Beauty News

How to: Make your own chemical-free sunblock

Protect your skin from the sun’s rays – and harmful chemicals.

I give out this recipe every year at this time because it’s a great alternative to commercial sunscreens, which can contain nasty chemicals.

Most of the chemicals in sunscreens have minimal toxic effects when you first put them on the skin. However, when exposed to sunlight, the chemicals heat up and reactions occur that can be harmful.

Paramino benzoic acid (PABA) generates oxygen radicals, which harm DNA strands when sunlight hits it. Your first and best line of defence against the sun is to cover up with clothes and hats and sit in the shade, just like nana did to protect her delicate rose complexion.

But remember that sunlight is a great source of vitamin D. So do sit in the sun for around 20 minutes a day, avoiding the peak burning hours between 11am and 4pm in the summer.

On my skin, I think this has a SPF factor of about 15, but it will differ on other skin types, so patch test it first. It should also be reapplied frequently.

And I can’t and won’t offer any guarantees, so please use this sunscreen at your own risk.

Zinc oxide is a natural ingredient and is used in calamine lotion and nappy rash creams because it sits on the skin as a physical barrier. It reflects and blocks UVA and UVB radiation, and doesn’t get absorbed into your bloodstream.


  • 75ml sesame oil

  • 45g coconut oil or cocoa butter

  • 15g beeswax

  • 120ml water

  • 2 tbsp zinc oxide cream or powder (from chemist)

  • 1 tbsp wheat germ oil

  • 1 tsp citric acid (from supermarket baking aisle)

  • 20 drops lavender oil


1 In a double boiler (or put a bowl over boiling water in a saucepan), melt the oils and the beeswax together.

2 Take off the heat and add the water, mixing with an electric mixer until thick and creamy.

3 Add the zinc oxide, wheat germ oil and citric acid.

4 Stir, then add the lavender oil.

5 Store in a screw-top jar.

Over time, this sunscreen will start leaching water – just drain it off before use.

Use this sunscreen at your own risk

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