Why Using Coconut Oil as Sunscreen Doesn’t Work

There are some articles spreading through the Internet about how to make your own sunscreen using ingredients like coconut oil, chicken fat, mustard oil, cod liver oil, etc. and believing that they will actually prevent sun damage.

Here are some facts to be aware of before embarking as “chief du jour” of the beach.

1) Most negative articles and fears about sunscreens and/or articles about the dangers of the sun are both correct. I repeat: We must use an effective sunscreen with the right amount of chemicals to ensure UVA/UVB protection, BUT we also must not overdo it with products that contain more chemicals than we actually need.

According to the FDA, a product with an SPF of 15 or above should contain a real UVA/UVB blocker as its active ingredient such as titanium dioxide, mexoryl, oxybenzone or avobenzone. Even the “recipes” for making your own sunscreen contain chemicals.

UVA rays are responsible for aging the skin and UVB rays are responsible for burning the skin.

Therefore, it is always necessary to block against both ultraviolet rays and it is always critical to reapply your sunscreen every one to two hours.

2) Coconut oil is not a safer alternative to sunscreen nor are any of the other aforementioned “natural” oils. Unfortunately, in the quest to avoid the use of potentially harmful chemicals, these alternative, appealing ingredients have attracted much media attention. Buyer beware! None have any significant Sun Protection Factors and none are recommended as a protection from any ultraviolet ray.


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