Introduction: Homemade Sunscreen

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Make your own sunscreen with this easy recipe.

Sunscreen is intended to shield your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays. These can cause premature aging, and more tragically, skin cancer. But commercial suncreens often involve more nasty chemicals than necessary.

By making your own sunscreen, you control exactly what goes in!

In response to a lot feedback I've been getting on this Instructabe, I decided to offerr an all natural TD/ZO alternative.  Check it out here!

Step 1: Materials

Essential Ingredients
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.

I recently discovered this great combination of zinc + micronized titanium dioxide.  I consider it to be a safer alternative, as it contains no nanoparticles, and can be used on its own as a powder sunblock!  I don't however have a chart for how the SPF is effected when combining with lotions or other carriers.  

In order to prepare your personal sunscreen it is important first to be aware that zinc oxide or titanium dioxide are products that should not be inhaled. Always wear gloves and a mask.

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Step 2: An Easier Recipe

If you want your sunscreen NOW, and you don't want to mess around with making your own lotion, just buy your favorite lotion from the store, and add your zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to that!

This means you can make sunscreen that's sensitive enough to use on delicate skin, or is already your favorite scent or creaminess.

the reason I suggest using a new container rather than the original lotion container, is that unless you can remove every single drop of lotion from the original container, the sunscreen will mix with the non-sunscreened lotion in an unreliable way. It's up to you, but you run the risk of exposing yourself to UVA/UVB with un-sunscreened lotion.

Step 3: Mix Oils and Wax

Measure one ounce of wax into a microwave safe container.
Melt on high heat (approx 1 minute for me).
Add 8oz. oil, and blend well.
Add a few drops of essential oils for scent.

The mixture may need to back in the microwave for a bit if it starts to harden up again.

Step 4: SPF Table

If using the zinc oxide or titanium dioxide separately, use the following table to determine your measurements.
I don't have a chart for using the blended powder, but it starts off with SPF35 on its own.  

For example, 8oz. (weighed) of lotion + .8oz of titanium micronized dioxide (weighed) = SPF20+
The Micronized TD is 10% of the original amount of lotion used (not the finished weight).

If you used 8oz of lotion + .8oz of Micronized ZO, the SPF would be 11-12.

If it's still too confusing, ask!

Concentration of
Sunscreens & SPF
(SPF 2-5)
(SPF 6-11)
(SPF 12-19)
Ultra High
(SPF >20)
Titanium Dioxide <4 % 8 % 12 % 20 %
Titanium Dioxide, Micronized 2 % 4 % 6 % 10 %
Zinc Oxide 5 % 10 % 15 % 25 %
Zinc Oxide, Micronized 3 % 7.5 % 12 % 20 %

This chart is to provided by my supplier. I can not do any testing internally. Just to be used as a guideline.

Step 5: Add Dry Ingredients

Wearing your gloves and mask, carefully measure zinc oxide or titanium oxide into your blending container (see chart above).

For this recipe, I weighed out .9oz of Micronized TO to make an SPF >20.

Add the wax/oil mixture to the powder.

Blend thoroughly.

Scrape the sides of your mixing bowl and blend some more.

Continue blending until the powder is thoroughly incorporated.

Step 6: Transfer Into Container

Use a silicone spatula to transfer your mixture into a pastry bag or plastic baggie with the corner snipped off.

Squeeze the lotion into your new containers and label.

Apply liberally and frequently!!

Step 7: Disclaimer

These recipes and instructions are for homemade use only.

The concentration of TD/ZO in the lotion is approximated for ease of use. The variations in concentration will still fall within the SPF ranges set forth, and should not cause concern in small batches (approx 8-12oz)

If you want to make and sell a skin care product, you must adhere to the regulations set forth by the location where you conduct your business.

Be aware of the shelf life of products made without preservatives.

The beauty (and simplicity) of making your own product is that you don't have to adhere to the stringent industry guidelines of manufacturing to lengthen the shelf life. Simply make enough to be used within a short period of time.

Click here for wabisabibaby's shelf-life article on what to do to make lotions last about 3 months.

thank you to wabisabibaby for setting forth and inspiring this disclaimer, and for an awesome lotion instructable.