitamin A and take in vitamin D. They are known to help combat depression (seasonal affective disorder), help heal skin issues (psoriasis, eczema, fungal infections, acne), enhances the skins barrier functionality, help clear up neonatal jaundice, regulate melatonin production, help heal wounds, and boost the immune system.
No wonder I feel like I am having a personal revival. According to Dr Mercola, even a winter sunshine does not emit the needed UVB rays. I love summer!
But prolonged exposure may benefit from wise precautions. Staying hydrated is of utmost importance.
So how is it that the sun receives such a bad rap on a regular basis? If it was created to energize and sustain us why has it become also suspect of such harm? This is a loaded train of thought that has many variables. My soap box for the time being is chemical sunscreen. I have always been a little skeptical. If I am trying to protect my skin, why would it be a good idea to bake these chemicals on?
I am blessed to have children so far who take after their father’s Cherokee Indian skin and fair well on sunny days. However, last year I began researching natural sunscreens for a friend who isn’t so fortunate. The ingredient possibilities were enlightening and made me begin to wonder if a natural sunscreen would be beneficial even if I wasn’t prone to burning? Could we all benefit from using a natural cream that would protect us from the harmful rays but welcome the healthy? I think so.
There are many carrier oils and essential oils that help us protect our skin. Coconut oil alone has books and books written that laud it’s great attributes. One source says, “(the folks native to the tropics) use coconut oil as their sole source of protection from sunburn and skin cancer.” Lavender, helichrysum, myrrh, roman chamomile and frankincense essential oils that are nourishing and healing to the skin and have been reported to have a SPF although I have had a challenging time finding the data to prove just how much. There are lots of studies however on the skinlicious benefits they offer. Other SPF rich ingredients that you can utilize in a simple sunscreen include: olive oil (SPF 2-8), jojoba oil (SPF 4), shea butter (SPF 3-6), almond oil (SPF 5), and carrot seed oil (SPF 38-40).
The variations to making your own sunscreen are almost endless but we have included a very basic version we consider to be nourishing and protective. It helped our fair friend and has been gentle enough for our baby. As you gain confidence and knowledge, you can experiment with other carrier oils and naturally occurring substances with SPF components.
We apply as needed before, during, and even after being in the sun as we feel necessary. You know you are using it too often if it doesn’t soak into your skin after awhile. To get our baby’s fair skin acclimated, we spent shorter times in the sun every day, gradually staying out longer and longer. We do a lot of swimming here in the creek on these hot days!! If you are super fair skinned and don’t tan easy (or at all) you may need to cautiously experiment with what works for you.
Basic DIY Sunscreen
½ cup almond or olive oil (I substituted 2T of this with jojoba)
¼ cup coconut oil
¼ cup beeswax (You can order local beeswax through LChaim!)
1 tsp non GMO vitamin E oil (opt)
2 T shea butter
20 drops or so of essential oils
Great choices for essential oils include: frankincense, lavender, myrrh, helichrysum, roman chamomile
4oz glass mason jars or similar type of container
Gently heat olive oil/almond oil/jojoba oil choice, coconut oil, beeswax, and shea butter in a double boiler. Add optional vitamin E oil. I prefer not to add my essential oils to piping hot carrier oils. You can cool the carrier mixture slightly (watching carefully so it doesn’t get too hard), adding the essential oils at the last possible stir in moment. Pour quickly but carefully into small 4oz glass mason jars and cap them to keep the goodness in while cooling. Use as soon as it sets.
Our local TN beeswax is $.75/oz, $6/half pound, $10/pound.
If you don’t have time to DIY, there are some dear friends of ours, the Del Castillo family, who makes a really smooth and wonderful cream that they formulated originally for eczema. However, the list of ingredients happen to include many of my favorite sunscreen components. I have been using it on Joshua’s tender baby skin in between my own batches of cream to protect him from getting sunburn as he watches his sister’s swim lessons with daddy. By purchasing their cream you are also supporting Israel as they use the profits gained to travel and support Israel’s farmers. You can email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more and to place an order. You can find out more about the important volunteer work they do in Israel by visiting www.hayovel.com