Introduction: All Natural Homemade Sunscreen

Picture of All Natural Homemade Sunscreen
This is a recipe for all natural homemade sunscreen, without zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.  A few years ago, I created this Instructable that shows you how to make your own sunscreen using these ingredients.  In response to many comments I'd been getting on it, I decided to offer a TD/ZO alternative, with all natural elements.  You can actually eat most of the ingredients!  

Carrot seed oil's high carotol content gives it its skin-rejuvenative properties, and can directly reduce the damaging effects of UV rays.  Avocado oil, sesame oil and shea butter contain a low SPF sunscreen. However, they have limited VA/UVB-filtering ability and you should not use them as your only skin protection. For a natural sunscreen with a higher SPF, use a sunscreen with titanium dioxide. Find out how to make your own here! 

NOTE: avoid using citrus oils, such as bergamont, orange, lemon or lime. They may cause unpleasant skin reactions when exposed to the sun. They also reduce a sunscreen's effectiveness.

*Even though Borax is used as a food ingredient in some countries, it is banned for such use in the US, and can be harmful if ingested in large doses.  Use gloves and a safety mask when working with borax.  

  1. Combine the sesame, avocado, jojoba, and almonds oils, shea and cocoa butters, and beeswax in a microwave-safe container and heat until just melted. Add the soy-lecithin, and stir to blend.
  2. In a small saucepan, gently warm the aloe vera gel and rose (or lavender water), and stir in borax powder. Heat to a temperature of above 75F, and stir until dissolved.  Remove from heat.
  3. When the oil and water mixtures are still warm to the touch and about the same temperature, set the small saucepan into a bowl of ice. Drizzle in the oil mixture while mixing rapidly with a small whisk until a cream forms.
  4. Add carrot-seed essential oil and coconut fragrance oil, if desired; blend thoroughly.
  5. Use a silicone spatula to transfer your mixture into a pastry bag or plastic baggie with the corner snipped off.
  6. Squeeze the lotion into your new containers and label.

  7. Apply liberally and frequently!!

Storage and Proper Application of Sunscreen

To keep homemade sunscreen from spoiling, use only clean utensils for preparation and storage. Store lotions in the refrigerator, where they will keep for about 3-4 weeks.

To achieve maximum protection, apply sunscreen to dry skin 30 minutes before exposure. Limit your sun time to under an hour.


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kliu8 (author)2013-11-26

Is there any scientific evidence these oils can block some UVB/UVB rays?

kenwork (author)kliu82014-08-21

There is much information out there if you understand the way a doctor would communicate in a research paper. Below is one example that covers DNA/UVB/UVA protections with a myriad of natural compounds. I personally use comfrey extract, combined with carrot seed oil in a base of coconut oil and I'm a happy camper. During the summer months I add some essential oils to help keep the mosquitoes away. Here is the NIH's take on the "Potential of herbs in skin protection from ultraviolet radiation":

hhemphill (author)2012-08-13

This is a great share. Thank you for posting it. I would like to add that you can add Vitamin C powder to it as well and get even more protection.

I have been mixing my own sunscreen for a long time now using natural cream ingredients such as this one. The major difference is I mix up the main batch of cream and then I use 4 tbsp of the base cream and add 1/2 tsp of Vitamin C powder.

I mix up only the 4 tbsp at a time because I use this amount up in about a week. Any longer and the Vitamin C will yellow and will not be as effective. But it really works to add the Vitamin C.

I used to burn easily and with the Vitamin C in the cream it takes a lot longer for me to be affected by sun exposure.

sunshiine (author)2012-08-05

Thanks for sharing this scooch! I do not know anything about sunscreen as I never use it. My sister has Lupus and must use it. She has to use the highest SP protection. Do you know of any natural ones that can be purchased? She is getting where she can't do a lot. She does not like chemicals but will use things if necessary. Thanks

Phil B (author)sunshiine2012-08-05

Sunshiine, search the 'Net for "Australia natural sunscreen." They are expensive, but may be what you are seeking.

I grew up going outside every summer to play and later to do farmwork. We simply got a tan and assumed that was sufficient protection. In more recent years I did a fair amount of bicycling without any special protection. Almost three years ago my doctor found an early stage melanoma on my chest. In retrospect, I would have used more protection from the sun, had I known.

I do not like sunscreen. I wear a hat with a very broad brim, sunglasses, and long sleeve shirts with a SPF value of 50.

An easy way to know the SPF value of ordinary clothing is to hold it up to light. If the fabric is SPF 50 and above, you will not be able to see light through it. If it is around SPF 30, you will see light, but not be able to make out the details. At SPF 15 you can not only see light, but make out quite a few details in a scene you might view through your window.

sunshiine (author)Phil B2012-08-05

Thanks so much Phil! I will copy this information and send to my sister! I am sorry to hear of your melanoma. Both of us prefer to wear natural fabrics. So this should not be too difficult to achieve. I will search for the sunscreen as soon as I get a chance! Thanks again for the valuable information! Have a splendorous week!

Phil B (author)sunshiine2012-08-06

Thank you. The melanoma is gone as best I and my doctor know. But, those can always come back. I have had a number of friends who never were able to live as long as I have lived; but, died of mostly heart attacks and auto accidents at quite young ages. Learning you have something that could be fatal reinforces that we have no enduring place here, and gives a focus on the life with Christ to come. Tongue in cheek, I say, "Everyone wants to go to heaven, just not today."

sunshiine (author)Phil B2012-08-06

Perhaps there is more work for you to do! My daughter had cancer, a very rare form of cancer at the age of 18, it was a very scary time for us but she is happy and well after all these years! By the way that was well said! Hope you enjoyed your vacation! Sunshiine

Phil B (author)sunshiine2012-08-07

When I mention my experience with melanoma to someone, it is very common for them to tell me about their similar experience with that or another type of cancer. Many who talk about a similar experience with some form of cancer had those experiences quite a number of years ago. I had some e-mail correspondence with the author of a book on bicycle routes in East Tennessee. She had a skin cancer experience twenty years ago. I have allowed precautions about sun exposure to reduce greatly my bicycling experiences, but she puts on the sunscreen and rides just as she always did. I am probably overly cautious, which may or may not make any difference in the end. At the risk of wandering into other topics, I also discovered a couple of years ago that the vitamin D level in my bloodstream was borderline too low. Since, I regularly take a capsule of 2000 mg each day. Vitamin D is important for our immune system and may be linked inversely to occurrences of cancer. Some say it is linked, others are not so sure or feel more study is needed.

sunshiine (author)Phil B2012-08-07

Thanks for sharing this information Phil! I have not read about vitamin D deficiency linked to cancer. That is interesting. I believe there are many causes to cancer. Dirty colon, exposure to chemicals, lack of nutrition, and diet. I have known people who beat it naturally. I have a friend loosing her life now because of cancer. I also believe she should not have chosen chemo because of her age and the presence of cancer through out her body. I hope some day the insurance companies will give our sick people an opportunity to decide to use natural medicine instead of man made medicine. A conversation about this subject could go on for a long time. I will do some search on vitamin D. Thanks Phil Have a great day! Sunshiine

Phil B (author)sunshiine2012-08-07

I did not mean to imply vitamin D causes cancer, but rather may be a preventative. That was my intent with the word "inversely." I saw a U. of Calif. TV presentation by a physician who noticed higher cancer rates in the Northeast and Upper Middle Western states in the USA. Co-incidentally, those areas are often cloudy with less sunshine and less natural vitamin D. The Southern and South Western states have more sun and less of certain types of cancers this physician and a teammate were studying. Anyway, the next time you have bloodwork done for a physical, ask for a readout on your vitamin D level.

I had a brother-in-law who died of colon cancer he had attempted to treat by naturopathic medicine. Doctors will tell you no one should die of colon cancer, but it requires regular colonoscopy, which my brother-in-law would not do because he did not trust doctors and traditional medicine. Some careful discernment would be necessary when pursuing natural medicines for cancer.

sunshiine (author)Phil B2012-08-07

Yes, Phil I understood, I just failed to explain that. I agree about careful discernment when pursuing natural medicines. I am glad more doctors are pursuing careers in natural medicine now. The problem is the HMO's not covering the natural medicines or treatments.

chillspine (author)sunshiine2012-08-13

Hey sunshiine - and everyone else -
the reason that no insurance companies will pay for 'natural' remedies is that there is no body of evidence that supports that they work with any kind of reliability - for cancer, at least. Any claims of success are anecdotal or unreproducible. Those are the facts.
We've all heard stories of someone somewhere who was cured by laetrile or tea-tree oil or coffee enemas or some such thing; but the fact is that some cancers do actually go into remission on their own - and these 'natural' or 'naturopathic' remedies "cure" cancers no more frequently than the occurrence of spontaneous remission! If you're lucky enough to have a cancer that is self-limiting (or gets killed off by your own immune system), then you could eat prunes, sit on crystal unicorns, get acupuncture, use aromatherapy, go to a chiropractor, or see a "psychic surgeon" - and you will miraculously recover. Anyway.

Sorry - I don't mean to be a killjoy, but I've seen the published evidence, and I've seen people essentially throw their lives away by choosing unproven therapies and avoiding the one chance they had to actually survive.

synthetase (author)sunshiine2012-08-09

Devita makes a large selection of natural beauty products that use Aloe instead of Water. They have a 30SPF face moisturizer that has zinc and titanium dioxide, and a 50 SPF sunscreen with the same ingredients. Both products run between 20-30 bucks. has good prices on them. I like many of the things in their line.

You can also add fine Zinc Oxide (not too much though) to lotion for some sun protection.

Of course, if you like to look really pale, add a lot. It really does make your skin look pale, but not make-up white. Ha.

You can also find sunscreen powders that are mineral makeup with added zinc and/or titanium dioxide.

sunshiine (author)synthetase2012-08-09

Thanks for sharing this information. I appreciate your time! I will send this information to my sister!

sunshiine (author)synthetase2012-08-09

Thanks so much for sharing this! I will send this to my sister. Have a splendorous day!

tencentdress (author)sunshiine2012-08-09

I recommend that you check out They are scientists and have tested many sunscreens and rate which ones work and which are dangerous. I am ill as well and my doctors recommend to stay away from any "crap" (scientific term).
We found that AllTerrain KidSport spray is a good product. My spousal unit is a red-headed land surveyor and if he remembers to reapply it, it seems to work well.

Cat on my Lap (author)2012-08-11

I understand the desire to go "all-natural" etc., but I would avoid using "sunscreen" in any mention of this formula. I fear many will interpret this as an actual alternative to sunblock. As you say it, "can directly reduce the damaging effects of UV rays," but dioxides are put into actual sunblock/screen to prevent any damage at all. As others have mentioned, it's a far better approach to prevent serious diseases than to treat them.

candymanwrx (author)2012-08-10

Pretty toe!

greenfireflygirl (author)2012-08-10

Thanks for this, it was very timely, considering that my home page just today said that most sunscreens are being said to be causing the cancers they're trying to prevent, and were suggesting alternatives. I much prefer using a natural sunscreen to carrying a parasol!

graydog111 (author)2012-08-09

About 5 years ago, I suddenly developed a melanoma on my cheek. Surgeon removed skin from my right eye to the corner of my mouth and from nose to ear. and stretch and patched to reconstruct area. He did a very nice job, got rid of the melanoma, and that side actually looks better than the other. It only cost $100,000.00 for the operation. USE SUNSCREEN, HATS AND LONG SLEEVED SHIRTS.

sitearm (author)2012-08-09

@Scoochmaru: Hi! Tweeted! Cheers : ) Site

dulciquilt (author)2012-08-09

I'm curious why you didn't add coconut oil. I haven't tried it, but have seen several articles lately where folks use it alone as a screen.

desertsniper (author)2012-08-06

very interesting write up, I have always wanted to find a better solution for uv protection. the sun screens today have some nasty chemicals in them. you mention not to use this as a main protection unless you add titanium oxide to it, isn't that still bad for your skin?

caarntedd (author)2012-08-05

Hey! How come your toenails are red but your fingernails aren't?

DoctorDv (author)2012-08-05



canucksgirl (author)2012-08-05

I really like the idea of this... Have you used it on your face? I haven't been able to find ONE sunscreen for my face that doesn't irritate my skin (and I've tried a LOT). Just wondering if the blend of oils is too much for facial skin?

scoochmaroo (author)canucksgirl2012-08-05

Honestly, I love this blend of ZO/TD for my face. You can add mineral colors to it like in my DIY Mineral Makeup, or just use it as it.  

So, ok, that defeats the purpose of this Instructable.  It really depends on how oily your skin is. These are oils that are considered non-comedogenic, meaning they will not clog pores.  But it may rebalance the oil production of your skin, meaning there will be an adjustment period.  Check out this cool Instructable on washing your face with oil!

canucksgirl (author)scoochmaroo2012-08-05

Thank you so much!

Lots of reading to do now, but I see a lot of potential there. Having super-sensititve skin is one thing, but ever since I became a mom, my skin went crazy and oily is an understatement, so I'm up for almost anything! lol :-)

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