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Herbal Sun Care

Yea it's Summer!!!! And that means lots of sunshine (hopefully)! Sunshine boosts our mood, it is our main source of vitamin D and helps us maintain our circadian rhythm (sleep and wake cycle). So, yes we need to get out and enjoy the summer rays. However, if you are spending time in the sunshine, you want to be sure you are protecting your skin from the harmful effects of the sun.

Harmful Effects of the Sun

We all know this, but the sun causes sunspots on our skin, speeds up aging, and can cause skin cancer not to mention just the aggravation and pain from a sunburn. Sunscreen helps prevent all of this. If you want to learn more about the benefits of sunscreen, check out this ARTICLE.

What About the Harmful Effects of Sunscreen

As soon as you think of putting something on your skin, you should stop to think about the ingredients. Your skin is your largest organ and you absorb all kinds of things into your body through your skin. So if you are hesitant to use sunscreen for this reason, good for you!! Read more about sunscreen HERE.

There are 2 types of sunscreen, chemical and mineral. Most of the chemicals used in chemical sunscreens are very questionable, while the minerals in mineral sunscreens are considered safe. Does that mean I don't ever use chemical sunscreens? No. If I'm at the beach or know I will be out in the sun for hours on end, I am more likely to use chemical sunscreen because they usually have a higher SPF. If my option is either use a chemical sunscreen or suffer a severe sunburn, I will use the chemical sunscreen.

However, for daily sun protection, I want a mineral sunscreen so I'm not putting harmful chemicals on my skin every single day. You can purchase both chemical and mineral sunscreens at your local drugstore or grocery store. But if you want to flex your herbal/homemaking muscles you can mix one up with just a handful of ingredients.

Sunburn Care

No matter how diligent we are, there comes a time when we overdo the sunshine and end up with a bit of sunburn. You can buy after-sun aloe gels at the grocery stores, but many contain alcohol, which may feel cooling on your burnt skin but is also very drying. Sunburned skin needs the opposite. Sunburned skin requires hydration.

I have found a homemade After-Sun Gel can be much more beneficial and safer for you and your skin.

Watch Me Make Sunscreen and After-Sun Gel

The Recipes

Zinc Oxide Sunscreen

I originally found this recipe HERE. She states that using 2 TBSP of zinc oxide (along with the SPF of the other ingredients) will yield an SPF 20. This is under the SPF recommended for daily wear, so I used 3 TBSP of zinc oxide. I'm not sure what the final SPF of this is, but I'm assuming it's in the SPF 30 range.


  • 1/4 cup beeswax

  • 1/4 cup raw shea butter

  • 1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil

  • 2 TBSP red raspberry oil

  • 3 TBSP non-nano zinc oxide

  • 10 drops vitamin E


  1. In a double boiler, melt together beeswax, shea butter and coconut oil.

  2. Once melted, add raspberry oil and vitamin E.

  3. Carefully add in zinc oxide, being very careful not to create dust that can be inhaled. (Consider using a mask)

  4. Begin to gently whisk the zinc oxide into the oil mixture. Once it is fully covered, whisk vigorously until well mixed. Use a cool water bath to help cool and thicken the sunscreen. Continue whisking until it forms a creamy texture.

  5. Transfer to a storage jar. Store in a cool place.

  6. Sunscreen should last for at least 6 months. Refrigerate it if you don't have a cool place to store it.

To Use

Rub a small amount into areas of your skin that will be exposed to sunshine (face, decolletage, shoulders, hands). Note that zinc oxide can leave a bit of white residue behind, so be sure to work it into your skin well.

Herbal After-Sun Aloe Gel

This after-sun gel is more hydrating than the alcohol-laden store-bought versions. You can choose whatever herbs you want for the herbal oil, focusing on the herbs you love and that are great for your skin.


  • 1/2 cup Aloe Gel

  • 1/4 cup Witch Hazel

  • 1/4 cup herbal oil (I used equal parts lemon balm, calendula, chamomile, and lavender in a base of sunflower & almond oil)

  • 1 tsp vitamin E oil


  1. Create your herbal oil - place herbs in a mason jar. Choose herbs that will soothe burnt skin (in addition to the herbs I used, also consider green tea, St. John's wort, yarrow, plantain, spearmint, or comfrey). Cover the herbs with oil and gently warm in a double boiler, being sure to only warm, not boil the oil. Keep the oil warm for a few hours, then allow to cool. The longer you let the herbs and the oil sit, the more herbal goodness you get! I let mine sit for about a week. When you are ready to use it, strain first.

  2. In a bowl, combine all ingredients.

  3. Stir until well mixed and transfer to a squeeze bottle.

  4. You can store it at room temperature, but it feels so good when it's cold. Therefore, you might want to store it in the fridge.

I hope you will consider making these two recipes for healthy, herbal sun care. Your skin will thank you!

Pin It For Later

pinterest graphic showing sunscreen ingredients



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