As a mom, we’re always worrying. We worry about nutrition, whether our kids are getting enough sleep, activity, socialization, stimulation…The list goes on. And in the summer, we worry about adequate hydration, overheating and sunburns. Then, there’s all these new studies and information on the chemicals that are in the sunscreens, some of which are more dangerous than the sunburn itself. Dr. Axe from draxe.com gives a thorough explanation of this on his website. He explains which ones to look for and which ones to throw out.
Did you know that the 2018 report from Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that nearly 67 percent of sunscreens didn’t work? Meaning, these sunscreens provide inadequate sun protection and/or they contained harmful ingredients.
There’s still over a month of summer left and it’s not too late to learn about new and better ways to protect yourself from the sun such as better coverage and sun hats, seeking shade, eating certain foods and using natural sunscreen.
I just whipped up a batch of Natural Sunscreen Lotion Bars for my babies. They’re ages 9 and 12 but they’re still my babies! I prefer to sit in the shade most of the time but my kids prefer full sun, of coarse – just so I can worry more. These bars are almost my exact recipe for Body Butter Bars except with a bit more beeswax to help keep them firm and the addition of zinc oxide powder. They require only 4 natural ingredients, shea butter with a natural SPF of 6, avocado oil with a natural SPF of 15, beeswax and zinc oxide powder gives UVA and UVB protection, to make approximately 3 good sized bars for your family or to share with your friends.
Shea Butter adds a luxurious creaminess to any body product and it smells so good. It’s naturally high in vitamins A, E and F and is perfect for sensitive skin. Never buy refined shea butter – the process removes 95% of these awesome vitamins. It’s rich enough to be used on its own as a skin and hair moisturizer. Shea butter aids in the skin’s natural collagen production and contains oleic, stearic, palmitic, and linolenic acids that protect and nourish the skin. It reduces wrinkles, heals chapped lips, and speeds healing. Shea butter has anti-inflammatory properties and a natural SPF of 6. Native to West Africa, the Karite tree which produces shea nuts, has been providing the West African people with sun protection and healing for thousands of years. It is common practice there to apply raw shea butter to protect newborn babies skin – that is how mild it is. Above all, purchasing shea butter from Ghana, West Africa makes the lives a bit better for the women and children there. I’ve ordered shea butter from a lot of different companies over the years and this Shea Butter seriously rocks! It’s pure, raw and simple – the way nature intended.
Avocado Oil is one of my favorite all around oils. It is a must in most of my skin preparations for good reason. I have experienced an incredible transformation in the look and feel of my skin – it’s silkier, smoother and has a quenched feeling. Avocado oil is extremely concentrated in monounsaturated fatty acids, phytosterols, potassium, magnesium, vitamins A, D & E and other antioxidants. It is believed to penetrate through the epidermis and into the dermis layer of our skin, increasing collagen levels and has a natural SPF of 15.
Beeswax smells amazing! It is another one of my favorite ingredients. It’s used in a moisturizer to lock the moisture in your skin and to add firmness to the Sunscreen Lotion Bar and helps it stay on in water. I have a giant block of beeswax that I purchased off of a beekeeper years ago that I hack off of for my recipes. This is very cost effective but it takes a bit of time to shave it off with a knife for each recipe. You can also grate it but keep in mind that the grater (and knife) will forever be for beeswax grating as it does not wash off. Of coarse that’s ok, you just need to have an extra one. On the plus side, clean up is quick as you never have to wash the grater. The beeswax pastilles are much quicker.
Zinc Oxide Powder provides UVA and UVB protection. Make sure you purchase non-nano. This means that there are not nano-sized particles entering your body. Other sunscreens cannot claim this and it is not regulated. In this recipe I used approximately 15% zinc oxide, that amount, combined with the natural SPF in the shea butter and avocado oil gives you at least a 20 SPF. You can use more or less zinc oxide to change the level of protection to suit your needs.
1/3 cup Shea Butter
1/3 cup Avocado Oil
1/2 cup Organic Yellow Beeswax Pastilles
3 Tablespoons non-nano Zinc Oxide Powder
1. Melt the beeswax and avocado oil (not the shea butter yet) in a double boiler or in a 1 litre glass Pyrex measuring cup over a pot of water with about an inch of water in it, on medium heat. Stir occasionally (a chopstick works great) until the last of the beeswax is just melted. Don’t overheat or you will cook the goodness out of your oil.
2. Turn off your element and add your shea butter (shea butter must be melted slowly on low heat so I add it at the end, this prevents it from turning gritty) stirring lightly until melted. You can also add a few drops of pure essential oil at this point if you desire. Lavender essential oil works good in sunscreen as it keeps insects away as well. Remember though, any citrus essential oils will increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun.
3. Quickly add the zinc oxide powder, being careful not to breathe it in, it is recommended to cover your face during this step. Whisk it in until perfectly blended and smooth – this takes a bit but keeping the ingredients on your double boiler keeps them from setting up on you while your incorporating the zinc oxide powder.
4. Immediately and carefully pour into a muffin tin, silicone cupcake liners, silicone mold or soap molds. For an ointment (which will double as a zinc ointment for skin conditions and babies bottoms), pour it directly into a metal tin instead of a mold.
5. Leave to set up & cool completely. You can put them in the fridge to cool faster.
6. Release from molds, store in a cool place in a plastic container or metal tins. Sunscreen Lotion Bars make for a mess free sunscreen to take to the beach. You can store them between pieces of wax paper in a container in the fridge and they will last until next year’s hot season. Of coarse, it is recommended to protect your skin in all seasons so ideally, use this year round.
In this recipe I used approximately 15% zinc oxide, that amount, combined with the natural SPF in the shea butter and avocado oil gives you at least a 20 SPF. Mineral sunscreens such as this do not penetrate your skin like the toxic ones on the market, they sit on top of your skin and reflect the sun’s rays. This means that you must reapply it often, possibly every hour, although the beeswax in the recipe helps the sunscreen stay on in the water.
Hold onto the bar like a bar of soap and glide it over your skin. It will melt easily, then use your fingers to rub it in. For use on your face and body. Like any sunscreen, it will melt in hot temperatures so keep in in your cooler at the beach. If you carry it in a metal tin it will simply melt into the shape of the tin and can be applied like a balm, it will be just as effective.
This Natural Sunscreen Lotion Bar feels truly amazing. I have never had anything make my skin so soft and supple. It really is a must make product!
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