Another of my favorites so far is the sunscreen bar!
It’s basically a bar version of my homemade sunscreen, and it avoids all the chemicals and potential carcinogens in regular sunscreen. It’s also easier to apply, since it is in a bar (use it almost like soap) and easier for kids to do themselves. I would recommend keeping it in the cooler if you take it to the beach, because it will start to get soft when the temperature hits the high 80s, but it will store well at room temperature.
I’d also encourage experimenting with how much coverage you want based on how much Zinc Oxide you add to the recipe, as this will be a smoother and thinner (and more waterproof) coverage than the basic sunscreen recipe. When possible, it is also important to spend some time in the sun without sunscreen for vitamin D production and there are some supplements and high nutrient foods that will help you avoid burn when you don’t use sunscreen.
Sunscreen Bar Ingredients:
1 cup coconut oil (I get mine here)
1 cup shea butter, cocoa butter or mango butter (or a mix of all three equal to 1 cup)
1 cup beeswax (can add an extra ounce or two if you want a thicker consistency, which leaves less lotion on the skin when used)(I get mine here)
2 tablespoons (or more) of Zinc Oxide (available online or in many stores on the diaper aisle, just make sure it is pure zinc oxide- For those concerned about contaminants or nano-particles, this version has larger particles)
optional: Vitamin E oil to preserve. I added 1 tsp vitamin E oil for this recipe made with 1 cup of each ingredient)
optional: a few drops of vanilla or essential oil for scent (do not use citrus oils!)
How to Make:
Combine all ingredients (except zinc oxide and essential oils if using) in a double boiler, or a glass bowl over a smaller saucepan with 1 inch of water in it.
Turn the burner on and bring water to a boil. Stir ingredients constantly until they are melted and smooth:
lotion bars recipe Homemade Sunscreen BarsRemove from heat and add the zinc oxide powder and essential oils.
Gently stir by hand until essential oils are incorporated.
Carefully pour into molds or whatever you will be allowing the lotion bars to harden in. I used these silicon baking cups, though any mold would work. This recipe exactly filled 12 silicon baking cups when I made it.
Allow the lotion bars to cool completely before attempting to pop out of molds. These could be made in different shaped molds for different holiday gifts (hearts for valentines, flowers for Mother’s day, etc) or made in a square baking pan and then cut into actual bars.
They can be stored at room temperature or in the fridge or freezer for longer term storage. Keep below 80 degrees or they will melt! Adjust coverage to your needs and be careful not to burn while determining how long you can spend in the sun with these.
It is also important to protect your skin internally by making sure that your body has the nutrients it needs to avoid burning, even when you don’t use sunscreen.
About this time of year, I start taking a specific regimen of supplements that help reduce inflammation and improve sun tolerance. The supplements I take are:
Vitamin D3 (I take about 5,000 IU/day)- Emerging evidence shows that optimizing blood levels of Vitamin D can have a protective effect against sunburn and skin cancer
Vitamin C (I take about 2,000 mg/day)- A potent anti0inflammatory, and it is good for the immune system too.
1/4 cup coconut oil melted in a cup of herbal tea per day- the Medium Chain Fatty Acids and saturated fat are easily utilized by the body for new skin formation and are protective against burning
Fermented Cod Liver Oil/High Vitamin Butter Oil Blend (also great for remineralizing teeth)-Probably the most important supplement for sun protection. I take double doses during the summer and the kids take it too. Since adding this and the coconut oil daily, none of us have burned. It’s also great for digestive and oral health. (Amazon finally has the capsules back in stock)
Astaxanthin- A highly potent antioxidant which research shows acts as an internal sunscreen. It’s also supposedly an anti-aging supplement. I don’t give this one to the kids though.