HOMEMADE WITH NIKITA: SUNSCREEN

In her latest Homemade With Nikita column (check out her guide to growing your own container garden!) DIY guru Nikita shares with us her recipe for simple sunscreen. 

WORDS & IMAGES: NIKITA ANDERSON

Ah, summer.  A magical time of year when your tomatoes start to ripen, the lavender is in full bloom, and the sun is in full swing.  The beautiful, unforgiving sun, providing for us while simultaneously wreaking havoc on our bodies.  It leaves us at an impasse: we’re taught to avoid the sun at all costs, denying ourselves precious vitamin D, while the sunscreen market is so overwhelming at times, it’s hard to discern what exactly we should be putting on our skin (and why).

Most store-bought sunscreens contain harmful petrochemicals that damage everything from your hormones to the coral reefs  The chemicals typically found in sunscreen - namely oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate - are used for their skin-penetrating qualities, developed so you don’t need to re-apply as often.  However, since these chemicals easily penetrate the skin, they have been shown to enter your system and mimic your hormones, leading to changes in estrogen, testosterone and androgen.  Disrupted hormones cause endometriosis, thyroid issues, and (as shown in animals) disrupted sperm production. This is bad news for everyone, especially those of us who already live with hormone sensitivities. 

The solution?

Making your own.  It seems like DIY blogs are popping up left and right with sunscreen solutions, offering the smoothest or creamiest or most fragrant.  But what about the easiest?  This past June, my partner and I were celebrating our six-year anniversary by traveling to the Great Sand Dunes in Colorado.  We didn’t have much time, and I wanted to bring sunscreen with us on our journey.  Having a hormone sensitivity myself, I was adamant about making my own, but it was hard to find a recipe that was quick, easy, and effective.  I searched high and low for different recipes, finding some truly luxurious ones with ingredients like carrot or apricot oil, but I didn’t have the time to go hunting for hard-to-find ingredients.  So, I made up my own.  It’s quick, it’s simple, it’s cheap, and it works.  Some sunscreens may boast being the most whipped, the most luxurious, the most fragrant.  But for me, simplicity is key.  This is something you can make in a snap before a big trip.

Here’s all you need:

½ c. coconut oil

½ c. shea butter

2-3 tbsp. zinc oxide*

1 tsp. vitamin E oil (optional)

15 drops lavender essential oil (optional)

In a double boiler, heat the coconut oil and shea butter until melted.  Remove from heat.  Stir in zinc oxide, vitamin E oil, and lavender essential oil.  Pour into a jar, shaking it every so often to make sure it stays blended.  Now head outside, rub it on your bod, and enjoy the rest of summer petrochemical free!

*You can find zinc oxide online or at your local herbal apothecary.