As those of us in the northern hemisphere begin to experience the onset of summertime, the warm sunshine and increasing heat reminds us that our skin needs to be protected.
The common instinct is to slather on some standard sunblock and call it a day. However, there are some ingredients in usual sunscreen that could be potentially harmful to your health. There are also days when you may not be spending extended periods in direct sunlight, but still want some degree of reinforcement.
This is where plant-based alternatives can be great options! You can achieve some safety from the sun without committing to the downsides of chemical options. Just remember that these oils are not claiming to be analogous to natural sunscreen, nor do they operate the same way.
Differences to Consider
Keep in mind that these natural options do not work the exact same as classic sunscreens do, and therefore should not be treated as such. Since standard sunscreen is designed to block both UVA and UVB rays, not all plants can do the same. During instances that you want legitimate sunscreen, non-nano zinc oxide is your best bet as the active barrier ingredient.
For these reasons, the natural suggestions here are best used on days that you’d rather not go bare but also aren’t in enough sun to merit full-scale measures.
It is also difficult for studies to gauge a definite comparative SPF (sun protection factor) value to these oils, so they are often presented in a range. This is because the amount of protection depends on other contributing factors, such as amount or concentration applied and frequency, as it should. Regardless, these selections can also be great for playing restorative roles in the repair and maintenance of skin before and after it sees the sun. You can also use them in conjunction with classic protectant for enhanced qualities!
1. Carrot Seed Oil, 100% Pure (1oz)
Although you may not think of carrots as something to use topically, this is actually a great oil to use for the sun. Carrot seed oil is rich in antioxidants and is estimated to hold an approximate SPF of around 38-40. In addition, its bioflavonoids have been studied for their propensity to fight cancer cells. This is a key attribute to consider if you spend time in the sun.
Consider adding a drop or two of carrot seed oil onto the skin before applying your sunscreen, or mix with your favorite lotion on a fairly indoor day. If you’re having trouble tracking it down in person, go for this one by Rejuve Naturals which offers 100% pure oil with nothing added.
2. Kapuluan Raw Organic Coconut Oil (2oz)
One of the most ubiquitous options for low-level sun preparation is using coconut oil. This is a great option if you’re looking to get primary moisturization and won’t be in harsh sun for too long.
With a natural SPF of around 4, coconut oil isn’t for those long beach outing but can help prevent a burn during days on the go when you want a soothing emollient layer. Give this raw and organic one by Kapuluan a try — and feel free to use it on your hair and nails too for even more nourishment. This Amazon Customer described it as a “very good quality product, like the smell, not too strong and does not have any greasy feeling. This is my first time purchase, I am sure I will order again!”
3.Organic Wheat Germ Oil, Unrefined & Cold Pressed by Dr. Adorable (12 Oz)
As uncommon as it may sound, wheat germ oil can be a valuable topical addition to your rotational upkeep. With a strong dose of vitamin E, this provides photoprotective properties and can also prevent skin damage that sunlight may cause.
The estimated SPF of wheat germ oil is around 20, in addition to some vitamin K and vitamin B which will give you some added nourishment. Dr. Adorable makes this cold-pressed and unrefined version which offers a mild simplicity that you can mix with other favorites. Organic Mom of 5 said “LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this oil! I purchased it to use as a natural sunscreen and it really works! The smell is not all that great but that’s ok as I paired it with almond oil and essential oils of my choice to enhance the aromatic pleasure. I combined them in a spray bottle that I take everywhere.”
4. Organic Avocado Oil, Cold Pressed & Unrefined by Renewalize (4 Fl. Oz)
As it is full of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, avocado oil can form a layer over the skin which keeps it safe and nourished. These fats are also great for preventing hyper pigmentation and maintaining moisture, offering a projected SPF range from 4 to 15.
This pure avocado oil by Renewalize offers ideal ingredient quality, and is also packaged in a dark glass bottle which keeps it fresh longer and prevents oxidation. One Amazon Customer gushed that “this oil is amazing! Avocado not only helped the dry flakey skin I was experiencing but it’s helped the overall texture of my skin. Love this stuff!”
5. Nature’s Answer Alcohol-Free Ginkgo Leaf (2 Fl. Oz)
You may be somewhat familiar with this ingredient already, but likely from its prevalence as a supplement for memory assistance. However, ginkgo biloba is also great for helping limit the impacts of the sun on your skin by acting as a UV filter.
You can also enjoy the skin benefits by taking it orally to assist your skin from the inside. To get your own, Nature’s Answer offers this rendition which can be customized to your preferences. Plus, for under $15 you can’t go wrong!
All in all, there is certainly something to be said about these health-minded options. They can improve the integrity of your skin by offering more than just protection. Each unique ingredient supplies additional nutrients and assistance which can be harnessed to improve your skin’s texture and limit damage overall.
Although we don’t recommend tossing your favorite sunscreen in the trash to swap for these, it’s still incredibly helpful to know what natural options can do. Give them a try and your skin will thank you!
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