Summer is all about optimism, vacations, and good vibes. We do our best to look our best – but while fashion styles may come and go, what’s more important is that we feel our best. What is the one item that will never go out of trend? Sunscreen!
It’s no secret that the ozone layer that protects us from dangerous UV radiation is becoming thinner every year. The result is that we are more exposed to the damaging effects of climate change on our bodies: wrinkles and signs of premature ageing, sun spots and inflammations, bad sunburns, and even skin cancer.
Decades ago, sunscreen was an absolute must only when one went to the beach – nowadays, experts recommend applying it on exposed skin daily, especially in the summer. Many of the cosmetics that we apply on our skin all year long – mainly for aesthetic reasons, like face cream or foundation – also have a certain sun protection factor (SPF).
And because we use SPF products so often, we should be even more aware of their composition. Unfortunately, the list of ingredients in SPF products often contains a multitude of undesirable chemical substances. Do you understand all the ingredients on the label of your products? If reading the label of your sunscreen lotion makes you want to look up the ingredients in a dictionary, you should consider turning to more natural products and methods to protect yourself from the sun.
Luckily, there are quite a few natural substances that provide SPF! Here’s a list of natural oils that provide protection against radiation:
According to The National Center for Biotechnology Information, “Propolis and its extracts have numerous applications in treating various diseases due to its antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, antimycotic, antifungal, antiulcer, anticancer, and immunomodulatory properties”. It’s no surprise that this is one of the best natural substances which provides SPF protection!
2. Olive oil and olive leaf oil
Olive oil is best known as a delicious and healthy ingredient. In addition, it has plenty of other qualities that make it useful outside the kitchen. Virgin olive oil is great for hair masks and it is often used in cosmetics. But did you know it has a sun protection factor higher than 7? This makes it one of the natural oils with the highest SPF factor!
What is even less known is that olive leaves are actually higher in beneficial polyphenols than olive oil itself!
3. Coconut oil
A delicious and exotic ingredient, this oil has various uses. One of its surprising qualities is that it blocks 20% of the sun’s radiation! In this BBC article about the benefits of coconut oil, we learn more about its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties, and that “limited but consistent evidence appears to support the topical use of coconut oil for the prevention and treatment of mild to moderate cases of chronic skin conditions, such as atopic dermatitis. It has also been shown to alleviate some complex skin conditions, such as eczema or psoriasis.”
4. Castor oil
Yes, castor oil offers sunscreen protection! And that’s not the only reason why it’s so highly appreciated in the skin care industry. It’s also known to promote overall skin health and prevent skin ageing. Plus, it’s a versatile eco-friendly substance used for replacing traditional plastics. Thus, castor oil is not only good for you but also for the environment!
5. Peppermint Oil
With a pleasant, cooling fragrance, peppermint oil is perfect for the hot summer days. Besides the agreeable aroma, it is also one of the natural oils that offers the highest protection against solar radiation.
Isn’t it amazing to know that we can turn to natural oils in order to avoid chemical cosmetics? But it’s also important to keep in mind that natural oils on their own offer only an SPF of up to 7, which is not enough to protect our skin when the sun is strong. So it’s important to check if our natural sunscreen product is certified for at least SPF15.
Here are some other useful sun safety tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
・Stay in the shade
・Wear clothes made of densely woven fabrics and darker colours
・Wear hats and sunglasses
・Avoid outdoor activities when the sun is strongest
・Avoid prolonged exposure to sun