When I was a kid, sunscreens were called “suntan
lotions.” I’m sure everyone my age remembers the Coppertone girl.
She was in magazines, on billboards, and on TV. Just click on the
images to see the larger version.
This first ad is from the fifties. There is no
mention of sunscreen. The second one is late sixties or early
seventies. The term sunscreen is in there, but I personally don’t
remember hearing that term until the mid-eighties. One of the first
things I heard about sunscreens was that they were toxic and
probably not protecting anyone from cancer, and in fact, they were, most
likely, contributing to the cause of cancer.
The Environmental Working Group lists the worst
of the worst here:
Sunscreen Hall of Shame.
One thing the article points out is so many
sunscreens list an SPF of 60 and 70 when this is pure BS. Your
sunscreen tops out somewhere between 30 and 50. And the chemicals in
them are toxic, but don’t expect the FDA to move on them soon. This
is the “free market” at work. Survival of the fittest.
However, before you put ON a sunscreen, you might
want to consider putting a sunscreen IN your body.
Sun Protection from the Inside Out
Fish and some reptiles have a natural
antioxidant inside that protect them from the sun called gadusol.
Gadusol is similar in many ways to vitamin C or ascorbic acid. Did
you know that spraying your body with ascorbic acid will protect you
from the sun? The problem is, research won’t soon find out if it
works for humans, but you can read about it here:
One of the best newsletters I've ever gotten is
from Dr Alan Sears. His books, programs, and products are just the
best. He actually sells a sunscreen that works from the inside out.
You can read about it here:
Sunscreen From The Inside Out.
Finally you have green tea, vitamin C, and alpha
lipoic acid. These have all been found to prevent skin damage, on
the inside, and also on the outside.
One of the first alternative sun screens I ever
made was a bit of ascorbic acid in water, sprayed onto my body. It
worked well, but if I went swimming, I had to re-apply. You should
note that buffered ascorbic acid does not give the same protection.
Later when I learned about the skin protection of
green tea, I would mix my vitamin c (ascorbic acid) in green tea. It
worked quite well, but keep in mind that I’m also pretty much
consuming the rest of the nutrition listed above.
Please Note: These nutritional
sunscreens protect you from the damaging effects of the sun. They
don't stop you from tanning and they don't stop you from being
really stupid and getting burnt to a crisp. We need the sun, but
even when protected, we still need it in moderation.
Homemade Sunscreen/Suntan Lotions
Once again, sunscreen used to be suntan lotions.
They did not cut out all UV rays; their SPFs were low, around 6, to
10, sometimes maybe 12. It’s hard to tell because they are no longer
This is a 1955 ad. Click on it to view it fully.
This one is from around 1970. Click on it to view.
As a teen, I used to use olive oil on my skin and
lemon juice in my hair and pretend I could surf. However, my life as
a beach bum was interrupted by the war in Vietnam.
How SPF Works
Let us hypothetically say that if you sat in the
sun with nothing on your skin, you would burn in half an hour. An
SPF 2 on you would double that time: 1 hour. An SPF of 10 would
allow you to burn ten times later, or 10 X 30, after 300 minutes, or
First, let us make a base. Your base depends on
whether you want it to stay on if you go for a swim. Most oils will
stay on when you go swimming, to a degree, but to make sure they
stay on, you need a base of bees wax.
We’ll start with a suntan lotion for those of you
who want to tan; a relatively low SPF.
Macadamia nut oil.
Yup, that’s it. It has an SPF of 6. If you are
light/fair skinned, you’ll want to suntan less than someone with
dark skin. For this, macadamia nut oil is all you need. It’s great
for your skin, allows you to sit out six times longer than you would
with nothing, and it smells wonderful. And now you can find it at
Simply the Best: Macadamia Nut Oil.
You can add essential oils to your macadamia nut
oil, such as ylang ylang, or jasmine.
If, however, you want a very powerful sunscreen,
then we’re going to have to make up something with a high SPF and
oils that are great for your skin.
¼ Cup Macadamia Nut oil (SPF 6)
¼ Cup Coconut oil (SPF 4 – 12, avg 6)
¼ Cup Beeswax (SPF 15)
If all of the above are organic, you’ve got
yourself a very healing lotion. The macadamia nut oil is as good for
you, if not better than the expensive Argon oil, and Coconut Oil
contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Organic beeswax also
fights free radicals. Together, this is one heck of a combination.
Mix up as much as you want in a quart jar with
that above ratio (1:1:1), boil up some water on the stove, and place
this in the middle. As the coconut oil and beeswax start to
melt, start stirring to mix everything together.
Now, if you want even more protection, find
Be careful not to breathe in the zinc oxide
powder, and stir well to mix it evenly and thoroughly.
Two more oils you can add that have super high
SPFs are Red Raspberry Seed Oil (min SPF 25) and Carrot Seed Oil
(min SPF 35).
Depending on how long you want to be out and how
quickly you and your family burn will determine how much of these
oils you add. Usually most people add just a teaspoon, but you can
add a quarter cup. This way you won’t need the zinc oxide powder.
Finally, vitamin E oil is always good to add; our
skin loves vitamin E. Now get this, the Red Raspberry Seed Oil
above? It's got Vitamin E in it. And the Carrot Seed Oil has Vitamin
A. However, Wheat Germ Oil is your best source for Vitamin E and
this has an SPF rating of 20.
And should you burn, you'll want to have on hand
one of Ron Salley's amazing creams:
Island Sunburn Crème.
Testimonials abound on this, saying the pain was gone in minutes and
they did not peel. But like most things, you have to have it on hand
when you need it.