In this age of toxic chemical overload people are desperate for DIY natural sunblock solutions that actually work.
Gaia Guy did a piece on edible sunscreen, but this post is all about natural sunblock solutions.
So, is it possible to get full UVA and UVB sun protection from natural oils?
It doesn't look terribly good to be honest. You may get a bit of time to enjoy the sun using just oils and other physical sunblocks but better to be smart in the sun than get burnt (literally for some of you).
Here is a chart showing the Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of essential oils. Source PubMed
Also, enjoy the fun little video (and share it with friends, because they should know) that shows the SPF values found for nonvolatile (fixed oils) and volatile oils. These fixed oils show that the SPF value of olive oil and coconut oil was found to be around 8 with castor oil and almond oil coming close behind.
This means that olive oil and coconut oil have the best SPF values and therefore may be the best in selecting a base oil to use during the formulation of diy natural sunscreens.
Similarly SPF values for volatile oils show that peppermint oil and tulsi oil were the strongest or provided longer protection (in theory) at 7 followed by lavender oil and then orange oil.
Therefore peppermint oil and tulsi oil have the best SPF values which will inform your chose for an appropriate scent for your diy natural sunblock.
Still though even adding Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide which are are two naturally occurring minerals to this homemade sunscreen it still wouldn't offer a great deal of protection to the midday sun. Especially if you are sweating a bit or swimming.
It would offer the ability to block the sun's UVA and UVB radiation from being absorbed into your skin, however unless you are vigilant about reapplying every 2 hours or more if you are seating or swimming you are likely looking towards some sun damaging UV hitting your skin.
So, what is one to do? Pretty simply like most health advice, but perhaps harder to stick to.
Get up early and enjoy the morning sun from 6-9AM and then again in the evening from 4-6PM. Use densely woven cotton or other natural materials or hit the thrift shop and pick up some polyester which protects the best and have a sweating time enjoy the Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) that clothing brings.
A hat and sunglasses would be rather a good idea to if you are going to be out during the most intense time of the day.