But sunburn is no fun either. Last summer on a hot day, I decided to go out blackberry picking wearing a tank top to keep cool. It was really thoughtless. Me, whiter than sour cream, going out into the sun with bare shoulders, I’m sure you can guess what happened. I came in looking like a lobster. Now I make sure to wear sleeves and a hat when I go berry picking.
That works for me, but my kids have just as light a complexion as I do, and burn just as easily. Problem is, they don’t keep hats on very well, and at least one of them has a tendency to come in with fewer clothes than he went out in (what’s up with that?).
This year, I decided to try making my own homemade natural sunscreen. It’s basically a homemade lotion, with the addition of zinc oxide. You should find these ingredients readily available online. The zinc oxide protects the skin against the sun, and while the SPF (Sun Protection Factor) numbers are a little lower, it turns out, SPF 30 isn’t twice as effective as SPF 15. SPF 15 protects against 93 percent of UV rays, while 30 protects against 97%.
Homemade mineral sunscreens tend to be about 20 SPF, which works well for me.
If you’re skeptical of homemade sunscreen, try making a small test batch substituting teaspoons for tablespoons. Or if you love it, use cups (or half cups) instead of tablespoons!
Mineral Sunscreen Recipe
- 2 Tablespoons shea butter
- 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 Tablespoon zinc oxide
- 4 drops tea tree, carrot or raspberry oil
Melt the shea butter and coconut oil over low heat. Remove from heat, and stir in the zinc oxide and tea tree oil or other suggested oil.
Pour into a container and let cool completely before using.
To use: apply liberally to exposed skin. Rub in well.
I find that it smears on much like commercial sunscreen, but once you’ve rubbed it in, you can barely tell that it’s there.
About the author: Elise New aka The Frugal Farm Wife blogs about farm life, frugal living tips, DIY Projects, and making gluten free food tasty and affordable. Visit her blog at www.frugalfarmwife.com