We’ve all heard the urban myth that darker skin doesn’t need sunblock. There is no debating it: Everyone should wear SPF regardless of what colour your skin is.
People with darker skin don’t sunburn as easily as those with lighter skin because their skin has an increased amount of melanin, a natural SPF. Some people with very dark skin have a natural SPF of 13 and their skin can filter twice as much UV radiation. However, this does not make them any less susceptible to skin cancer, and skin damage.
If shop bought sunscreen simply isn’t for you, dries out your skin or causes allergic reactions, there are recipes for natural sunscreen for dark skin you can make which could potentially give some protection.
For example, apparently shea butter has an SPF of about 6. Some claim that these oils also have natural SPF protection.
-Red Raspberry Seed Oil – SPF 28 – 50
-Carrot Seed Oil – SPF 38 – 40
-Wheatgerm Oil – SPF 20
-Avocado Oil – 4 – 10 (up to 15)
This homemade shea butter lotion recipe from the Shea Butter Guide website claims to provide good physical sun protection due to titanium dioxide and zinc oxide properties. Some of the oils included provide light sun protection also, but they are here mostly for the good scent and other benefits. We don’t know if it’s true or not but it certainly makes a fantastic moisturiser.
Titanium dioxide powder (available in pharmacy) is most important ingredient because it provides the physical protection from the sun. For pale or sensitive skin you should use more than 2 tablespoons.
Zinc oxide powder is anti-inflammatory, sedative, anti-allergy and mild physical sunscreen properties so an important ingredient. If you have very sensitive skin, zinc oxide should definitely be included. (source: WebMD)
- 3 fl. oz. (~90 ml) of unrefined vegetable oil(s)
- 2 fl. oz. (~60 ml) of shea butter
- 1 fl. oz. (~30 ml) of cocoa butter
- 2 tablespoons of titanium dioxide powder
- 1 tablespoon of zinc oxide powder (optional)
- 3 fl. oz. (~90 ml) of distillated water
- 2-3 tablespoons walnut oil
- 2-3 tablespoons of calendula or carrot oil
- 10 drops of lavender essential oil
- 3 drops of mint essential oil (optional)
- 3 drops of vanilla essential oil (optional)
- well-sealed, preferably dark glass bottle
First melt the shea butter and cocoa butter. Once melted, leave it to cool a little bit. You can use only vegetable oil, but a mixture of the following is better: olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil, avocado oil, flaxseed (linseed) oil, canola oil and sunflower oil. Flaxseed, canola, and sunflower oil are not so easily absorbed thus give your skin oily, shiny look and reflect sun rays. That means they provide light sun protection, in addition to increasing the viscosity of the product. Whatever combination of oils you use it should be around 3 fluid oz. in total. Add 2-3 tablespoons of walnut oil which provides a good bronze color. Add 2-3 tablespoons of calendula oil or carrot oil.
Mix well melted shea and cocoa butter with other oils. When mixture is cooled on a body temperature, add 10 drops of lavender essential oil (soothing, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergy effect), 3 drops of mint essential oil (soothing, cooling effect) and 3 drops of vanilla essential oil for good smell.
Finally, you should put all parts (powders, water and oils) into well-sealed, preferably dark glass bottle. Put titanium dioxide (2 tablespoons) and zinc oxide (1 tablespoon) powder first. Then put 3 fluid oz. of distillated water. At the end, put oils mixture in the bottle. All parts should be on the same (room) temperature when mixed!
This lotion doesn’t contain any emulsifier to keep it homogeneous, so you have to shake it well before every use!
recipe source: Shea Butter Guide
photo credit: Essence