Last year marked the 3rd summer without me using commercial sunscreen. What I used instead were various blends of plant oils I have been mixing at home.
That memorable week I received a delivery of oils by brands I have not tried before and curious how they would compare – and also worried about using them on my then 20 month old daughter – I decided to do a simple home experiment using tape and oils on my husband’s totally untanned back.
While I had already known from the experience of the past 2 summers, that these oils were very effective, it was the first time I could actually see the results and compare how they fare between each other at preventing sun burn.
Within two days, the post has reached 2.5 million people, has been shared and commented on tens of thousands of times. Your enthusiasm, comments and questions have pushed me to dive deep into the research in order to understand more about the principles of photoprotective capacities of plants. The result of which is this website and the articles in which I am sharing my knowledge.
You can read my article here:
If you are looking for an effective and 100% natural sun protection for you and your children, one that is not only non toxic, but actually nourishing for your skin and body, this is a post for you.
Number of plants produce oils with sun protective properties and I have been using them exclusively for the past 3 summers here on Mallorca, including on the skin of my now 20 month old daughter, who has never been touched by commercial sun screen.
Few days ago I decide to test a bunch of them on my husband who agreed for me to use his completely pale skin as a test subject and you can see the results on the attached pictures. This is from 1 hour exposure 15:00 to 16:00 on Mallorca, Spain.
Here are the brands and oils tested:
1. Carrot oil – Fushi 100ml – 9.65GBP (edited to correct that I in fact used Carrot Oil and not Carrot Seed oil, My apologies for the mistake)
2. Organic Wheatgerm Oil – Naissance Convive 500ml – 16.99GBP
3. Wheatgerm Oil – Belenos Therapy 100ml 8 GBP
4. Raspberry Seed Oil Cold Pressed – Naissance 100ml – 9.99GBP
5. Nothing – bare skin
6. Coconut Oil Bio – Natursoy 200g – 7 Euros
Nutritional Content and my experience of using the oils:
Rich in Carotene and Vitamin-A, both of which are powerful anti-oxidants, it helps promote youthful and supple skin.
Fushi – organic, cold pressed Carrot Oil
Orange in colour with a delicate smell of beta carotene (you know it if you ever took beta carotene supplements).
This oil requires little care in handling because of its colour, which can rub onto your clothing.
The good news is, in my experience it does not stain permanently and washes off without a problem and it also gives your skin a nice sun kissed glow.
I’ve used it on its on to maximize the sun protective factor or diluted with coconut or wheatgerm oil.
I use it on my skin during the mid day sun, without ever getting burned.
Wheat Germ Oil
Wheat Germ Oil contains high levels of Vitamin E as well as other vitamins, minerals, protein, linoleic, oleic, palmitic, and stearic fatty acids. This oil helps dry and cracked skin, Eczema, stretch marks, dull complexion, scars and sun burns.
Organic Wheatgerm Oil – Naissance Convive
Light brown in colour with a nice and fresh smell of unripened wheat grain if you ever had the pleasure of smelling it. It give the skin nice glow. Based on the result of my test, this brand seems to be more sun protective than the oil produced by Balenos Therapy.
Balenos Therapy – Wheat Germ Oil
This oil is light brown/orangy in colour and has a slightly toasted smell, similar to the smell of crushed mature wheat grain.
It strains a little when not rubber in entirely thus you may want to be careful when wearing light colour clothing.
The bottles are plastic and have a convenient applicator which makes using it easier, however the slightly toasted smell may not be to everyones liking. It also seems less protective to the other brand.
Raspberry seed oil
This oil is a very rich source of essential fatty acids and Vitamin E. The polyphenols help improve skin tone and elasticity and aid skin regeneration. It also helps maintain moisture while offering anti-inflammatory properties.
Raspberry seed oil cold pressed Neissance
Light gold in colour and with an appealing, fresh and leafy smell similar to the aroma of freshly dried hey.
This one is ideal to use on the face and on areas that tent to get burned easiest such as nose and shoulders. It undoubtedly has a very highly sun protective properties and I would recommend it to anyone with pale and sensitive skin, including babies.
As we all have different skin color and sensitivity to sun, I would encourage you to start with the oil with higher factor like Carrot Seed Oil or Raspberry Seed Oil and observe your skins tolerance and reaction to find what works for you. Re-applying is also essential.
Most importantly what I would like you to get out of this is that, there are safe and natural alternatives to commercial sun screens, which can be purchased in health food stores or online (I get mine from Amazon.co.uk).
Also, it is estimated that between 4,000 to 6,000 metric tons of sunscreen end up in the oceans worldwide, resulting in 10 percent of coral reefs being threatened by sunscreen-induced bleaching.
Last year Hawaii went as far as trying to ban sunscreen all together to protect their coral reefs. By adopting new practice of using natural oils over commercial sunscreen and by sharing this information with our family and friends we can help protect the oceans and ourselves from unnecessary toxins.