In my search for alternatives to cancer causing sunscreen (yes even the establishment acknowledge this) I found many sites with natural home made sunscreen recipes.
PRO's: Blogs I have found to be consistently reliable had recipes with readers comments supporting their efficiency. They are easily made. In the end it is a lot cheaper, definitely better for your skin (non chemical moisturising etc) and definitely better for your whole body (no toxins). I made my own and the results were, no sunburn.
UVA rays are ones that cause the cancers and most commercial sunscreens don't stop them. They may stop UVB which is the main cause of the burn. Sunscreen does not decrease basal cell carcinoma forming.
Zinc oxide appears to be the best sun block and has a long, positive history of skin use. While other ingredients may degrade in the sunlight, zinc does not. Beware that nano zinc oxide probably enters into the skin through the pores and creates the same problems you are trying to avoid. Buy non-nano zinc oxide.
Commercial sunscreens have chemicals that increase the risk of:
skin cancer, endocrine system disruption, hormonal disruption, allergies, damage to the environment, decreased Vitamin D uptake (which decreases cholesterol sulfate - in turn increasing the risk of Alzheimer's, depression, cancer, Parkinson's etc).
People get sunburnt using commercial made sunscreens often because of misleading advertising, overstated claims and wrong expectation.
There is debate about whether Essential Oils do have SPF.
The FDA has a long list of approving dangerous medications and foods that eventually were banned because of the great damage done to people.
The most recent head of FDA was previously a lobbyist in the White House for pharmaceutical companies ($$$$) and was a board and consultant member for a company whose sole purpose is to help pharmaceutical companies evade and manipulate FDA regulations($$$$)
The last one was a former employee of Monsanto ($$$$).
CON: I have read criticism such as,"if you use home made sunscreens you will get cancer" because you will get burnt so bad. This was written by doctors. I reserve my comment....just.
I like the idea of Essential oils having high SPF levels and hope they do.
Tisserand (essential oil expert) says he doubts there is any SPF of any great value. https://www.facebook.com/RobertTisserandEssentialTraining/posts/969961426368392
Some have noted long historical use of coconut and olive oil use to help prevent sunburn. Mostly people who lived where there are coconuts have black skin and those who live where olive oil was used have Mediterranean olive skin. I'm not satisfied that it prevented sun burn on my ancestors Irish skin when it wasn't raining in Ireland.
Another concern noted by some is that zinc oxide has a tendency to clump leaving "holes" in your cover that are not seen by the eye.
Some people say their home made sunscreen didn't work (but didn't show their failed recipes).
I have seen some curious claims of high SPF with some home made recipes and couldn't get the maths to add up to their claim, even on the presumption that Essential Oils have high SPF.
Conclusion: This is not the end of the story because the sunscreen did work. It is reported that zinc oxide adds a SPF according to the percentage of Zinc powder used. Over 20% it will show up increasingly white.
SPF does not work in percentages so to have SPF 20 is not 1/2 of SPF 40. Don't believe very much of what is advertised in regard to sunscreens SPF levels if only for the fact that SPF is not the whole story. What they are not telling you makes the difference. Marketing is propaganda.
Even if Essential Oils do not contribute notably to SPF they do contribute to improved skin healing. This in itself is a good reason to include it in sunscreen as damage control.
If you make sunscreen and you keep getting burnt STOP USING IT! Its not hard to work out.
Another thing, its not sensible to test it on your baby. Test it on yourself or a willing adult. This is the failing of those who are very vocal against home made sunscreen. It does not hurt to try as it is very easy to tell if it works. Normal skin colour for success, Red for failure.
Patch testing on your skin will minimise a catastrophic failure.
You don't need to know what the SPF is, you just need to find out if it works and how long it works for.
This is a basic, inexpensive recipe for you to try
20gm Zinc Oxide powder (non nano)
10 gm Red Raspberry Seed Oil (its cheaper than Carrot Seed Oil, but you could mix this with say, Lavender oil as it is soothing on the skin)
30gm Coconut Oil
40gm Shea Butter
Use Olive oil instead of some of the Shea butter if it is too stiff a mixture.
If you need "stick" because of excessive perspiration or swimming, replace 10gm of the coconut oil or shea butter with bees wax.
When using wax, melt it and pour your other oils as liquids into the wax slowly, mixing, not the other way around (it is likely to lump).
This should roughly give you a SPF over 20.. For a higher SPF, increase the percentage of Zinc Oxide if you don't mind an opaque, whitish sheen.
Living near the tropics the coconut oil is often liquid. Work out what will make a spreadable cream with the mix for your climate.
I have added some turmeric to the sunscreen because of:
It doesn't show up as colour on the skin in the amount I used but be aware that turmeric stains. Turmeric is excellent for skin.
Aloe vera gel may also be beneficial.
A friend who works out side in our hot weather often would get terribly burnt even using commercial sunscreens. I gave mine to him for testing (where the rubber hits the road) and he loves it. He even said the smell is good and it tastes ok. Because he sweats so much taste was important. He gives it to his work colleagues now also and they like it too.
How do I know its stopping most of the UVA rays that don't cause burn? The Zinc Oxide. If there are "holes" in the Zinc spread, there should be burn spots also. If they are too small to allow burn, then the amount UVA getting through is small enough not to concern me. Don't let the fear mongers get to you, we need some sun to live.