Can I use Coconut Oil for Sunscreen?

June 18, 2014 / 8:46 am

Q: I keep seeing posts on social media that say coconut oil is a safe, non-toxic alternative to sunscreen. Is this true?

A: Coconut oil has a naturally occurring SPF or sun protection factor of between 2-8 depending on the quality of the oil.

A quality version of carrot seed oil can contain up to SPF 40 but the high cost and strong scent of this oil makes it a less popular choice. Not to mention, coconut oil seems to be on trend lately, much like olive oil was in the 90’s- which ironically has a similar SPF of 2-8!

An SPF rating of 8 will protect you for 8 times as long as it takes you to begin to turn pink without protection. For someone like me, that’s about 5-7 minutes in full sunlight on a hot day so I would be reapplying coconut oil every 45 minutes. It takes me about 10 minutes to properly apply sunscreen to my entire body so you get the picture.

Native tribes used natural oils mixed with clays and bark like thanakha in Burma for protection from the sun. The skin builds it’s natural resistance to the elements when exposed to them for long periods of time as well. Our culture spends the majority of our time indoors so our skin can be especially sensitive to overexposure. Experimenting with non-proven sunscreen methods can be dangerous and increase your chances for skin cancer in the future.

Non-nano particle zinc oxide is a proven sunscreen ingredient that will insure you are protected from the cancer causing rays of the sun without exposing your body to possible endocrine disrupting ingredients.  Look for a product containing at least 15%, like Suntegrity.

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