Sunscreen is super important when it comes to protecting your skin from harsh UV rays, and there are some people that prefer to use an oil as opposed to a cream product. But is coconut oil a natural sunscreen?
While some studies suggest that coconut oil has a natural SPF of 7, it should never be used as a primary sunscreen. This could result in being badly burned by the sun and in worst cases may lead to dangerous skin cancers.
In this article, I’ll provide you with a full run-down of the details when it comes to coconut oil as a natural sunscreen, including how it can safely be used as PART of an SPF solution, the best skin types for coconut oil, and also some information on other types of oil that offer natural sunscreen properties.
Coconut oil as a natural sunscreen: myth or fact?
Ultimately coconut oil has been shown to offer a natural SPF, but these results are only from particular studies and they show that coconut oil has a very low natural SPF of a maximum of 7.
This isn’t enough to offer adequate protection from the sun, and should therefore not be used as your sole SPF product when you’re subjected to hot weather.
While coconut oil technically offers qualities that enable it to be considered a mild natural sunscreen, here are a few main reasons why you shouldn’t use natural oils as your main sunscreen product:
- Coconut oil won’t absorb dangerous UV rays efficiently
- Any UV rays that are absorbed by coconut oil will not be absorbed in the correct wavelengths
- Coconut oil has not been verified fully for sunscreen use via lab/human testing
How to make coconut oil SPF
While coconut oil shouldn’t be used alone for sun protection, it can be used as an ingredient within a more adequate SPF product, and alongside a tested SPF to add extra protection.
Here’s a DIY tutorial for coconut oil sunscreen that you can try out at home!
Best skin types for coconut oil
Coconut oil is fantastic for many different skin types, as it’s a very versatile product. It can also be highly beneficial to repairing the skin’s natural barrier due to it containing emollient properties.
It’s highly popular with people that have dry skin, as it is very moisturizing, and is also suitable if you have sensitive skin or conditions such as atopic dermatitis.
It’s worth avoiding coconut oil if you have oily skin, as coconut oil is comedogenic and therefore may clog pores leading to acne breakouts.
Coconut can be made at home using a DIY coconut oil recipe; alternatively it can be bought from large retailers – here are some of our favorite coconut oils on the market!
Oils that are natural sunscreens
Other oils that are purported to be natural sunscreens include the following, however, it’s worth bearing in mind that these oils should be used in combination with tested sunscreen products on the market as they tend to offer very low SPF protection:
- Red raspberry oil
- Carrot seed oil
- Macadamia oil
- Non-GMO soybean oil
- Avocado oil
- Olive oil
- Jojoba oil
- Hemp seed oil
- Sesame seed oil
- Almond oil
Take a look at the below frequently asked questions for further insight into coconut oil as a natural sunscreen.
While coconut oil is technically a natural SPF, you shouldn’t use it alone as your primary sunscreen product. It has not been rigorously tested as an SPF, and therefore should always be combined with a certified sunscreen product for adequate sun protection.
Other oils that offer natural sunscreen benefits include red raspberry oil, carrot seed oil, and macadamia oil.
Carrot seed oil is a natural oil that offers the highest SPF, with some studies suggesting it has a natural SPF of between 38 – 40. However, carrot seed oil has not been thoroughly tested as an SPF, as with coconut oil, and I would therefore not recommend it as your sole SPF.
Coconut oil is not better than sunscreen as it has not gone through the rigorous testing that certified sunscreens have been put through in order to be sold as SPF products. It will provide you with a small level of SPF, but will not protect you completely from the dangerous UV rays of the sun.
The SPF of pure coconut oil is approximately 7, which is very low in comparison to tested sunscreens available on the market. It’s highly recommended that you use thoroughly tested sunscreen, particularly if you’re spending a significant amount of time in direct sunlight.
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