Summer is almost here so it’s time to talk about sunscreen. Sunscreens usually come with a sun protection factor (SPF) rating that measures how much protection they offer. An SPF 15 rating means that only 1⁄15 of the burning parts of sunlight, the UV rays, reach the skin.
Research has shown that using sunscreen may decrease your risk of certain types of skin cancers and precancers. Regular daily use of SPF 15 sunscreen can reduce your risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) by about 40 percent and lower your melanoma risk by 50 percent.
When choosing an effective sunscreen there are some things to consider beyond the SPF rating. Look for sunscreens that offer broad spectrum protection, they offer more complete protection for your skin. Avoid products that contain chemicals such as PABA and oxybenzone. The environmental working group has an excellent guide to sunscreens and it can be found here on this website.
If you want to know exactly what is in your sunscreen it is possible to make your own. Something to know about homemade sunscreen is that it may not be as effective as the store bought stuff. The research is mixed about whether the following natural ingredients offer meaningful SPF protection except for zinc oxide which is known to offer good protection.
- Almond Oil
- Coconut Oil
- Zinc Oxide
- Red Raspberry Seed Oil
- Shea Butter
- 1/2 cup almond oil
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup beeswax
- 2 Tablespoons Zinc Oxide (non-nano version)
- up to 1 teaspoon Red Raspberry Seed Oil
- up to 1 teaspoon Vitamin E oil
- 2 tablespoons Shea Butter
- A few drops of your favorite Essential Oil (Lavender or vanilla work well)
Combine your ingredients in a pint sized or larger glass jar, except for the zinc oxide.
Fill a medium saucepan with a couple inches of water and place over medium heat.
Put a lid on the jar loosely and place in the pan with the water.
As everything starts to melt, shake or stir occasionally to mix it. Once everything is completely melted, add the zinc oxide, stir in very thoroughly. Make sure not to inhale the Zinc Oxide, be very careful, consider wearing a mask when adding the zinc to the mix. While it is still in liquid form pour into smaller containers, once cooled it will solidify. Store in a cool, dry place or in the fridge.
If you want to know more about how to keep your skin healthy and vibrant please give us a call, we have doctors who can help.
Topical Sunscreen Application Preventing Skin Cancer: Systematic Review
Paola Perugini *, Margherita Bonetti, Arianna Cecilia Cozzi and Giorgio Lorenzo Colombo
Department of Drug Science, University of Pavia, via Taramelli 12, 27100 Pavia, Italy